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Jet Set Radio HD review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • Crisp 720p graphics
  • Online leaderboard score tracking
  • Most of the original soundtrack is back
  • Floaty physics
  • Occasional framerate issues
  • Sound balancing issues

The Sega Dreamcast didn’t last long, but in its short lifespan, it managed to produce a handful of original games that opened our eyes to possibilities we had never seen before. If you ask any Dreamcast fan what they most remember playing, Jet Set Radio will probably be at the top of the list. It was a game that introduced us to the wonders of cel-shaded graphics and the joys of spraying and skating down the streets of an imaginary Tokyo. It was an impressive title, and now over a decade after its initial release, Jet Set Radio is back, showing us it’s still got it.

Check out our exclusive Jet Set Radio HD trailer!

Jet Set Radio follows the story of a group of skaters, who roam the streets of Tokyo spraying graffiti all over town, and their run-ins with rival gangs. Missions involve picking up spray cans and tagging several targets in a short amount of time, all while avoiding the comical amounts of firepower the authorities throw your way. Each mission gets more challenging as the game progresses and rewards you with a score depending on your overall performance.

Through its use of cel-shading, the game is able to effectively capture the lightheartedness of the story and make it seem like you’re inside an interactive cartoon. Its updated resolution makes the little details stand out more, and the colorful palettes of each of the neighborhoods you’ll skate through look even brighter than before. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t devoid of frame rate issues, and there were also moments when the game and music would stutter.

Check out the Jet Set Radio HD Heritage Collection Trailer!

Grinding on surfaces such as railings is a big component of how you move in the game, so it’s a shame the overall physics still feel overly floaty at times. The original’s camera controls, at least, have been greatly improved and now let you control the camera using the right analog stick. Having two analog sticks means you can now skate on by and turn corners with ease knowing the camera will always be there following your every move.

All but one of Jet Set Radio’s original tracks returns, and the soundtrack is still as catchy as ever and complements the game’s portrayal of the Japanese hip-hop culture. We did notice the audio balancing seems to be off, as the background music drowns out the game’s helpful and immersive sound effects if you raise its max volume.

Despite its technical hiccups, Jet Set Radio is a joy to play, even 12 years after its release. Its varied missions will keep you coming back for more and the added treat of hearing its eclectic soundtrack makes playing them all the more fun. If you never owned a Dreamcast before, you now have no excuse to miss out on one of Sega’s most enjoyable and original titles.

More Info

Release date: Sep 18 2012 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Lyrics, Mild Violence

11 comments

  • LordGremlin - September 12, 2012 1:49 a.m.

    http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/9/11/3313918/jet-set-radio-hd-review Whom to believe?
  • angelusdlion - September 15, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    Yourself after you actually play it.
  • ViolentLee - September 11, 2012 3:12 p.m.

    What's the missing song? I hope it's not "Birthday Cake" by Cibo Matto, which I ended up liking more than the actual game.
  • Jdub9064 - September 11, 2012 8:37 p.m.

    that song was actually in jet set radio future, the xbox sequel
  • antiAntag0nist - September 12, 2012 6:51 a.m.

    I think the song was "Yappie Feet", which is a little disappointing as it is one my favorites.
  • boondocks50 - September 12, 2012 7 a.m.

    I think that song is only in JSRF not JSR, but that song omg. At first i was like wtf is this shit, couple hours later im singing along to it when it comes on. Its probably one of my top 5 favorite songs from that game. Its ridiculous lol.
  • Net_Bastard - September 11, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    Why didn't they increase the texture resolution? Call me a graphics whore all you want, but toon shading doesn't hide every graphical flaw. At least that can be modded into the Steam version I guess.
  • Darkhawk - September 11, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    I'm curious. I gave up on JSRFuture because the soundtrack was so terrible (and repetitive). Could this HD possibly be better if it still carries similarly dreadful music?
  • Balaska - September 11, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    This is JSR, not JSRF. To me, JSR had the better gameplay mechanics, the graffiti wasn't automatic. However, if you don't like the tunes in JSRF, then you are unlikely to like the tunes in JSR.
  • ultimatepunchrod - September 11, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    I'm looking forward to the HD version, but I want to try it out on Vita. I still have my Dreamcast and a copy of the game, so that will hold me over until then. Also, I just played JSRF, and so far I don't like it near as much as the original.
  • antiAntag0nist - September 11, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    I'm so excited for this game; I can't wait to play it next week.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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