Guest Author - James Shea
A continuation and spin-off of the Jak and Daxter series, "Jak X: Combat Racing" is similar in method to Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing - a car-based version of a platformer game.
There is, however, a plot to the game, unlike some other spin-off games. Jak and his friends from Jak 2 and 3 are gathered to read the will for Krew, the now-deceased crime lord from Jak 2. From the grave (represented by a holographic message), Krew poisons all present with a "special vintage" of wine that serves as his funeral toast, and then says the antidote will be given to them by one of his associates if they win the city championship. After this, there are many twists as the various racers go through the championship mode.
The gameplay is based on the driving in Jak 3. Many of the controls should be familiar to players of that game. Like most spin-off driving games, there are weapons to be collected such as mines, missiles, and machine guns, and driving-based bonuses like turbo boosts and power sliding. The cars handle decently, and control is for the most part acceptable.
There are many upgrades for the cars, as well; these change the handling and physical appearance of the cars. For the most part the cars themselves have a rough, Mad Max style appearance, with a pretty good variety of car types. There are different colors and accessories available.
The graphics are about as good as the later Jak games, and there are cutscenes to illustrate the game's storyline. The audio is, again, the same as the Jak games. There's a fairly nice consistency; despite its racer status, it still feels like part of the total series.
Overall, this could have been a lot worse. It wasn't exceptional, by any means, but for a "kart racer" spinoff, this could have been a lot less well done. The fact that it was tied into the real story was also a nice bonus. But, mainly, it's so generically done that there isn't any reason to recommend or not recommend it.
BellaOnline Rating: 7/10.
Buy Jak X : Combat Racing from Amazon.com