JET SET RADIO REVIEW
Can this HD release live up to memories of the original?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Jan 18, 2013 13:58 (321 days ago)
Its odd to say, with so the control and camera so dated, but Jet Set Radio’s visuals as still incredible. Character models may prove a little chunky, but bar this limitation of the Dreamcast’s polygon pushing powers, all the original game needed to look modern was a quick up-res.
Tokyo-To looks exactly how I would expect a cell-shaded Japanese city to look. Neon, street-signs and schoolgirls fill the city, as Beat and his crew grind and leap their way through the streets. Though it all feels a little slow by comparison to more recent games, it still moves smoothly, and is a real triumph of style over realism.
Unfortunately some of the stylistic choices cause further camera problems, affecting player’s ability to follow the action. At key moments as the police awareness level is raised, the camera cuts to vignettes of the new squads arriving. These cut the already confusing camera away from the action, and frequently restart play at the worst possible time. It isn’t that the vignette is to blame, that would be the camera, but that doesn’t make it any easier to follow.
Jet Set Radio has dozens of tracks. Covering a range of styles, all of which blend together perfectly courtesy of Professor K, Jet Set Radio’s DJ. Within the fiction this DJ acts as a commentator on the action, as well as being a source of fantastic music. He also adds flare to the otherwise stoic cast.
Beside the music and Professor K, there is little really of note for your ears on the streets of Tokyo-To, with car engines, explosions and gunshots, all fall flat. Luckily Police Capt. Onishima places the occasional order for more troops (or tanks) over his radio as he runs the streets trying to restore order, and even the pedestrians manage to throw in the odd entertaining comment (if you can speak Japanese), to add a bit of texture to the city.
"Jet Set Radio" remains an outstanding example of gaming, but one that needs the context of time. It style is as wonderful as ever, and seeing the world it creates is a true joy. As a game it may had dated mechanically but, for a piece of gaming history, the price is right and it is well worth experiencing if you missed it the first time around… or if you played it and just want to see how good it still looks.
+ Good music
+ (Still) great visual style
+ A classic piece of gaming
- Dreadful camera controls
- Overly fiddly grinding