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Jak and Daxter were big stars in the PS2 days, but their absence in this current generation has caused a bit of rebellion amongst fans of the series – we were dying to know when we’d hear about this dynamic duo again. Like a mystical vision in the desert, a new game was announced for the series at E3 this year, it was announced so fast that you could’ve missed it if you didn’t pay attention. Jak and Daxter – The Lost Frontier is a game that was so perfect for this holiday season if Naughty Dog is planning a true sequel for the PS3 sometime next year. But just because a game can be made, doesn’t mean it should be made, so which one is it for this game?
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The story in The Lost Frontier isn’t exactly perfect or riveting always, but considering that this is on the PSP, it’s on par with the stories that have come before it, making it a great addition to the Jak and Daxter chronology. Where they’ll be able to go from this game story-wise seems unsure, but considering that the same could be said for Jak 3, I’m optimistic about the future of the series. The story in Lost Frontier revolves around exactly what you’d think – Jak and Daxter explore “The Lost Frontier" in search of eco now that the world has none (according to some event in Jak 3 that was not memorable). Airships, towns, dungeons are all here in some form or another, and while the game is incredibly linear, it’s still a good and guided experience.
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The gameplay behind the story is what really makes Lost Frontier stand out. The gameplay on the PSP is so tight and responsive that the experience will often make you forget you’re playing on a PSP. The main issue with the gameplay is that I miss a second analog stick on the device, but that’s a gripe for a different article. However, if a second stick existed, it would make mapping buttons on the device much, much easier and make the gameplay even better.
You still play through an action-platformer with guns and magic powers, and thankfully, learning from their experience with Daxter (on the PSP), there is no “open-world" experience this time around. Rather, a compelling airship system replaces a hubworld or overworld. Several segments involve flying around and gunning down enemies, which is arguably the best part of the whole game considering that all your ships and powers are upgradeable. The side missions involving the planes are also interesting and worthwhile to play through. The only confusing part is collecting precursor eggs this time around, because rather than the eggs giving you an upgrade, they only unlock special costumes and stuff you really don’t need.
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Next to Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines and God of War: Chains of Olympus, this game is incredible to look at on the PSP. PS2 quality graphics on the go are no longer a pipe dream for those of us that grew up with Gameboys (and not the color ones even). The graphics are eye-catching in the same way that the original Jak and Daxter games were on the PS2. The guns are all faithfully recreated, and the character models look like they were actually crafted with care and attention to detail. Magic sparks, airship battles, and things on a much grander scale than you’re used to on the PSP are all made in a way that removes you from the fact that this is all unfurling on such a small and powerful device in front of you.
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The Lost Frontier is by no means a perfect game and most assuredly not the best PSP game ever made, but it is quite good, and a worthwhile purchase for those that like platforming on the PSP. The game has great graphics, a good storyline (for those following it), and responsive controls. It’s a complete package for those of us who enjoy great airship battles, good platforming, and awesome side missions.