hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Jet Set Radio

Review: Jet Set Radio

6:00 PM on 09.12.2012 // Ian Bonds

Oh, the late 90s/early 2000s. In-line skating, graffiti, techno-infused Japanese pop, and the Sega Dreamcast ruled my life, in and out of gaming. It was a better time, a simpler time. However, nostalgia can be a funny thing. What was a fond, fun memory once before may not hold up as well almost 12 years later. For example, I was never good at in-line skating, and I'm still pretty terrible at it now.

The same can be said for a lot of things. Is the new HD re-release of Jet Set Radio one of those?

Jet Set Radio (PC, PlayStation Network, PlayStation Vita, Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed])
Developer: Smilebit
Publisher: Sega
Released: September 11, 2012 (PS+) / September 18, 2012 (PSN) / September 19, 2012 (PC, XBLA) / October 16, 2012 (Vita)
MSRP: $9.99 (PC, PSN, Vita) / 800 Microsoft Points (XBLA)

The concept of Jet Set Radio is fairly simple: street gangs tag neighborhoods and speed about the city on hi-tech in-line skates while avoiding the police and rival gang members. Tagging is done with directional motions on the analog stick, and tricks are performed almost automatically as you grind on rails, wallride, and flip about after jumping. The whole experience is offset by the game's striking cel-shaded visuals and diverse soundtrack of J-pop, techno, and hip hop tracks.

On the plus side, the HD visual upgrade is fantastic. The cel-shaded graphics popped back in the day, but the widescreen presentation and updated resolution really help this title shine. When compared to the original, this new version just seems so much brighter. The dark outlines give everything a graffiti quality, not just the art you're so intent on tagging onto walls and the occasional person. The HD coat of paint works well, and series fans will be thrilled to know that, except for two tracks, all the songs from every regional version of the game are included -- to be honest, I don't even remember which ones didn't make the cut).

However, when it comes to the gameplay, you'll find not much has changed. This is not necessarily a good thing. While the techniques are simplistic in their execution -- your skates magnetically attach to any grindable object -- you'll find yourself fighting with the camera and clunky movement controls, just as you did with the original. The skaters all perform like bricks on wheels -- not much tight handling -- while the tagging motions are hit or miss in their responsiveness.

Tagging is often an analog stick quick time event, and time management in choosing your tagging areas is key, as after a certain number of targets are tagged, stronger police forces are unleashed. The analog controls are actually not as responsive as one would want, which is made all the more difficult when trying to tag while being bombarded by tear gas and gunfire.

These were the same issues I had with the original when it was released on Dreamcast, and I was hoping there would be some improved controls in this HD release, as there were in the pseudo-sequel Jet Set Radio Future. While minor camera control is now mapped to the right analog stick, there are still prevalent clipping issues, and the presentation tends to block visuals at the most inopportune times. As the game cuts away to watch the cops frustratingly stomp their feet as you make a daring leap away, you remain in motion, so by the time the view cuts back to you, you have to quickly orientate your character so you don't fall or get caught just as you escape. This is only exacerbated by the lengthy fall or trip animations as you helplessly tumble from heights.

It pains me to say it, but I may have been a little blinded by nostalgia on this. I played the original a bit again before playing the new version for review, and while the updated visuals were a stunning improvement, the fact that not much else was expanded upon is a bit upsetting.

Jet Set Radio is still a fun title, but also a frustrating one. If you've never played the game before, you may be left wondering what all the hype was about. It may be a good game, but if it had been released for the first time today, many would see it as unfinished.



THE VERDICT

6.5

Jet Set Radio - Reviewed by Ian Bonds
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Ian Bonds, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Ian is Dtoid's resident review monkey. If there is a game no one else wants to review, it usually goes to Ian. As a reviewer, Ian has been writing for close to ten years for various sites, starti... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3KgJfBt0uE
Nerdcotic Network avatarNerdcotic Network
Hay check out this awesome video made by the Nerdcotic Network on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QemwbuspOJg
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]http://cdn.destructoid.com//ul/308609-RR1.jpg[/img] Dayum. Billy Mays is back and lookin' good.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Pivot smash my way to victory
Osc44 avatarOsc44
You ever dream of flying through the clouds, but couldn't so you just watch TV? Me neither.
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
Oh GOOD, The Flock is awful. I was hoping to break my high review score streak. (this is a joke)
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
So many PAX things to write. So many.
Shinta avatarShinta
Bwahahahaha .... my helicopter now arrives in the middle of a fight blaring "Take on Me" on the loudspeakers. Metal Gear 5, 10/10. [youtube]https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914[/youtube]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh neat, Hollow Knight got through the Colosseum of Fools stretch goal while no one was looking. Shame they couldn't get to three characters but the game still looks awesome.
techsupport avatartechsupport
S Rank is so satisfying. Too bad I rarely earn it!
Bardley avatarBardley
My MGSV: The Phantom Pain playthrough has quickly devolved into a journey to fill out Big Boss' 80's synth pop collection. And I couldn't be happier.
Dinosir avatarDinosir
You know what I love? Game tgat force you to connect to their servers even though you only want to play single player. Then the servers are down an the game tries for like 5 minutes, not even giving you a way to cancel the process, you just have to wait
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In today's Spelunky daily challenge, I was nibbled by a bat that pushed me into a Tiki trap that landed me dead on Kali's alter. Kali was pleased with the bat's sacrifice.
Shinta avatarShinta
It's pretty good guys ... [youtube]https://youtu.be/_98VZT9s7M0[/youtube]
Shinta avatarShinta
FFXV is supposedly 10x as big as The Witcher 3. Wow ... [img]http://i.imgur.com/9tfSuxQ.png[/img] http://www.dualshockers.com/2015/09/01/final-fantasy-xv-map-size-potentially-revealed-its-roughly-an-enormous-780-square-miles/
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The ending of "Return to Crookback Bog" in TW3 I got was so depressing. Wow. I think I need a break...
Shinta avatarShinta
I'm sitting here play Metal Gear V, absolutely loving it. But in the back of my mind ... all I can think about is Mario Maker. I'm really excited for that game!
Patrick Hancock avatarPatrick Hancock
Sold a digital item on Steam, that came with a physical item, for more than the cost of the physical item. This is the second time I've done this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Everyone right now is playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And here I am, waiting for Super Mario Maker to come out. And also Star Fox Zero.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Patrick Hancock hates babies. Rick and Morty.... I wish I could view thee second season. I need to play MGSV. I spray farted earlier.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Jet Set Radio


  Oct 16

Sega delays PS Vita release of Jet Set Radio

But try telling that to the game when you need a little more time


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -