Way Back When
In a time before Naughty Dog was pumping out emotionally devastating masterpieces like The Last of Us and its polarizing sequel, they were hard at work on perfecting their platforming formula with the PlayStation 2’s Jak and Daxter series. After the series’ well-received 2001 debut and its expanded 2003 follow-up, the team seemed to have a firm grasp on the fundamentals of what they wanted for the duo, and this allowed them to close out the original trilogy with a bang in 2004.
Just like Jak II before it, Jak 3 opted to go for guns, carnage, and darker storytelling, which remained a vast departure from the first game’s lighthearted collect-a-thon gameplay and cheery story. The heroic duo once again returned to Haven City, but the dystopian metropolis was joined by additional hub locations like Spargus City and a wasteland. With a larger focus on driving, even more guns to customize and use, and a few new twists on the gameplay fans had come to love, Jak 3 managed to feel like the ultimate Jak and Daxter experience for many.
After dealing with some backlash regarding Jak II‘s difficulty imbalances and checkpoint problems, Naughty Dog ensured that Jak 3 was a much more accessible title, though it still provided plenty of challenge for new and returning players. This paid off well for the developer, and the game went on to receive widespread critical acclaim for its graphics, animation, and gameplay, earning itself a place on multiple 2004 Game of the Year lists. It was eventually added to Sony’s “Greatest Hits” collection alongside the previous two entries, securing a well-deserved legacy for the mainline trilogy.
Jak 3 was followed up by the racing game Jak X: Combat Racing, but soon after, Naughty Dog moved on to the Uncharted series on the PS3. Luckily, all four of their contributions to the franchise have been remastered for the PS3 and PS4 in the years since, prompting many hopeful fans to believe that we could eventually hear something about a new game in what has become a long dormant series. If not, however, at least the fond memories and solid remasters will always be there to keep the nostalgia flowing.
Where You Can Play It Now
Due to its PlayStation exclusivity, Jak 3 and the series as a whole is only available via the PS4 remasters, which have been ported up from their original PS3 and Vita releases and feature the expected visual improvements. Of course, they can also be played via backwards compatibility on the PS5.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Jak 3:
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
Unfortunately for fans, neither the duo’s final game Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (from High Impact Games) nor the PSP spin-off Daxter (from Ready at Dawn) have received updated versions. However, you can play the rest of the Naughty Dog entries right now, including Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II, and Jak X: Combat Racing.