Jet Set Radio Review
Controls aside this game is great, I highly recommend it. 8.5/10
Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio depending on where you're from) is a well known game published by Sega and a cult classic in the hearts of all dreamcast gamers. It is known for its unique game play and musical score as well as spearheading cell shaded graphics into video games. But how good is this rollerblading, spraypainting adventure. Is it still the groundbreaking title we all remember it as or has age killed it like how the PS2 killed the Dreamcast. Well thats probably why you came so Im gonna tell you, but first a little history.
Jet Set Radio was developed by a 1st party developer for Sega that was known back then as Smilebit. The game was first released to the public on June 29 2000 in Japan and October 30 and November 24 for North America and Europe. As you can tell from the description above the game was originally made for the Sega Dreamcast. The games virbrant colors, quirky charachters, and overall high energy atmosphere was based off of Japanese pop culture during the late 90s/early 2000s. Jet Set Radio also had some western influences in it as well. Its massive city enviroments were based off of American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Fransico, and Chicago. When the game was finally released it was immediately praised for how creative and stunning the game was, despite receiving low sales. Jet Set Radio after its release was soon considered a Dreamcast classic and has since then obtained a huge following.
In Jet Set Radio you first take control of Beat, a Japanese teenager from the fictional city of Tokyo-to, who runs away in order to join one of the cities many spraypaint gangs. Why are their so many spraypaint gangs you may ask? Thats because their is floating spraypaint all over the city and besides who doesnt want to be apart of a spraypaing gang, thats fucking awesome. Oh and these gangs are promoted by a pirate radio station caled Jet Set Radio. Anyway Beat, unable to join a gang, forms his own, called the GGs. Over time the gang grows as they spread their artwork all over Tokyo-to and eventually own all of its main sections. After that the story focuses on the GGs struggle against another gang called the Golden Rhinos that is owned by a evil corporation known as Rokakku. After dealing eith the Golden Rhinos the Rokakku corp attempts to take over the world with a hypnotic record. You stop them and thats pretty much it. I guess a little vandalism here and their cant be cleared by SAVING THE FREE WORLD.
Jet Set Radio isnt a game that focuses on its narrative. Its story is mainly a reason to explore new places and to give challenges. While it isnt something to marvel at, the story does serve this purpose very well.
The game also has a (literally) colorful cast of characters. Most of them dont really talk but their colorful designs speak for themselves and fit very well with the game . My personal favorite is the Jet Set Radio DJ, the eccentric DJ professor K
The actual game itself is a little bit complicated to explain. At first glance, Jet Set radio looks like a rollerblading version of a Tony Hawk and to some degree it kinda is. In the game you do score points by doing tricks and grinding however you also spray tag things with graffiti to earn points as well. Here is an example of the games basic level
Outside of vandalizing, you can also race against and tag other skaters. One thing that stands out about the game is the environment. Some sections of the city are so big I ignored the timer completly and went exploring. Their are however are a few flaws in Jet Grind Radios gameplay. One is its camera. The camera gives the player a 3rd person perspective throughout the game and the camera can instanly look at wherever the character is facing by pressing the left trigger. It can times how ever flip out if you close to a wall or trying to turn with a wall blocking the cameras way. This fault is definately noticable and can disrupts the flow of the game but this only happens every so often. And besides what are bad camera controls gonna do anyway?
The other flaw in the game is the controls. Tights turns are a pain in the ass to do and jumping from rail to rail feels like jumping on the moon which takes time getting used to. However once mastered this game is a blast. Overall the gameplay is really great becasue of how unique it is. Its the perfect mixture of something familiar and something completely original.
Jet Grind Radio is a relatively easy game. Once you know the maps and get the controls under your belt, your pretty much prepared for everything. The difficulty curve in this game moves very well with your progression in the game. While playing I never felt the game was to easy or to difficult, with the exception of the races( those can be hard).
You know those games that have graphics that actually make the game what it is? Jet Set Radio is one of those games. Being a cell shaded game, Jet Set Radio is brimming with color. Alot of the character models and environments have bright vibrant colors that make the game unbelievaby immersive.
Jet Set Radios 3-D models arent to bad either for late 90s, early 2000s graphics. Because of its cell shading, Jet Set Radios graphics have stood the test of time and are still visually appealing. Jet Set Radios graphics are so colorful and amazing, by the time I was done with the game I was excreting color and no Im not kidding.
Jet Set Radio is one of those games that has a lot of emphasis on its music and for a good reason. Its overall upbeat sound and its wide range of genres fit perfectly with the game. Practically anyone can like the music in this game; The soundtrack consists of everything from J-pop, hip hop, and funk to heavy metal, jazz, and electronic dance music. Its so good that when I first listened to it, it was stuck in my head for weeks. Here are a few of my favorites.
Once you beat the game the entire story restarts so you can relive your favorite moments in the game all over again. On top of that you now have access to each part of the city that can be played in a variety of ways. Jet Set Radio has a lot of replayability because of its easy to pick up arcadish (is that a word....it is now) gameplay. By the time you finish the game your JSR skills make strolling through the city a breeze and alot of fun. Aftter beating the game I spent another hour exploring the city, finding hidden passageways and collecting graffiti art to spraypaint.
Overall Jet Set Radio is a fun, unique and fantastic game. It may have the crappy controls and a camera of an early 2000s game, buts it immersive atmosphere and addicting gameplay more than make of for it. Personally I loved the game and had a blast the entire way through playing it, despite its shortcomings. Out side of the Dreamcast, Sega rebooted the game with a HD rerelease for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita and all mobile devices. I recommend this game not only to old school gamers who didnt have a Dreamcast back in the day or sport game lovers but to anyone who wants something different. Someone who wants a unique experience that most videogames these days dont really provide. That is who I recommend Jet Set Radio for. With that in mind I give Jet Set Radio a 8.5/10