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Jet Set Radio Future

Sega. Sega. Sega. Man, I was hoping some Beetlejuice **** would happen and a sequel to Jet Set Radio Future and Panzer Dragoon Orta would fall into my lap. Didn’t happen though, but I did spill some soda. Does that count for anything? Thought not. That’s disappointing indeed. Yeah, I want a sequel to Jet Set Radio Future. I actually bought the game when I first bought my Xbox, along with two other fine Sega products, GunValkyrie and Crazy Taxi 3. The thing is, I didn’t even bother to play the game because when I first started playing it I really didn’t like it for some reason. I don’t really know why either, though I never bothered to finish the first game I did like what I played of it, so it wasn’t the shock of the gameplay or anything. I just didn’t want to play it. Then one day, along came a wonderful man, a noble man, a certain someone on my favorite GameFAQs board, urging me…no telling me to play Jet Set Radio Future. Well, the thought of disappointing an anonymous Internet user scares me, so I started playing it again. And again. And again.

Jet Set Radio Future is one of those games that I could never define the genre in which it falls. Being that I work in a game store, when Microsoft decided the release the Jet Set Radio Future/Sega GT bundle disc, I often found myself easily explaining the concept of Sega GT, but unable to really explain what Jet Set Radio Future is all about. Really, it’s an indefinable game with its own unique style that I don’t think any company other than Sega could pull of successfully. The basic concept of the game is that an evil corporation has taken over all Government activities, because like in every other games and real life, corporations are more powerful than the Government. You are just a skater boy like in that Avril Lavigne song, trying to make it big in the rollerblade graffiti business. And along the way, you and your posse of fellow skater punks will single handedly save the country from the evil corporation and take out any gang that stands in your way. Yeah, that’s about all there is to the story, but really in this game, it’s unimportant.

The great thing about Jet Set Radio Future is the level design. Exploration is incredibly fun, and required intensely to find hidden ”Graffiti Souls,” which are different types of graffiti that you can enable. Aw shucks, I forgot to explain the whole point of graffiti. Graffiti is a work of art you see, or at least the disclaimer at the start of the game says so. You, being the graffiti master that you are, go around trying to gain control of different areas for your gang by spraying graffiti over certain areas. Most areas have roughly 30-40 spots where you must place graffiti, but it depends on the size of the level mostly. There even is a little editor to design your own custom graffiti! Back to the levels. They are incredibly vast, but fortunately you’re given a good map that you can use to figure out where you have to go. There are all sorts of people in the bustling metropolis, and an insane amount of nooks and crannies to explore. Nearly ever edge is dying for you to grind it, often leading your rollerblade-clad avatar to new heights.

Another nice touch to the game is the amounts of characters you can have join your crew. Though you can get through most of the areas with the basic cast of characters, gathering up more members to join up with you makes it a much different experience, and things that are challenging to some members of your posse may be incredibly easy for others. Each skater has their own tricks too, which I might add are incredibly easy to pull off, as easy as pressing one button. The controls are so streamlined in the game that it’s amazing they couldn’t have made it so you only need to hold it with one hand.

You know that fancy thing called cel-shading? It’s so overdone these days. Pretty much every RPG is coming out with it now, like Breath of Fire and Dark Cloud 2, simply because of one game: Jet Grind Radio. Sega really pioneered the art of cel-shading, and Jet Set Radio Future is truly an amazing example of it at work. No game, not even Zelda: Wind Waker, comes close to the incredibly high-quality cel-shading found in Jet Set Radio Future, and if Sega ever makes a sequel to this game, I think it’s the only game that could ever top it in terms of cel-shading. The character models are phenomenal as well, and equally cel-shaded, but oddly not looking the least bit flat or two-dimensional. Another great thing about there characters is the fact that they aren’t just basic copies of each other with different colors and hair-styles; they’re all uniquely rendered to look different. The levels are insanely gorgeous as well, full of vibrant color and an incredible distance draw that can’t be expressed enough.

The audio is the only spot in which the game screws up. The characters voice-overs are done well enough, though some better talent could have been used for a few of them. The music though, the music…it’s odd to say the least. Now, I’m a fan of some weird music, but there is a song on here about some mother making a dinner for her sons birthday for crying out loud! I mean, come on! The real kick in the junk though is the fact that there isn’t Custom Soundtrack support. The best feature on the Xbox is missing from a game that would most certainly be the best game for that feature…a shame indeed. It’s still an awesome game though.

Overall, best game ever. Well, not really. I just wanted to say that. I’m jovial tonight, what can I say? There’s even a multiplayer mode, but I didn’t really play much of it because multiplayer isn’t my thing. Jet Set Radio Future is a great game indeed, though there is no logical reasoning as to why. It just is. It’s the coming together of so many good elements that creates on giant great element. All I can say is, I’m glad Sega is such a big supporter of the Xbox, and I’m glad that Jet Set Radio Future rocks.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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