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May 16 2006
Daxter - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
20/4/2006SonySonyReady at Dawn
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Graphics are absolutely glorious.
If youíve ever read our review of Sonyís Jak & Daxter games then youíll know just how much we love them. Each of the three games in the trilogy are stunning titles both in terms of humour and gameplay, and worthy of being in every single PS2 owners collection. It was with much joy that we heard the series would be coming to PSP, but then it struck us. The name was simply Daxter. Where was Jak? Would he play a part in the game? The answer is no. This is a game about Daxter, the sidekick, the little orange critter with all the wisecrack remarks. Is it as good? You better believe it.

The events of Daxter take place between the first PS2 title, Jak & Daxter, and the second Jak II. After arriving in Haven City, Daxter quickly realises that being small and furry won't help his chances of survival in this merciless town. So he take a job as a pest exterminator, and whilst helping to stamp out a mysterious metalbug infestation, he explores the city, finding clues that will lead him to Jak. But Daxter soon discovers that there's more involved in this job then he originally bargained for.

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Daxter in the hotel lobby.
Developed by Ready at Dawn rather then Naughty Dog who did the PS2 titles, the focus of this title is very much on platform styled gameplay, rather then action which the last couple of PS2 games have shifted focus to. Sure, there is still fighting, but the real joy is the platform gameplay with Daxter scurrying from one area to another, climbing walls, jumping from one ledge to another, finding orbs and crystals, and so on. The controls are silky smooth, certainly one of the best we have seen on the PSP with the analogue slider controlling Daxter perfectly. Daxter is armed with a weapon which, although acting like a fly swat, can be upgraded with attachments to make it into a flame thrower and so on.

One aspect of this title which really breaks up the action is the inclusion of a series of mini-games which Daxter has during dream sequences. These are typically just button pressing affairs, however it's their settings which are most amusing. They include send ups of movies including The Matrix, Braveheart, Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings to name a few.

The development team has also been kind enough to enable gamers to save at any point, rather then waiting for the end of a level, or finding a Ďsave locationí in the game world. Another cool feature is the ability to connect to Jak X on the PS2 to unlock some new features.

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Chasing an enemy.
No game is perfect, and Daxter is no exception. There are a couple of small things which could have been improved prior to this game hitting the shelves. Firstly unlike the PS2 games Haven City is sparsely populated with almost no NPC's around the city. It makes this game seem a little inconsistent with the PS2 titles. I would have also liked to see some more variety in the combat which Daxter partakes in. I'm not talking in terms of moves or weapons, but rather the enemies. The bugs become a little tiresome and combat with human enemies would have been welcome.

Graphically Daxter is probably the most accomplished title on PSP to date. With virtually no loading, besides some brief (hidden) loads when in lifts or down waiting a second or two for doors to open, and stunning visuals this title surpasses the technical accomplishments of Rockstarís GTA: Liberty City Stories, and thatís saying something.

Equally impressive is the animation the characters, and in particular Daxter. Leave him standing for a moment and he's start pulling some humorous poses, but when he's moving it's a complete joy. The developers have managed to give Daxter a wide range of moves, equal to that in any PS2 game. The developers have also included 20 minutes of cut-scenes in Daxter. Often comical, but always progressing the story these not only look wonderfully but, as with the PS2 games, have a polish to them that is deserving of a Disney movie. They're put together that well!

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Daxter climbing the wall.
Finally we come to the audio. Perhaps this is games downfall, right? Absolutely not. Ready at Dawn have rounded out their PSP title with some of the best audio ever to be emitted from the PSP's speakers. The music is always lighthearted, but also has plenty of quality to it Ė and isnít too far removed from the original PS2 games. Also impressive are the numerous audio effects be it weapons, enemies or environmental. What makes the game, however, is the superb speech. Daxter is his typical wisecracking self, however the supporting cast are also choc full of personality and suit the game perfectly.

Daxter is quite simply the best platform game on the PSP, and certainly one of the best games on the system. Itís fantastic to see one of the most charismatic sidekicks in video games get the treatment he deserves, and it has been tremendous fun playing the game. If you have a PSP then you must add Daxter to your collection. Letís hope this is the beginning of a new franchise on the PSP, and one which will have several more games in the coming years...

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSA bit sparse in the city, but overall Daxter is technically stunning.
SOUNDReady at Dawn have created the best music and effects on PSP.
GAMEPLAYEngrossing and always entertaining gameplay in abundance.
VALUEThis is one of the most entertaining games on PSP, quite lengthy too.
OVERALLDaxter is without a doubt one of the best PS2 games to date. Technically stunning this game is just as impressive in terms of gameplay. If you miss this one you should question why you bought your PSP to start with.

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