More Reviews
REVIEWS Firefall Review
Repetitive gameplay makes this fall a little boring.

The Walking Dead: Season Two Review
At this point, you’re not coming back for the zombies. Let’s get down to business.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Preview
Put up some movie glasses, because Geometry Wars is entering the third dimension.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Destiny
Release date: 09/09/14

FIFA 15
Release date: 09/23/14

Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Release date: 09/23/14

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14


LATEST FEATURES And I Was All "Hell Yeah I'll Play a New Dreamcast Game"
I just played a Dreamcast game that was released in... wait, 2014?

A Comprehensive Guide to Dealing with Controversy in the Video Game Industry
Need help wading through the latest misogyny/homophobia/racism/corruption debate in the gaming industry? Paul Tamburro’s here to help!
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP samsmith614 Since game design is a business, I decided to see what's really selling well for the PS4. I did this search a week ago, and at the time, out of the top 20 bestsellers on Amazon 10 had not even been released yet. By now some have been released. But others still have not. And yet others...

Daxter Preview

Joe_Dodson By:
Joe_Dodson
02/15/06
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action / Adventure 
PLAYERS 1- 2 
PUBLISHER Sony 
DEVELOPER Ready At Dawn 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
E10+ Contains Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language

What do these ratings mean?

You don't need Jak.


The only thing more confusing than the PSP, with its dearth of games and wealth of weird multimedia options, is the nature of its biggest rising star, Daxter. The guy is an elf in an ottsel body, an ottsel being a cross between an otter and a weasel. On top of that, he works as an exterminator.

Confused? Don't be. Daxter's heritage may be a bit tough to understand, but from what we played last week, his upcoming game isn't. Boasting a large, creative single-player campaign with all the humor, surprises and production values of its console kin as well as a quirky multiplayer mode, the self-titled Daxter is poised to be a must-have action-adventure and a great solo debut for Sony's strangest star.

The story covers the two-year gap between Baron Praxis's dastardly elf-napping of Jak and Daxter's daring prison rescue, events touched on in Jak II. At a loss for ways to break his buddy out of jail, Daxter signs on with the Critter-Ridder Extermination Company. As a member of the bug-blasting elite, Daxter will take on missions all over Haven city for money while spraying his way closer to the truth behind Jak's disappearance.

click to enlargeThe title's feel and flow should be familiar to anyone who played the Jak and Daxter games for the PS2. Although Naughty Dog is off the case, the new developers at Ready at Dawn seem to have captured the witty essence of the series as well as the dynamic gameplay that made it such an addictive, entertaining ride.

Much of the game works along the same formula found in the console trilogy. Players are given a huge open environment to explore, sans loading screens, plus a mix of quality platforming and wonderfully diverse mini-games.

To go with his exterminator credentials, Daxter wields a pressurized bug-sprayer, which he uses to spray and stun his six-legged foes, then whack them with a trusty, electrified fly-swatter. The neatest aspect of this sprayer isn't its effect on enemies, but rather its effect on the game's platforming elements.

Daxter can jump and use the sprayer to give himself flight for a limited amount of time, which he can extend by collecting airborne bug spray globules. The result is platform gaming without platforms. Instead, you'll fly through the air from one glowing green orb to another, dodging enemies and obstacles before ultimately landing on some faraway ledge. It's an interesting approach that's more fun and forgiving than endlessly hopping from precarious ledge to precarious ledge.

Within this solid mix of platforming sequences and mini-games are nestled two seriously compelling features. After completing jobs for the bug company, Daxter will have the opportunity to take naps, which lead to dream levels. These cast Daxter as one of his favorite heroes in environments that are not beholden to the confines of Haven city or normal Jak and Daxter physics. We've only seen one such level, in which a Daxter-Neo hybrid fought a bunch of agents via a button-press mini-game, but we're excited about the possibilities. Clearly inspired by Psychonauts, Daxter's dream levels should provide interesting breaks in the game's normal action (which is far from static in the first place) to provide you with crazy interludes.

During his waking hours, on the other hand, Daxter will occasionally find a 'Battle Bug." You'll be able to collect these bugs, customize them, then enter them into battle against those belonging to characters in the game as well as other players via the PSP's wireless functionality.

click to enlargeBattle Bug combat is based on rock-paper-scissors. Every bug in the game has the same three attacks, but each can be customized with power-ups scattered throughout Haven city. Before a battle begins, you choose a bug and equip it with three tokens. These are also scattered around Haven City, and allow you to interrupt the battles to make a quick change to your strategy. It's an interesting twist that adds a layer of strategy to a simple but addictive mini-game.

Daxter purportedly goes the extra mile to provide console-sized content on a handheld device by being interoperable with Jak X: Combat Racing. From what we've heard, players who complete 100% of Daxter will be able to unlock special vehicles and drivers, while Jak X vets will open up some new material in Daxter.

With so much content, we expected to see some crunchy animations or framerate hiccups, but encountered none. Daxter hops, hovers and smoothly crawls his way through environments that would be right at home on a Playstation 2, without any hitches or loading screens to bring you back down to handheld earth. They even rendered the furry little weirdo's hair, something they never did on the console version.

Even the series' signature voiceovers are intact, with Max Casella of Sopranos fame reprising the voice of Daxter, and Office Space's David Herman voicing his surfer-elf sidekick. If the writing and voice-acting are as good as we think they're going to be, Daxter will be a very funny game.

Daxter may not be the likeliest champion for the PSP - elves in weird, varmint bodies rarely are - but he's shaping up to be one of the most entertaining. Instead of simply porting a classic series, Ready at Dawn has created a robust new game that demands all of the respect of its console counterparts, if not more. We'll see if it's truly deserved when Daxter weasels its way onto our PSPs this March.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Daxter


More On GameRevolution