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September 17, 2004


Jay Woodward

Just yesterday I was playing Vice City. Just for the heck of it I decided to follow some ambient traffic around the city, to see if it ever did anything weird (like make three or four rights in a row and loop back on itself). So I had to stop at red lights and wait.

But I couldn't do it. It was just way too boring. ;)


This was one of the reasons Jak II was such a failure (in my opinion) - yes, you got to drive around, but your choices were to either drive low and deal with the uneven ground and risk clipping a cop or drive high and get stuck in traffic. And risk clipping a cop. You couldn't drive in the middle and avoid both problems - and as you mentioned, that's exactly the draw of GTA3.

The other reason Jak II was a failure? TOO DAMN HARD. I beat Jak & Daxter 100%. I've beaten both Ratchet & Clank games 100%. I've been playing platformers a long time - hell, I once beat Heart of Darkness! But I absolutely could not finish Jak II - the frustration level just got way too high.

Jay Woodward

Yeah, Jak II's city is like the antithesis of GTA3's. It's "Oppression City." ;) Ironically, the story is about this city being under the thumb of ... um, Baron Whozit or Duke Somebody, so the designers probably *intended* to convey a sense of oppression! But they got it wrong: the lack of freedom should've been thematic, not systemic. Jak should have played the role of the lone rebel who dared to do all sorts of wild lawbreaking stuff, the oppressive environment serving merely as a contextual backdrop.

Instead, the game prevented you from doing anything really interesting in the city -- not because the police would stop you, but simply because the city itself never offered anything interesting to do in the first place.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game