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Jak II is f*cking awesome! (Not my words)


Josh
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What I will say is that this game is far and above a different creature, a better game, than its predecessor. With the storyline, killing missions and an enormous mixture of shooting, racing and exploring injected into the game's primary design, Naughty Dog's Jak II looks to blaze a serious new path for the ailing genre in the process.

 

Ailing? Eh? I do believe we have been knee deep in the graces of some fine platformers as of late. Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, Super Mario Sunshine with the original Jax and Daxter before it as well as platformers in the strictest sense like Contra Shattered Soldier (though heavily schewing to the shooter genre). Though stretching it you could say that Metroid Prime created the first first person platformer that ACTUALLY WORKED! (I absolutely hated jumping in first person until I played Metroid). Jak II and Ratchet and Clank 2 are due out soon as well. I don't quite see how the genre is "ailing".

 

If anything Naughty Dog and Insomniac games have already given the platforming genre an injection of fun so I'm not exactly seeing the "ailing" part of that.

 

More on topic though its great to hear the game is coming along so well. The Playstation 2 continues to amaze me with the power developers are tapping out of it. Silent Hill 3 and Primal were recent head turners and it looks like Jak II may be next in line. With the gameplay coming in line so well, it should be a fantastic title! Looking forward to it.

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Nah, platformers have been a little stagnant, imo. I was bored with Ratchet and Clank (hated all the crate smashing, and despite the multitude of weapons, you really only needed to stand at the edge of the enemy's AI awareness and use the basic shooter). The genre needs something new to take it beyond its ledge-jumping roots. Metroid Prime's FP perspective was an almost-perfect innovation (that you couldn't move and look at the same time was its only failing). Haven, an underrated title, had a nice try at mixing up the genre, though it felt more like a collection of mini-games than a coherent story. I liked how Dr. Muto's morphing abilities opened up the level design. But most platformers still hew too strongly to jumping and coin collecting.

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Nah, platformers have been a little stagnant, imo. I was bored with Ratchet and Clank (hated all the crate smashing, and despite the multitude of weapons, you really only needed to stand at the edge of the enemy's AI awareness and use the basic shooter). The genre needs something new to take it beyond its ledge-jumping roots. Metroid Prime's FP perspective was an almost-perfect innovation (that you couldn't move and look at the same time was its only failing). Haven, an underrated title, had a nice try at mixing up the genre, though it felt more like a collection of mini-games than a coherent story. I liked how Dr. Muto's morphing abilities opened up the level design. But most platformers still hew too strongly to jumping and coin collecting.

 

(Lumberg on) Hmm. I gotta go ahead and disagree here, mmmkay?

 

Really, though. Ratchet and Clank had more variety than just about any game in any genre last year. Did you play through the Clank levels? Did you play through the stealth levels? Did you play through the shooter levels? Did you play through the underwater levels? Did you play through the racing levels? Did you play through the gravity boot levels? Did you get the RYNO?

 

Haven and Muto, in my opinion, came off as unfinished and broken. Even Sly Cooper, which was a great came, seemed to be a bit played-out to me, despite its fantastic level design and art direction.

 

To a certain extent, platformers must be platformers. You gotta have jumps, moving platforms, and pattern-based boss battles. You gotta have goofy characters. That's all part of it. That's a paltformer. Metroid Prime, in its latest incarnation, isn't a platformer, IMO. It's a first-person shooter. That's a genre-shift, not an innovation.

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Always feel free to disagree with me, I'm often wrong. No, I didn't play to those points in Rachet & Clank, since well before then I'd become bored. I thought the level and character design were impressive, but smashing thousands of crates to buy weapons that ultimately weren't needed turned me off. Haven and Dr. Muto were flawed, but they seemed to be trying to add to the genre. Perhaps R&C was too, I just couldn't get past the parts I didn't like. I much preferred Sly Cooper and J&D. MP is more accurately a FPS, you are correct. I'm not so down on ledge-jumping in platformers as I am all the coin (or what have you) collecting. That's what really needs a rethinking.

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The collecting thing can be annoying, but can you name a genre that doesn't include collecting as part of its formula?

 

In RPGs, you collect money, rupees, scrap metal, or whatever, and exchange it to "buy" new gear. You collect experience to level up your character. Consider the final few hours of Wind Waker.

 

In FPSs, you collect things for new weapons.

 

In Grand Theft Auto, the game that so many people say crushed the genre distinction, you collected things: cars, money, property, weapons, etc.

 

The level-up collecting thing is a basic part of videogaming. The games that get around this, or don't require it, are often the diamonds in the rough. ICO, my favorite videogame of all time, doesn't even have an inventory screen or health gauge.

 

Is the difference just "finding" something, or being awarded it, as opposed to collecting hundreds of things to exchange for that certain something? Do we prefer the one-step, "gimme" method to the work-for-it system?

 

Another problem is that developers don't want to stray too far from the forumulas in fear of poor sales and bad reception. Look at how poorly ICO or Rez sold. Then look at how well Final Fantasy X sold. People don't have time for new genres. They want the same thing over and over again, and that hurts people like us.

 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I truly feel as though R&C pushed the platform genre forward. More importantly, I think a lot of this was dependent upon Naughty Dog's work on Jack and Daxter. The perpetual-level engine that they created has completely changed the genre. No more do you get to the happy flower at the end of the level and move on to the next one. Now you can just keep going and going and going. That, IMO, is a true innovation.

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