I used to work as a QA tester at Sony Computer Entertainment and while there I met a a Lombax, man named Caley and developed a desperate need for a barrel roll.
Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier brought back all of this within seconds because first of all, Jak & Daxter have obvious parallels with Ratchet & Clank – up to and including having the same developer. Second of all, that guy Caley was handling press Q&A for Lost Frontier and to his credit, he remembered my face if not my name. Lastly, developer High Impact Games finally added the barrel roll to the flight portion of the game that us testers begged for in Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.
What Is It? Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier is the sixth game in a series of third person adventure games that stretches back to 2001 and has a racing game to its name. Players take the role of Jak most of the time (except for in the 2006 PSP game Daxter) and alternate playing as Daxter during specific levels.
What We Saw I played a tutorial level where Daxter is in his usual spot on Jak's shoulder, a Daxter-only level and a flying level.
How Far Along Is It? The game is due out November 3.
What Needs Improvement? Monotonous Puzzles: The Daxter level dragged a little. The whole thing was about flipping switches using a ground-pound attack to redirect lasers at gates blocking Daxter's path. However, enemies kept spawning at a steady rate and Daxter only has three attacks—so combat quickly becomes aggravating. Add that to the repetition in switch-flipping, and you've got a recipe for boredom.
What Should Stay The Same? It's Very, Very Pretty: The colours and character designs in Lost Frontier are really pretty. The demo level was rich with reds, greens and earthy tones. The Daxter level featured vivid purples and oranges that helped liven up the dull grey interior of what I think was a ship. And the open azure sky in the flying level was appropriately dotted with clouds and distant mountain ranges.
The Flying Feels Great: I agree with pretty much everything Stephen Totilo said about the flying levels and I look forward to customising my own ships with parts you can scavenge from other ships. But there's a special satisfaction for me here in having watched High Impact evolve this gameplay mechanic from Size Matters, where Clank goes into giant mode and flies through space. In that game, it seemed almost natural to want to barrel roll, but sadly that never made it into the game. In Lost Frontier, not only can you barrel roll with a tap of the D-pad, but you can also pull loopty-loops and immediate 180-degree turns. It felt amazing.
I Think They Fixed The Camera: Never had a problem with it. In fact, I was thrilled because I didn't have to fight it at all during the jumping portions of the demo level.
Final Thoughts I've always preferred Ratched and Clank to Jak and Daxter purely by characterisation (and my love of robots). But the flying in this game, coupled with just how pretty it looks, may make me switch camps.