I'm currently bored, as I haven't been able to think of anything to write about. So I figured I'd talk about something that I just particularly like, and I'm just enough of a narcissist to think you people are interested in hearing why. Jet Set Radio Future for the original XBox, depending on who you ask, is either the sequel or retelling of Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast, and to put it bluntly, undoubtedly my favorite game of all time. The words "Criminally underappreciated" do not even begin to describe its reception, as it bombed spectacularly with only 30,000 sales, costing Sega so much that they have refused to even discuss making another installment for almost 10 years. I'm sure there are more than a couple users here who know exactly what I'm talking about. Jet Set Radio Future is an achievement in video game history for a number of reasons, but particularly because of the insane level of pure mischievous fun this game offers. So here are my top 10 reasons why Jet Set Radio Future is the best
1. Easy and intuitive controls.
The first Jet Grind Radio was unique in its approach to controls compared to other sports related games. It completely ignored the established conventions of the genre by deciding to treat inline skating as more of an action adventure game, rather than the usual combo ridden controls used for other skating games. The result was something that most, if not every gamer, could just pick up and play.
Jet Grind Radio Future takes this approach even farther; it not only made rail grinding even easier, it also allowed players to control increase their speed through the use of a trick system. By hitting either the "X" or "Y" buttons with a steady rhythm, players could have continuous speed on rails, even if by mistake they didn't land on at the desired speed, allowing players to be capable of grinding a rail in its entirety. In addition, they removed the use of the "move faster" button (which had a cool down), so players could essentially move at top running speed at all times, and they added a boost for XTREME speed, which could be used for moving faster, making longer jumps, and for defeating certain enemies. Also, you could actually fight and defeat enemies in this game, opposed to the Pac Man style game play of avoiding enemies and instead defeat enemies as well as having boss fights to break up the game play from just using graffiti and collecting Graffiti Souls. Speaking of graffiti, they also did away with the wonky Simon Says style of spraying graffiti, instead, you just run up the marked area and push the right trigger, automatically spraying graffiti on the area. There is also a lot of depth and nuance to the movement and jumping, which are no means required to beat the game, but mastering them will make your life easier. The end result was something tighter, more accessible, and more sound than in the original.
2. Genius Level Design. Pictured: BRILLIANCE!
This is one area where Jet Set Radio Future triumphs over all other games. In the original, you just selected a stage on a map, and left when you marked all the tags. In Jet Set Radio Future, however, all of the stages are actually connected to each other, giving a much better sense of the world you're in as well as making. Despite not actually being a sandbox game, Jet Set Radio Future manages to create the illusion of a living, breathing city better than any game I've seen, while still managing to create intricately designed levels that are absolutely brilliant in their design. This game actually has more in common with platformers than most sports games or other action adventure games, all while looking like a believable city and without any of the "Hijack a car to drive on roads" shenanigans. Some of the larger levels are unbelievably complex, with so many different paths and nooks and crannies that I don't think I've ever managed to explore them all in all my years of playing this game. To be honest, you don't even really need to know all of the ins and outs to complete the game. Speaking of which:
Jet Set Radio Future manages to appeal to both sides of its play base, the story mode will take you anywhere from 10-15 hours on your first play through, allowing for people just looking for a quirky, fun, and easy action adventure game to just pick up and beat it in a reasonable time. However, for hardcore fans of the series, the game offers much more after you beat it. After you the game, you unlock the "Test" mode, where you can either replay through the graffiti spraying portion of the level, flag capturing, a technique mode, and a racing mode for each of the levels. Managing to get a Jet Ranking(The highest ranking) in all of the test modes is a hell of a challenge. In order to unlock the test mode for particular levels, you need to collect all of the graffiti souls in that particular level. What are graffiti souls? I forgot to mention what they are. They are new artwork for your graffiti. Yeah, you don't just get what you start out with like you might be expecting, there are tons and tons of graffiti artwork you can collect. In addition to that you can make your own artwork as well! Crazy huh? Moving on, collecting the graffiti souls generally involve some intricate platforming. You also have to perform certain actions to make some of them appear, such as performing a number of grind combos, air combos, collecting points, as well as completing special challenges. There is a lot to do and collect in the game even after you've beaten the story.
4. The Characters
Have you ever played a game and thought "Man this villain rocks, I wish I could play as him"? If so then JSRF is for you! When you complete all of the test runs in for a particular level, you unlock extra characters, including Rokkuko Gouji, the series' main villain. Sure he dies at the end of the game(Both actually), but who cares about continuity, Jet Set Radio Future is about fun! Just check this out.
Skip to 1:51 and listen to Gouji ham it up. You know you want to play this game if for no other reason than to unlock him now. You can also unlock a ton of named characters as well as a member of ever other rival gang that appears in the game. The only characters you can't play as is Hiyashi, but no one likes him anyway, and DJ Professor K, who you need to keep yourself tuned into the kickin' tunes. Seriously, just imagine this guy running around in skates.
5. Its critically acclaimed Soundtrack.
Part of what ties all this together is that Hideki Naganuma style soundtrack. Hideki Naganuma always brings his unique flavor of composing to his soundtracks. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that there isn't a game whose soundtrack and use of it works as perfectly as the two soundtracks to both games. Seriously just check out a couple of them:
6. Its not on any Sony console.
Because every top 10 list needs some kind of Jim Sterling reference.
7. Its Cel Shaded
And cel shading makes everything better.
8. It lets you be the little punk inside everyone.
Who hasn't dreamed about sticking it to the man, going around town spraying graffiti while avoiding the cops, then going home to dance around with a bunch of bizarrely dressed people? No one else? So it's just me? No matter then.
9+10. This game has not one, but TWO Yo-Yos.
No other game in the WORLD can make that claim. As such they are inferior games because Yo-Yo Fucking rocks
. God of War 3? No Yo-Yo and as such it is completely unlikable. Super Mario Galaxy 2? Probably won't have Yo-Yo because of that it will suck just as much as the original Super Mario Galaxy did. Yo-Yo, making your video games better since June, 2000. And another one for good measure
And there you have it. Those are my top 10 reasons why Jet Set Radio Future is my favorite game of all time. This list was originally top 100, but I shortened it for brevity. Jet Set Radio Future is a game unlike any other. Unique, without being off putting. Deep, while still being intuitive. Stylish, but not without substance. If you happen to have an XBox or an XBox360, you really owe it to yourself to track down a copy of this game.
LOOK WHO CAME: