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Jet Set Radio Future – Xbox

Jet Set Radio Future – Xbox

jsr2Platform: Microsoft Xbox

Developer: SmileBit (Sega Sports Japan)

Publisher: Sega

Release Date (NA): February 22nd, 2002

Genre: Action/Adventure, Sports

Nerd Rating: 9/10

Hello, and howdy folks! Let’s go on a short journey through a game that was a huge piece of my childhood! Imagine yourself walking around a Best Buy during the early part of the 2000s. At the time, the next generation of consoles had launched, and people lined up to get their PS2 or Xbox consoles! Now, as you know, most people chose Sony’s console and 5 year old me was one of those folks. After years of having the same system, the one I bought at launch, I have been incredibly satisfied with my experience on the PlayStation 2. But even as a child, the other part of me wondered what the other side of the coin was like. As I got a GameCube that Christmas, my curiosity piqued not for Nintendo, but for Microsoft. I had to know what Microsoft’s first console gaming machine was like. Luckily, my grandmother appeased these cries like the sweet woman that she was, and bought me an Xbox. The rest, they say, is history. Although it isn’t one of my favorite consoles, the Xbox did have many memorable games on it that I still enjoy to this day, one of which is our subject for today.

Jet Set Radio Future is a unique specimen that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to a young AbyssalOblivion. Was it a sequel to something? Was this a series? I found out much later that it is a bit of a remake to a Dreamcast game called Jet Grind Radio in the US and Jet Set Radio pretty much everywhere else. In fact, that original game was reviewed right here on Nerd Bacon by the site’s co-owner, Nerdberry! But honestly, at the time, I was left scratching my head at the game’s existence. The main concept of Jet Set Radio Future revolves around you, a newcomer named “Yoyo” joining the GG’s. What and who are the GG’s? They are a super cool street gang that basically just skates around and graffiti-tags everything like a bunch of badasses. The environment is somewhat of a futuristic version of Tokyo, and the overall open world nature of the game is something you’d call “refreshing.” Everything from the buildings to even the designs of the random people you encounter look crisp, and the graphics flow with the game remarkably well. Jet Set Radio Future has indeed aged well, and if you think a polished look with a unique cel-shaded comic style design is cool, wait until you hear the music.

Composed of unique electronic tracks, your ears will be graced by pure style as you skate around this futuristic version of Tokyo. I myself am not a huge fan of Electronic music, or basically what any of this unique stuff can be classified as, but I found myself quite loving the soundtrack. After a few listens, I would even honestly buy a copy of the soundtrack to listen to in my spare time. This music would be something you’d picture the kids of Tokyo listening to in the future, and it accomplishes creating a true feel for the game’s environment. In addition to just that wonderful soundtrack, the sound design to the environment itself were well done. The crashing of glass sounds like the crashing of glass, people screaming sounds like people screaming, and Yoyo annoyingly yelling sounds like Yoyo annoyingly yelling. (Or so I’m told.)

Just gotta catch the bus. Y'know, if I didn't have freaking sweet rollerskates.

Just gotta catch the bus. Y’know, if I didn’t have freaking sweet rollerskates.

“Abyssal, you’ve talked so God damned much about the look and the feel of the game! How does it fucking play?” Well, I’ll tell you, you piece of shit. (JK I LOVE YOU!) The gameplay is like nothing I’ve ever handled before. Think Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, except you’re skating around various parts of Tokyo spray painting stuff like a true ne’er-do-well. There isn’t a whole lot of “combat” in this game, it’s mostly just you going around spraying marked points with graffiti. Sometimes, you’ll come across certain sections where you’ll need to challenge a character to recruit them after the graffiti segments are done. These sections can be challenging, but are incredibly fun! You’ll skate to huge heights and through large, challenging distances. Accomplishing these sections and truly conquering them will be no easy feat, but it won’t be too hard for your sexy skating abilities!

I mean I guess they’re not THAT sexy, but they’re pretty damn stylish. Some of the places you can skate to are quite breathtaking, and the whole feel of the skating itself is so crisp and smooth. Playing basically like silk, the gameplay, when it comes to just simply skating, has almost no flaws. Grinding along, flipping like a boss, performing cool graffiti moves, all simple and smooth for you to do! The difficulty of the game mainly lies in the frustration from those challenge segments I mentioned before, and some of the “boss” fights. In these boss fights, you just utilize your graffiti in various ways to defeat an enemy, but it’s more tough than it sounds. The fights will be a refreshing curveball, one that you’ll be very capable of hitting out of the park, just with some trial and error. Other than that, the game is easy to pick up and learn, and can be an insanely fun game to go back to just to skate through futuristic Tokyo!

The story of the game is interesting to say the least. Your gang, that I mentioned, backed by this super cool radio DJ, intend to overthrow the authoritarian police state that controls Tokyo. To do that, you gotta recruit other members from the other street gangs of Tokyo by using graffiti throughout their territory. After you use your street art to mark up their territory, a recruit-able gang member comes out to deal with you. Then, you basically have to perform some sort of task to end up getting them to join your cause. This sounds a bit simple and redundant, but each time there’s a twist thrown at you. I won’t spoil anything, because I recommend this game to everyone, but let me assure you that this game never feels boring in any way at all. Each time you have to recruit feels nice and fresh, and the end result of the game after the conclusion goes through is quite satisfying.

Look at that lovely area of our fictional slice of Tokyo! (Aka Shibuya)

Look at that lovely area of our fictional slice of Tokyo! (Aka Shibuya)

After the game is finished, it does have a good amount of replay value. There are collectibles to gather and such and new places to look for and to explore. If that doesn’t entice you at all, maybe you’ll prefer to just chill and skate around with your friends in futuristic Tokyo? Or maybe just solo? And with that rocking soundtrack? Man, you’ll be playing this for awhile! To wrap things up, I like the character designs a lot, and I’m sure you will too. All uniquely outfitted and named, the unique look to the characters will match the rest of the game, and honestly the characters themselves are interesting to look at outside of just the cityscape. They match the overall cool and crisp feeling of the game and the overworld itself! They also match the smooth, and unique vibe that the game brings on. And man, to this day, I’m still hoping for a sequel one of these days. Come on, Sega.

Thanks for reading! This reviews been a real GRIND!

Thanks for reading! This reviews been a real GRIND!

To say the least, this unique title boasts some of the more impressive visuals you will see on the Xbox. Everything from the gameplay, to the city you skate through felt perfect! Although there were a few flaws with the formulaic nature of the story mode, the game’s original bite still shines through to this day. A solid 9 out of 10 is warranted to this game’s name, and I can only hope for another game in the series at some point in the future. It improves on everything its predecessor defined.

Written by JMSutherland

J.M. is a traditionalistic writer with a love of video games and storytelling. Born and bred in the heart of Southern Arizona, J.M. grew up on stories around campfires and old cowboy tales. He was also brought up on PlayStation and Nintendo and has high regard for video games as not only gameplay driven experiences, but as the most effective storytelling medium to boot. A study in all things gaming, J.M. considers himself a “video game historian,” knowing everything there is to know about the industry and the history of said industry as well.

When he’s not writing reviews and gaming, J.M. enjoys comics, classic movies, pro wrestling, and generally being a cynical, critical mind. He is also a published poet and lover of fiction writing, so you may find him crafting novels, short stories, and poetry as well.

If any readers have any questions for J.M. please direct them at:

Sutherlandjm516@gmail.com

 
 

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