There seems to be a habit forming amongst the video game world and that habit is releasing old games with an HD makeover. Sometimes this has paid off well and other times you think to yourself "what were they thinking?" Sega has stepped into the fray this time with the release of an old classic, Jet Set Radio. Originally when the game released it was plagued with many, many faults, however an almost cult following developed for the game and it quickly became one of those titles that you either loved or hated. If you have never played Jet Set Radio before, you should consider this like a more arcade style skater where you skate around different areas and spray graffiti on various objects and targets all the while avoiding law enforcement and trying to make your mark against other gangs. While this was innovative for the time, the game still suffered from lack of quality controls and with other skating games doing better in terms of quality, Jet Set Radio has always faced an uphill climb. Lets take a look at the new Jet Set Radio HD remake for the arcade and see if Sega has either granted a gift to the loyal fans, or created something just so they can generate some cash.
As we kick of this review, the first thing that you will notice is the HD remake of the graphics. Jet Set Radio has always been cel-shaded to add a more feel and from the very beginning you will see that Sega has gone to great lengths to improve upon the graphics for the HD release. While the original Jet Set Radio was a graphic innovation in its own right, when compared to this latest remake, the difference is night and day. Make no mistake, every graphical facet of the game has been improved upon but sadly that can't take away the fact that this game still contains a lot of the faults of the original.
Back in the day, Jet Set Radio suffered from a control scheme that was supposed to be simplistic but ultimately in the end fell flat on its face when compared to other skating games. The main reason behind this failure in controls stemmed from the lack of a user controlled camera. In this latest release we find that Jet Set Radio has finally implemented a user controlled camera, but while this has helped somewhat, the control issues of past have come back to haunt gamers in a bad way. There are still issues with the camera (even though you can control it) and your skater still feels like he's a semi-truck skating on ice. Sega had a chance to deliver a classic experience and improve on the issues of the past, but unfortunately it only seems like Sega was interested in only improving the graphics.
Over the years we as gamers have had the luxury and benefit of innovations and improvements in all forms of gaming, however, in today's day and age we have come to expect that gaming companies who decide to release these classic games in HD provide the public with a wealth of improvements to enhance the joy and entertainment we all remember having. Sadly Jet Set Radio seems like a partial attempt to recreate a fun and enjoyable game, but the even more depressing news is that this game wasn't very fun to begin with and when you couple that with the fact that the game only offers minimal improvements but still suffers from the original poor control scheme and camera issues, Sega is betting that you don't remember how mediocre this game was to begin with and pick it up. If you're a fan, this should be a no brainer pick up, but only when it's discounted on sale. If you're not a fan, or have never played Jet Set Radio, do yourself a favor and avoid this game like you would avoid the police.