Daxter

Review

posted 4/13/2006 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP

As you progress through the game new abilities and weapon upgrades will be added to your repertoire.  The best addition happens to come extremely early in the game; it's an add-on for your bug spray that allows you to use it to float in the air.  Some might point out that this was done in Super Mario Sunshine, but Daxter manages to make this feel a lot more natural.  Using your bug sprayer as a propulsion device ends up being extremely useful, not only getting you out of dangerous situations but also helping you solve the many platform challenges.

Although the game has tight controls that are always responsive, this is a 3D game and occasionally falling to your death is to be expected from time to time.  Thankfully Daxter doesn't have to worry about how many lives he has left, instead when you die you will be taken back to the last checkpoint (usually no more than a couple minutes before the point you died) and let you try it again.  Towards the end of the game there are some truly difficult platforming tasks, so needless to say that not having to worry about your lives keeps this game from becoming even more frustrating.

Daxter's missions are not all bug killing and platforming, though.  Every so often you'll board a speedy little vehicle with one propeller in the front and race around a world that looks suspiciously like the world of the original Jak & Daxter.  Here you'll fly over flowers laying down bug spray like a crop duster, chasing down flying insects, and even battling a boss or two.  These levels don't last as long as the rest, but they do a great job of breaking up the regular bug killing game play.

These vehicle levels aren't the only mini games Daxter has up his sleeves.  Whenever you go back to your home base you will be able to get some much-needed shut eye.  Apparently Daxter's dreams are pretty exciting (and he has a Netflix account) because each of his dreams feature the little ottsel in some of the most exciting movies of all time.  We're talking about Braveheart, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and even Raiders of the Lost Ark.  For the most part these mini games are identical (mostly asking you to hit the correct face button when the enemy is near), but they are a load of fun when you only have a couple of seconds to play.  Better yet, if you complete these games you will unlock new abilities (new moves, more life, etc.) for your adventure.

Daxter's journey to save his friend takes him to a number of unique (and beautiful) locations.  The game has a funny way of turning something that is normally small and turning it into a huge world full of enemies and obstacles.  Some levels will have you out in the middle of a huge construction site, while another level will have you jumping from one train to the next.  There is no shortage of exciting locations to visit, each offering their own brand of challenges.  And best of all, as you are given new abilities and parts for your bug sprayer you will be forced to use them to complete your missions.  Daxter is great at staying fresh and original, there's so much variety here that it's downright impossible to get bored of the action.

It’s also pretty darn hard to hate the game's presentation.  The graphics may be shrunk down to fit the PSP's smaller screen, but don't take that to mean they have been compromised.  Daxter is easily the best looking game on the PlayStation Portable; it's the type of game that is just overflowing with detailed backgrounds, great looking (and HUGE) bosses, and amazing animation.  There are times in the game where I wondered how the developers were able to make the game look so good on such a small system, some of the effects simply need to be seen to be believed.  Daxter is the type of character that expresses almost everything through his actions, and the animation here is very expressive.  If you've become a fan of the way the original three Jak & Daxter outings looked then be prepared to be impressed again, because Daxter manages to hit all of the right notes no matter where you are or what you are doing.

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