If you own a PSP and haven’t bought Daxter yet, let me save you some valuable time by cutting to the chase. Stop reading this review right now, run to your nearest store and buy it now. You’ll thank me.
Daxter is without a doubt the finest game to be released onto the PSP to date and proves once and for all that the PSP is good for a lot more than just watching movies.
For those of you still here, Daxter takes place just before Jak II and tells the tale of the two years that Daxter spent trying to find and free Jak (when he remembered that is). It’s a fresh take on the Jak and Daxter universe that allows the player to play as Daxter and get to know a lot more than they may have ever wanted to now about the smart-mouthed ottsel.
With Jak captured, Daxter must make his own way in the world by taking a job as a pest exterminator. While fulfilling his duties he learns of a bug infestation with dark and mysterious undertones.
So sets the premise for the series first foray off the PS2, and the finest game to grace the PSP’s screen to date.
Sound like the crazed ravings of a fanboy? Well I wasn’t until I played this game. Let’s break it down.
First off, This is the same level of graphical detail that you would expect to see in a Jak and Daxter game.
To see it rendred so perfectly on handheld is joy to behold.
Brightly colored, huge expansive environments that just welcome exploration, wonderfully designed characters and incredible attention to detail. The graphics in Daxter are simply stunning and set the new standard for all future PSP games to meet.
Adding extra value to the experience is that even with the sheer amount of data the game seems to be processing through to be delivering these graphics – they’ve engineered the game in a way where there are rarely any ‘now loading’ screens to interrupt the experience.
The hits keep right on flowing when it comes to Daxter’s sound and music. The subtle detail work that was put into the sound effects is absolutely astounding. This is definitely a game that you want to use headphones with to fully enjoy the rich sounds that emanate as you interact with the world.
Characters all have excellent voice acting that fits well with the character design and really brings the world to life.
The only slightly annoying thing was the fact that there were a number of times that there was a slight lag of a few seconds between when a dialogue subtitle would appear before the voice would load and begin playing. It’s a minor complaint I know, but it occured enough to be worth mentioning.
The controls are better than I could have imagined possible on the PSP.
I rarely felt like I had to fight the controls. Even when control schemes sometimes switched radically between different gametypes – the controls always seemed to feel perfectly intuitive and incredibly easy to control.
Considering how rich and deep this game was, having such intuitive and well designed controls really stands as a testament to the time and energy that was put into the creation of this game.
Gameplay, however, is where the game truly shines the brightest.
This is is not some stripped-down, minimum feature platform game somehow crammed into the limitations of the PSP. It’s a fully-featured, incredibly well-designed, deep platforming experience that takes full advantage of what the PSP is capable of.
Daxter inlcudes a wealth of gametypes, from traditional platforming levels, boss battles, vehicles to drive, rails levels, and of course mini-games, to keep the experience constantly moving forward.
The mini-games were particularily funny due to the way they’re integrated into the story as dream sequences where Daxter dreams of himself as the hero in many popular movies including Braveheart, Indiana Jones and the Matrix. Defeating the mini-games is an optional side-objective off the main gameplay, but they do reward the player with new combo moves and attribute enhancements.
The single player game alone is worth far more than the price of admission for this one, but Daxter even adds a small multiplayer game called Bug Combat. Bug Combat is a fun little diversion although I don’t imagine it being one that will be something that most people would want to still be playing a year from now.
It’s the culmination of all the way all the other elements I listed above come together into such a great experience that gives the game it’s high score in this area. It truly is the type of game that I can imagine wanting to play through again at a later date.