Jak X: Combat Racing Update

Naughty Dog teases us with an updated version of its PS2 racer.

LOS ANGELES--Reps from Naughty Dog were on hand today to show off an updated version of the upcoming Jak X: Combat Racing. We last got a look at the game just a couple of weeks ago, but the version on display sported some refinements since that occasion and also showed off some new content. Though the reps on hand only hinted at more information to come, they didn't cough up too much we didn't know, leaving us hungering for more.

Responsive vehicle handling won't count for much when you're launched into the air by a missile.

The work-in-progress version on display featured a mix of subtle tweaks since we last played the game along with more substantial additions to the experience. On the subtle tip, Jak X's handling has improved some since we last tried it. The vehicles feel a touch more responsive, making it easier to navigate the wicked turns you'll hit at high speeds. In addition to the handling tweaks, the visuals are shaping up nicely with a smattering of new effects being added to weapons fire and the debris from collisions.

On the meatier side of things, we got the chance to check out two new tracks, both set around Haven City--a familiar locale in the Jak universe. The first track was simply a run through the familiar city last seen in the second and third entries in the series. The second was set on the outskirts of the city and offered a geographical tour of the varied lands that make up the surrounding area. The two tracks highlighted one of the nice bits of continuity in the game that relates to the tracks: they're all geographically correct in terms of their placement in the world. The team has made sure to have all the tracks "fit" next to each other in order to ensure everything feels right. In addition to the new levels we also got a look at new drivers, Keira (the daughter of Jak II villain Krew) and a thug who was still waiting for a catchy name.

Many of the game's circuits will be familiar to fans of the Jak series.

Despite the fact that we'd just seen the game a few weeks ago, Jak X managed to show off some promising improvements. We're certainly digging the game's direction and how the gameplay is coming together. While a racer may not be quite what fans are hoping for, Jak X may well surprise you with its charm. Jak X is currently slated to ship this fall for the PlayStation 2, look for more on the game in the coming months.

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