Developers are almost always trying to find new and different ways to bring to their audience and make them interested in their game. Whether it be adding a new feature, or promoting some sort of cool item that you can use in the game, we see this all the time where games try to make their own unique mark on this vast marketplace. Well today we are going to check out a game that strays away from its original concept as a platformer and goes towards a full-on racing title. The game is Jak X: Combat Racing and it is now available for your Playstation 2. So is this the game we all have been hoping for? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who are not familiar with the name Jak, then here is a bit of a history lesson for you. Right around when the Playstation 2 was released, a game came out from Sony called Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, which really was the first of the many great platforming games to make it onto this platform. The game spawned two more platforming sequels, Jak II and Jak 3. Jak 3 was the end of the trilogy and we knew we were done seeing the platforming side of things. However from Jak 2 on, we saw quite a bit of driving buggies around so therefore it was no surprise when the guys over at Naughty Dog decided to take their beloved series onto the racing circuit.
Surprisingly for a racer but not so surprising since it is Jak, there is a storyline in Jak X. The whole plotline of Jak X is rather condensed in comparison to what we saw in the platforming adventures of Jak, but really what did you expect? Now without really giving anything away, the game takes place right after the events in Jak 3, in Kras City for the reading of Krew’s Will. The story does just the right amount of influence on the game, as you won’t have to worry about it taking over your experience. Nevertheless it was great to hear that the story was steadily moving on.
The actual racing in Jak X is literally like any other platforming game gone to a racing game, like a Crash Bandicoot or even Mario Kart. The game has a very fast paced flow to it that works surprisingly well. Having played a preview of the game a few months ago, I must say that they have seemed to have tightened the controls quite a bit to make them much more accessible. The whole racing feel, feels exactly how you would expect it to. The game does have a lot of things that you will want to pick up along the way so you can expect the action to be fast and the furious from the start to finish. The whole goal of course is to win races and to unlock more of the game and of course in the end complete the game’s adventure mode.
One of the issues I did have on the adventure mode was the computer AI, which was not as forgiving as I would have hoped. The computer AI in Jak X is kind of unpredictable, in the sense that they seem to come back and win in the last few seconds of the race, or they just seem to come out of nowhere at all. The AI isn’t the smartest bunch either, as their driving tactics just doesn’t seem the most intelligent of the bunch. They make a lot of weird decisions and thus the racing at times feels a bit awkward. But nonetheless the game still has an enjoyable adventure mode that can be frustrating at times, but in the end is still a good solid mode.
One of the game’s most exciting features however is the online mode, which allows you to play a pretty good amount of racing online. The online mode actually works peer to peer, so your gameplay will depend on both you are your opponents connection, which never seemed to be a problem throughout my experience in the game. The online mode was a fantastic addition that gave the game plenty of replay value outside of the main offline modes. Jak X both online and off is just a solid experience, that doesn’t do anything overly wrong to burden your experience. The gameplay is just smooth sailing nothing to really overwhelm you with either.
For those that have played the previous Jak games, you will not be any bit surprised by the visuals of this game because they have the style of the Jak games truly down to a science. The visual style of the game stays smooth and constant throughout, giving a great sense of speed and detail throughout. Like I said when I checked out the preview copy of this game not too long ago, that game was nowhere near as polished as it looks now. There is just such a nice sense of detail and style in this game that it is hard not to be impressed.
The environments are equally as impressive, and although there are some that are better then the others, the overall look of the game is still one of the better racing games I have seen in a long while. Don’t expect the visuals to blow you away but like the gameplay expect it to be very smooth and very impressive.
Jak X: Combat Racing can be very frustrating at times, but mainly entertaining enough. This game is a simple game that really will bring both Jak fans and racing fans a lot of pleasure in playing. With both online and offline modes being extremely enjoyable it is hard not to want to just keep playing this game. It may not be the most feature rich game in the world but it has enough in this game to make it fun for quite some time, plus it is easy enough to be a fun game for friends just to pick up and play as well.
Jak X: Combat Racing is one of those games that I would just call just plain fun. I enjoyed my experience with this game, and although it may not have any overwhelming features, the game has enough that will truly keep you occupied for quite sometime. If you enjoyed the Jak series or just racing in general, it would be a shame if you didn’t give this game a shot. It has great racing mechanics and just an overall fun gameplay engine that will keep people coming back for days on in.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.