When I was younger I heard about Jet Set Radio, but it was a game that I never got the chance to play. Now Jet Set Radio has been released with a few improvements, including an HD finish to its cell shaded art style.
I’ve never quite played a game like Jet Set Radio, its a quirky, over the top and has a funky soundtrack. It’s set in an over the top world of Tokyo-To where gangs of taggers on futuristic skates take to the streets and tag the walls with the graffiti to mark their territory. The members off these gangs all listen to a pirate radio station; ‘Jet Set Radio’ hosted by the funky DJ Professor K, spinning j-pop inspired tunes directly into your ears. It’s all fun and games until the police, SWAT teams, attack dogs and tanks start to ruin your day.
The gameplay can be divided into three modes; The general gameplay in Jet Set Radio will set you in interestingly designed levels where you zip around the town avoiding police and spray painting your tags over the rival gang’s in the area. After enough of those mission you will gain control of the area and have to chase down the opposing gang and spray paint your signs on them.
Lastly there is a challenge mode, where you have to pull off a follow the leader style of game. You pull off a series of tricks and after completing all of them you unlock a new character to play as. Jet Set Radio has a large assortment of characters to choose from, each with different stats but only slightly changing the experience.
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While Jet Set Radio can be really fun as anyone who played it on the Dreamcast will tell you, now almost a decade later the only thing holding Jet Set Radio back from being a great experience to newer players are the controls, which could have used some fine tuning for the HD release.
There are some times when you may try to grind on a rail and even though you hit dead on you still fall off, jumping and doing tricks seem random at times. I play fighting games regularly and even in the graffiti mini game the direction controls feel off, especially when you need to do multiple motions.
There are even some near impossible jumps to make where the camera works against you making it difficult to see what direction to hold when you jump. You can tell Jet Set Radio tried to have responsive and accurate controls but failed to execute them as well as the hoped. As a result the controls feel clunky and take some getting used to.
I started out thinking Jet Set Radio was a bad game, but it quickly grew on me. If you haven’t played Jet Set Radio before then I suggest you get it. Just give yourself time to get used to the controls and you’ll be pulling off sick tricks all across the city in no time. If you played Jet Set Radio on Dreamcast or Jet Set Radio Future on Xbox, then I shouldn’t need to convince you to buy it, for only $10 any fan of the franchise should.