A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jak has been infected by negative life energy, called "Dark Eco," that gives him strange and scary powers. This time around Jak also embraces "Light Eco," a positive life force that offsets his destructive side with some constructive abilities. As in the other games in this series, there's lots of shooting (but no blood) and Jak can steal vehicles and fight his way out of situations.
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What's it about?
JAK 3 is an almost immediate continuation of the series' previous installment, picking up the story not long after Jak and his weasel sidekick Daxter saved Haven City from the evil Metalheads. However, the city's population has grown suspicious of Jak's dark powers, and he finds himself banished to the Wastelands -- a dismal and windswept desert populated by other outcasts and ruthless marauders. While trying to make a life for himself in exile, Jak begins to discover the connection among the odd artifacts littering the planet, the ongoing Metalhead war, and the bright daystar that blazes larger in the sky each day. If he and his friends in Haven City can't find a way to work together, they may all be doomed.
Is it any good?
The latest game incorporates the layout and design of Haven City you've seen before, and while it makes for great story continuity, sometimes Jak 3 feels recycled. And it is too glitchy for a game that looks as good as it does. Cut scenes drop and leave you looking at a blank screen, items and abilities mysteriously disappear, and missions get caught in loops that force you to restart your system. Such failings can be extremely frustrating when they undermine hours of progress.
Nevertheless, Jak 3 has a compelling narrative, well-drawn characters, a variety of Mini games (most of which offer a nice break in the relentless action), and stunning graphics. While it offers little help to those joining the story in the third act --and some kids may be upset by the dark tone and continuous warfare on the streets of Haven City -- fans of the series will find this a thoroughly rich and satisfying game.
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