Attention speed freaks and demolition lovers, SCEA has made the game for you. Jak X: Combat Racing takes the lovable Jak and the hilarious Daxter into a ruthless racing world filled with fast paced racing and heart stopping combat. Survive if you can.Putting the disc in and turning on the PS2 brings you right into a bar where Daxter is spinning quite a yarn. As usual his mouth has run too far and Jak comes in to save the day. After the brief intro movie, you begin your training. The training then flies by and you are placed right into the racing action.
This is one of the best startup sequences I have ever experienced. Rather than fishing through ads and start menus you are dumped right into the story. I was immediately excited and ready to get racing.
The training sessions pretty much cover everything you need to know for the entire game. Gas, brake, guns, and defense are it. SCEA has kept it straight forward. Combat racing is no joke. Each race you will need to shoot your way to the front and try to avoid being blown up once you are in the lead. The tracks fly by and the varied futuristic terrain and scenery make the races fun to drive through. Although there is not much that will take your eyes off the action and that is a good thing. The action is fast.
The sound is awesome and is done in Dolby Pro Logic II so it really takes advantage of a good surround sound system. The bullets whipping past, air screaming by and the roar of the engine really draw you into the action. You’ll also hear Daxter’s occasional chatter lightly in the background. The weapons sounds and explosions are outstanding. The sound really brings the action out. It is even fun when your vehicle gets destroyed unless you are losing. The game lets you pick up right where you left off, so catching up and getting back into the race is not a problem. Expect to spend a lot of time in flames though.
Speaking of explosions the visual effects are awesome. Watching the pieces fly from your opponents as you tear through them with the mini-gun is extremely fun. Crash sequences are great too. The vehicles burning parts fly in every direction while the announcer yells.
The story line is very well done. It is sort of a Running Man type of story where you must continue to win and entertain to stay alive. If you win the TV stations ratings will go up. But there is something else going on, and Jak and his friends are in danger. The story progresses well and does not interrupt the game play too much. It is done in small doses and at times is rather funny.
There are a few different types of races that require different styles. Some are the usual, the fastest car wins. Others are the last man standing and the one with the most kills. Another interesting race mode is the time freeze, where you are required to get the lowest time possible by running over time freezers throughout the track. My personal favorite was the race to the artifact. In this race you will be shown an artifact on the map and you must beat everyone else there. These races are free roaming so picking your path can be vital to your success. After an artifact is picked up another one appears and the one with the most artifacts at the end wins. Of course during all the races you will be allowed to annihilate your opponents with various weapons.
Jak will be awarded better Mad Max style vehicles as the game progresses and will have the option of upgrading those vehicles with his winnings. Each vehicle has different strengths and will be best suited for certain types of races. Heavy combat vehicles are good for death matches while the small but fast vehicles are good for most of the all out races. Choose carefully because the competition gets pretty rough. While racing you will be able to pick up a variety of different weapons and defense systems as well as boost for extra giddy-up. Wise use of these extra items could decide a win from a loss.
Online play was smooth and felt like you were playing the single player mode. The game supports the USB headset so you can trash talk and taunt your online opponents. Without it you’ll have to resort to the chat area. The online play did exactly what it is supposed to and did not frustrate with lag or funky jumps in the action.
Jak and Daxter fans should find the story very entertaining and everyone should find something fun about this game. Jak X: Combat Racing is easy to pickup and has great online play for that extra challenge. For the amount of fun provided I would recommend any arcade racing fan to add this to their library. High speed racing, guns, and explosions, this game hits all the major groups.
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