Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier Game Poster Image
Cool sci-fi weapons & steampunk levels, but just OK overall.
  • PSP
  • $29.99
  • 2009

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Because the story here is oddly and sometimes poorly presented, it's sometimes hard to see that Jak and Daxter work together for the greater good and help to save the world. Even when Jak becomes dark, you know that down the line by the game's end, the hero will prevail.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the characters are cranky, mocking, and sometimes evil, they do get through the worst of times as a team that uses humor when situations seem hopeless.

Ease of Play

There are problems with this game that keep you from seeing a true depth of field. Also, you might have trouble aiming your weapon via the analog stick (often troubling with PSP games). Finally, there are camera issues as well that hinder a fully enjoyable experience.

Violence

Violence is presented with splashes of light, but no blood. There is a variety of weapons, from lasers to sci-fi shotguns, that do different kinds of damage. However, no blood is ever seen. When Jak dies (and the player returns to the last checkpoint), he often lets out a mournful moan.

Sex

You'll hear some references to sex, of the wink-wink, nudge-nudge variety. One female character "entertains" a male character, for instance.

Language

You'll hear words of the 'damn' variety, but no worse. There is also a lot crude humor including butt jokes and the like, but nothing too salacious. It's mainly dialogue including phrases like "exit through the rear."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that playing Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier can be a frustrating experience because it doesn't feel truly finished. Aiming weapons is often annoying. The lack of depth perception leads you to die a lot. While the violence isn't a major issue as enemies die with a flash of light (and with no blood), the game design is. Within this confusing story are some mild cussing and sexual references of the double-entendre type.

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What's it about?

THE LOST FRONTIER, the fourth installment of the Jak & Daxter action platformer series, reintroduces you to Jak, a tough, young boy adventurer and Daxter, his wily ottsel (half otter, half weasel) sidekick. As the game proceeds, they find that Eco, the energy that does everything from growing things to giving the characters strength, is in extremely short supply. By traveling to strange locales on the ground (like lava-filled caves) and in the air (where you participate in dogfights with sky pirates), the pair work together to remedy the dire situation. They even travel to other planets in their quest to find Eco. At one point, Jak takes Dark Eco which turns him evil.

Is it any good?

Although it's somewhat repetitive, the best portion of the game happens in the air during dogfights in planes. There, you don't deal with the same confounding issues you deal with on the ground in this platformer. You can unlock as many as five planes and customize them with weaponry as well.

This could have been a worthy addition to the Jak & Daxter series. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t feel finished. The camera sometimes doesn’t work, yielding a skewed vision of this world, and sadly prohibiting visual clarity in game play. And the necessary feel for 3-D in this semi-realistic world isn’t there. When you jump from area to area, there’s no feel of depth. So, for instance, you fall, die with a gasp, and have to start again. Plus, the Dark Daxter levels suffer from inane dialog which is supposed to be humorous but is not.  Dark Daxter isn't evil; he's just boring. That’s too bad because there’s steampunk-like flight on crazy airborne vehicles, the thrilling change to an evil, fanged Jak after he takes Dark Eco, and a variety of sci-fi weapons to explore. If they had spent more time on the game, this frontier wouldn’t have been so lost.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Jak and Daxter. Which character do you like more, the heroic Jak or the wisecracking Daxter?

  • Do you think the story should have been made clearer? Or do you think it is fine the way it is?

  • There are many weapons from which to choose in the game. Which do you like best and why?

  • Did you find it frustrating that you died a lot in the game?

Game details

  • Platforms: PSP
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release date: November 4, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes

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