Did Jak & Daxter Really Have Sequels?

A sequel is supposed to be an improvement upon the original. It’s supposed to take what was good in the first game, expand it and refine it. Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was an adventure-platformer with a charming world and fun characters. It’s successors, Jak 2 & Jak 3, were adventure-shooter games with grim worlds and gritty characters. They’re very different in terms of tone, theme, and gameplay. They’re different to the point of being almost if not completely different games. If that’s the case, then can we really say that Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy had sequels? I don’t think so.

Jak II and Jak III are just too different from their predecessor to be called sequels. Their only relationship to the first game, really, is through the core cast of characters. The Precursor Legacy was bright, colorful, and varied in terms of its world and color palette. Its successors though? They’re dark, toned-down, and mostly homogeneous when it comes too to the world we’re given to play in. The tone of the original game is excitement, fun, and wonder. The tones of the latter games are of desperation, corruption, and grit. Jak  himself transforms from an upbeat silent protagonist to a rage-filled monster with a lot to say. The differences are staggering, and we’re not even talking about gameplay yet.

The difference in gameplay between these games is stark.The Precursor Legacy was all about exploration, platforming, and light puzzle-solving. It was about exploring what felt like a vast world and uncovering its secrets. The game had you run, jump, and bump your way through each of its levels, and it very much favored movement and traversal over combat. It’s successors are quite the opposite. In Jak 2 and Jak 3, combat is the near-singular focus. With a few exceptions, the world is built around combat. Instead of platforming your way through the game, you’re shooting through it. Enemies are your number one impediment to progress, and the games even task you with launching attacks or defending a point against waves of enemies on multiple occasions. All the games do contain many of the same elements, but the priorities have been dramatically flipped.

With all these differences, can the later games truly be called sequels? Maybe. If one looks at the shifted priorities and completely redesigned gameplay as improvements in and of themselves, then yes. If one finds that there are too many differences to really tell one way or another, then I would say that the answer is “no.”

Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is kind of unique in this way. It’s a game that launched a very popular and successful series, and yet it can be seen as having the least to do with that series than any other entry. It’s a game that’s had many sequels, and yet it’s also a game that doesn’t have any sequels in a sense. It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose, and mine is that the later games, despite being quite good, are just too different to be considered true sequels.

Do you consider Jak 2 and Jak3 to be proper sequels? Which Jak & Daxter game do you think is the best?


By Flickr user: Niranjan (cc)

7 thoughts on “Did Jak & Daxter Really Have Sequels?”

  1. I’ve played (and finished) first Jak & Daxter three times. Never finished the second (those difficulty spikes…) and still have to play the third, but I’m sure that nothing will never compare to the original. Such a great and special game.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve played through the first Jak and Daxter game, and it still hasn’t gotten old. And yeah, Jak II is tough, though I found Jak 3 even tougher because of a few missions that were nearly impossible. The first game will always have a special place in my heart.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the first Jak and Daxter game, and I was quite disappointed that the “sequels” were so different. You make a good point that the other games may not really be true sequels at all. They can call it Jak 2 and 3 all they like, but when the only similarities is the main characters, with the title character bearing no resemblance to his original self, I guess I would have to agree that they are not actually sequels. It would be like putting Ratchet and Clank in a Final Fantasy-style RPG and calling that a sequel to the R&C series.

    I guess that’s the nice thing about Jak 1, at least. As GamingPicks said, the game is “special”. I wish it had true sequels, but the fact that no other Jak and Daxter game is like the original makes the first game a more unique experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed the first Jak and Daxter for its Banjo-Kazooie like collectathon platformer feel. I didn’t really get into the other 2 games. I do consider them sequels though in the same way I consider Super Mario Bros. 2 (Doki Doki Panic) and Zelda II sequels for their respective franchises. I even consider Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts a (horrible) sequel to the original masterpieces. I would have certainly preferred Jak sequels that were more like the originals, but they are what they are. I guess there’s always hope for a spinoff reboot, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, hopefully we get a new Jak game in the future. And you do have a point, the Jak sequels are hardly the first games to be drastically different from their predecessors. I’m just wondering if a sequel can truly be called such if it doesn’t bear much resemblance to what came before. You know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely see your point. They are sequels in name for sure, but they do progress the plot (in a seemingly different direction) and still have the same characters. So yes, it’s not the Jak sequel we wanted per se, but it’s the direction the series went for better or for worse.

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