Way Back When
After completing the original PlayStation’s Crash Bandicoot trilogy, developer Naughty Dog had opted to close out their time with the franchise with the release of kart racing game Crash Team Racing. It was only fitting then, that their PS2 Jak and Daxter trilogy ended on a very similar note. Clearly ready to try something a little different with the lovable duo, Naughty Dog followed up Jak 3 with Jak X: Combat Racing in late 2005, giving players one final experience with the characters before the team moved on to work on an all-new property for the PS3.
Combat Racing tasked players with joining a fictional combat racing sport and competing in a variety of arcade races in an attempt to win an antidote for the recently poisoned Jak and Daxter. Gameplay functioned very similar to the vehicle segments from Jak 3, and the use of various weapons made for some compelling showdowns as players raced through the championships in hopes of overcoming their opponents. It even featured a fairly well-implemented online mode for those willing to purchase the PS2 network adapter. Perhaps most interesting, though, is that if players had completed save data from Insomniac Games’ Ratchet: Deadlocked, they could unlock Ratchet as a playable character. Rad!
The major genre shift meant that Combat Racing wasn’t quite as popular to as many gamers as previous entries in the franchise, but it still managed to earn mostly positive reviews. Primary criticisms revolved around difficulty spikes and the poor handling of some vehicles, but significant praise was nevertheless given to its graphics, mode variety, and online functionality. It went on to join the first three titles in Sony’s “Greatest Hits” collection and was included in the PS3 and PS4 remaster collection of all of the Naughty Dog games in the series. Whether we’ll ever see the Jak and Daxter property make a comeback in the future is uncertain, but in the meantime, at least you can race to your heart’s content.
Where You Can Play It Now
Because of PlayStation exclusivity, Jak X: Combat Racing and the rest of the games in the series are only available in modern form via their PS4 remasters, which have been brought over from the original PS3 and Vita releases. They can be played via backwards compatibility on the PS5, of course, and they feature the expected upgraded resolutions and all of that good stuff.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Jak II:
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
It’s a shame that there haven’t been remasters of the duo’s final game Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (from High Impact Games) or the PSP spin-off Daxter (from Ready at Dawn), but you should still check out the rest of the Naughty Dog entries in the series. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II, and Jak 3 are all available now.