Game - Daxter (PSP)
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181 of 372 readers found this review helpful.
Daxter for the PSP is a take-off on the Jak & Daxter series from the PS2. Daxter, as you may or may not know, is Jak's furry little companion/helper, who always stands at the ready with a sarcastic comment or useless observation. Ready At Dawn Studios decided that the rodent was entertaining enough to deserve a game of his own; were they right? Gamespot and IGN seem to think so; they gave this title a 9.1 and 9.0, respectively. I know, as you do, that you are wondering what Ender thought of the game.....
Well, I have good news, and I have bad news. Which one do you want first? Bad, you say? Fair enough.
The bad news is this: Daxter is a platformer that offers no new ideas or concepts, breaks no barriers, and generally plays it rather safe. All of your cliché platforming elements are here: climbing, jumping, sliding, vehicle-riding, item collection, and killing in moderation. The story is also lackluster, as it casts our tiny protagonist as an exterminator. Sounds rather "blasé", no?
That question brings us to my good news: The answer is no! No, Daxter (as a whole) is not boring or mediocre! All the expected platforming trappings are present, but they are surprisingly well-presented. The game is just plain fun. Its enjoy-ability may be increased by the fact that it is in a portable format, but more on that later. Let's talk about the elements that make this title good times all around.
In any game of any kind, the gameplay is the most important factor to consider. It is here that Daxter begins to shine. Tight controls are the standard to be met, and R.A.D. Studios made Daxter's the right way. Movement is controlled by the analog stick, which is sometimes a bad omen for a game; in Daxter, it seems to work just fine. The other buttons are placed appropriately, and the shoulder buttons are used to rotate the camera. In a game that has as much action and movement as Daxter, camera control is key; R.A.D. knew that, and hooked us up accordingly.
Graphically, Daxter again impressed me. While the cartoony style of the Jak & Daxter series doesn't lend itself to mind-blowing graphics, there is still a right and wrong way for a game to look. Daxter falls into the latter category. For the PSP, the graphics are very, very nice; the detail of Daxter's fur reminds me of some of the stuff from Pixar's "Monsters Inc."; if you've seen this movie, you have a notion of what this implies. I've seen no slowdown in the game, and the vibrant colors serve to create a beautiful environment, even though much of the world resembles Zion from the Matrix trilogy.
The sound is pretty good, but not as impressive as the rest of the game's elements. Sound on the PSP is always less than stellar, due to the rather crappy speakers that are built-in to the unit. However, slap on a pair of earbuds, and you'll be in good shape. Voice-acting is rampant throughout the game, and it is done pretty well. Nothing to write home about here, but it's also nothing that will annoy you, or take away from the game in any way.
Replayability is a tad scarce here, as with any platformer. There are precursor orbs to collect here, and the more you find, the more Daxter dream sequences you get to enjoy. These sequences cast you as the main character in The Matrix, Braveheart, and other movies. Sounds really good, I know. However, it just ends up being a timed button-pressing minigame. Not as awesome as it seems, I assure you. As I mentioned, these sequences are available after certain amounts of precursor orbs are collected. While this sounds like a form of replayability, the game is not really set up to encourage you to go back and grab these pesky little orbs.
Ok, so let's talk perspective. If this game was released on the PS2, it would be mediocre. The franchise name would sell some copies, but reviews of it would be so-so. However, the fact that it is on a portable system, and looks and plays as well as it does, drastically increases its appeal to gamers and reviewers alike. I'd never buy this game for a home console; I'm totally glad that I bought it for my PSP. For $40 MSRP, it might be a bit pricey for the length of the adventure. My advice: grab it used, wait for a price drop and get it new, rent it, or just buy it now if you have the cash to blow! You won't be disappointed; this is one fun game on-the-go.
Added: Friday, April 21, 2006
Related Link: Official Daxter Website
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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