Way Back When
After honing their skills with the Crash Bandicoot trilogy on the original PlayStation, the development team at Naughty Dog sought to show off their skills with a brand new, high-profile game release for the PlayStation 2. And much like Crash earned mascot status right out of the gate, this new game was also destined to produce two very lovable characters that would become a staple of Sony’s second generation of consoles. That game, of course, was Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.
When The Precursor Legacy launched in 2001, it introduced the world to its titular heroes, Jak and Daxter, and showed off what Naughty Dog had learned from their extended experience creating and building upon the Crash Bandicoot series. Just like those games, The Precursor Legacy featured plenty of precision platforming, hundreds of collectibles to find, and a story filled with hilarious dialogue and endearing characters. It managed to be both a technical showcase for Sony’s second generation console while remaining a simple, straightforward adventure that fans of any age could learn to overcome, with the team clearly choosing to focus on the simple collect-a-thon nature of the genre instead of bushing boundaries.
This turned out to be a great move for Naughty Dog, as The Precursor Legacy was well-received by critics and did quite well commercially, earning itself the title of the 19th best-selling game on the PS2. And while 19th place may not necessarily sound particularly successful, it’s quite the achievement given the PS2’s expansive library of exceptional games. The game went on to be added to Sony’s “Greatest Hits” collection and spawned a franchise that spanned a total of five additional games, including mainline entries and spin-offs – even going so far as to try out the racing genre.
Shocking some fans, further mainline games in the series blended together the original’s platforming with third-person shooting mechanics and a slightly darker tone, at least partially in an attempt to compete with the rising popularity of Insomniac Games’ recent hit Ratchet and Clank. This also turned out to be a good move, though, as The Precursor Legacy‘s sequels were also very well-received and seemed to secure the franchise for the long term. But after a good run, Naughty Dog moved on to begin work on the Uncharted series, meaning that Jak and Daxter’s legacy ended on the PS2. Luckily, in the time sense, the Naughty Dog entries in the series have been remastered for the PS3 and PS4, leading many to believe the duo could return someday.
Where You Can Play It Now
Due to its PlayStation exclusivity, this first entry and its sequels are only available on one modern system. The series’ remasters were originally made for the PS3 and Vita before being ported to the PS4, and they feature higher resolutions and a few very minor visual changes that almost no one would ever actually notice. Do keep in mind that the PS4 versions of the games are perfectly playable on the PS5 as well via backwards compatibility.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Jak and Daxter:
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
Sadly, there is no modern port of the duo’s final game Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (from High Impact Games) or the PSP spin-off Daxter (from Ready at Dawn), but once you’ve powered through the first game, make sure you also check out the remastered versions of Jak II, Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing to complete the Naughty Dog entries in the franchise.