Since its release the PSP has managed to rack up a number of
top notch racing games, but what about all those other genres? Where is that variety of games we've come to expect from other PlayStation
products? And more specifically, where
are all the high-quality 3D platformers?
Of all the current generation consoles, the PlayStation 2
has been leading the charge when it comes to character-drive platformers. With Jak
& Daxter, Ratchet & Clank,
Sly Cooper, and even Ape Escape, the PlayStation 2 was the
platform to own if you were a fan of 3D platformers. Outside of a port of the original Ape Escape,
the PSP has largely been without any of these franchises. That is, until now.
Next month Sony will not only celebrate the one year
anniversary of the handheld, but they will also introduce the PSP's first brand
new platformer, Daxter. Set between the original Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Jak II, Daxter is a brand new adventure that stars everybody's
favorite Ottsel. Recently I had a chance
to check out the first couple levels and I've come away impressed with just
about everything I've seen.
Although you don't get to play as Jak, Daxter will feel
instantly familiar to anybody who has played through the previous outings. The game's look and feel is very similar,
with a few moves taken directly from the PlayStation 2 games. What is different is how you attack, which
involves you spraying enemies with green bug spray. If you're not much for long range attacks,
you can also melee your foes with a device that looks an awful lot like a fly
Your weapons aren't just good for hurting your enemies, you
can also use them to solve puzzles and reach ledges you couldn't reach by
jumping (or even double jumping). If you
have enough bug spray you can use that steady flow of green substance to float
from platform to platform; when you're a tiny little creature like Daxter you have
to use all of your faculties to your advantage.
If you're a fan of the Jak
& Daxter art direction then you're going to fall in love with this
little PSP disc. From the indoor areas
to the sprawling outdoor environments, Daxter does an excellent job of
shrinking that Jak style down to the portable screen. Especially impressive is the animation, one
of the franchises biggest attributes.
Watching Daxter run, jump, and swat enemies away is always a joy, couple
that with unique character designs and you have yourself one heck of a 3D
The game isn't all platforming, though. The demo I played featured a separate
mini-game that was nothing more than a parody of 2002's Matrix Reloaded. Despite its age (and the fact that many other
games have done Matrix parodies), this is a fun little game that has you
pushing the buttons it calls out before you are attacked by dozens of
enemies. Beyond this dream sequence, Daxter promises plenty of other mini
games, as well as the ability to pilot vehicles.
Like all demos this game only gives me a taste of what's to
come when the game is released next month.
While Daxter is certainly
building on top of a number of fantastic platformers, there is still room for
something to go wrong. This is the first
Jak & Daxter title that is not being developed by Naughty Dog and nobody
knows just how long of an adventure we're talking about here. But even with a few doubts, Daxter is shaping up to be one of the
best PSP games of the year.
With its great sense of humor, tight and responsive
controls, and stylish graphics, Daxter
is one game that you should be paying attention to. We'll have much more on Daxter in the weeks leading up to its release, including a review
of what could be the first must-own platformer on the PSP.
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