Naughty Dog's popular 3D action franchise has transformed into something quite different this year. Gone are the days of Jak and Daxter's on-foot run-and-gun antics; they've been replaced with revving engines, burning rubber, and all-out vehicular mayhem. Jak X: Combat Racing is a good solid racing game skewed more towards to the karting-genre than straight-up arcade racing. There are hints of Twisted Metal thrown in for good measure, but for the most part, you can look forward to some challenging asphalt carnage and a little Jak-style humor to mix things up a bit.
It's worth stating that Jak X doesn't really bring anything radically new to the racing genre. It's all been seen and done a thousand times before. From the notion of picking up power-ups on the track to winning cups and unlocking new cars, parts, and drivers, it's all pretty standard stuff. But that's not a bad thing. Naughty Dog has paid attention to what makes a good, fun racer. The end result is an experience that works very well. There are times where you'll hit a wall when running certain events, and even a few times where you'll want to break your controller into small hate-filled pieces as the CPU A.I. cheats you out of a gold medal, but you'll keep coming back for more until you win. And ultimately, that's the hallmark of a good racer.
There's a story behind why Jak and company are competing in the "Combat Racing Championship" which unfolds nicely through the game's bulky single-player adventure mode. I'll not ruin the ins and outs of the plot, suffice it to say that unless they succeed, Jak and his teammates will wind up as worm bait. Adventure mode is split up into four distinct cups. You'll need to work your way in a linear fashion through the various different styles of races in order to earn enough points to unlock the next cup, and so on and so forth. Needless to say, the more points and races you win, the more credits you earn, enabling you to purchase upgrades for your cars.