STAFF REVIEW of Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox)

Wednesday, February 27, 2002.
by maneatingcow

Jet Set Radio Future Box art One of the most overlooked games for the Dreamcast has been redone and improved for the XBox, with a nice new futuristic twist. Smile Bit has taken this game and molded it into something that any player can pick up and play. Myself, being a veteran from the first game was able to quickly adjust to the new style. This is a game that not only you will enjoy, but you and your friends can enjoy for some fast paced multiplayer. But the major question is, is this game a must buy for the XBox? In my opinion, hell yes.

Once you get used to the simple controls, you will be flying through the city in no time. JSRF has a simple control scheme, A is jump, Y is for 180s/tricks , X is the grind switch, R for Talking/Tagging, and L for centering the camera (Which sadly, you will use a lot in certain levels). You can hone your mad skills in the Garage with Roboy, although after the lessons, you will want to silence his loud mouth J After that, you go off to the different parts of the city, spraying the walls with your colorful tags. You are free to roam all over the different parts of the city, as long as you have unlocked them. Throughout the game, Rival Gangs and other Skaters who want to challenge your skills will face against you. Beating the Skaters will prove to them you are no noob, and they will then join you and become selectable in the Garage. Within certain sections of the city, the police will finally catch up with you, and you will need to defend yourself by tagging the officers. They will get harder as you progress through the game, and will also begin to bring in heavier artillery for you to deal with. JSRF offers a good amount of challenge, but the difficulty seems to be more within the normal levels compared to the bosses. The multiplayer is one of the best I have seen on the XBox. The multiplayer runs at 60fps, and has absolutely NO SLOWDOWN, even with 4 players! JSRF offers 5 different multiplayer modes, including normal racing, a capture the flag game called ?Ball Hog,? an all out tag battle, and a mode similar to one in Tony Hawk 2x, called Graffiti Wars, where you attempt to tag more than your opponent in the time limit. Even if you don?t have a friend around, you can simply choose the practice mode, which will allow you to play against the computer in any of the multiplayer modes. Overall, the game play is excellent, and the multiplayer may even rival the current king, Halo.

Smile Bit is one of the pioneers of Cel Shading, which can be seen in the game Cel Damage, as well as future XBox titles Orchid and House Of The Dead 3. The cities are massive in JSRF, and you can see as far as you could in real life. No fog tricks used here. Everything in JSRF has a cartoon look, but it is all still well detailed. Take a look inside the doghouse in the Garage to see what I mean :) The characters look amazing, with smooth edges and a hip futuristic look. If you have ever seen any choppy screenshots of JSRF, you?ve seen what happens when there is just 1 frame of it. While the game is running, it?s as smooth as can be. Smile Bit seems to have perfected Cel Shading in JSRF, and has also added plenty of cool effects to compliment it in JSRF. If you hit the B button to boost, the screen gets a nice blur effect that makes you feel the speed. The mist from the spray cans and sparks from your skates are also very well done. One of the coolest features in JSRF is the create a tag option, where you can create a custom tag to paint on the city streets. The create a tag option gives you control on text size, position, angle, texture, as well as the ability to paint whatever you want on your tag. With time and patience, you can make some killer tags with this creator. If you search online for some Jet Grind Radio tags, you will see what you can do with this powerful too. Overall, the graphics in JSRF are near flawless.

If there is one thing you notice, it?s the audio in JSRF. The sound effects are great for the game, but the main highlight is the music. Featuring 30 tracks to skate to, JSRF has one of the most interesting and confusing soundtracks. It features many tracks remixed by the Latch Brothers (3 Beastie gentleman, from what I hear?), some of them even returning from Jet Grind Radio. The tracks are a mix of odd Japanese pop, British pop, Hip Hop, Techno, and a couple American bands from Grand Royal records. The music fits very nicely, and most of it you have never heard before. JSRF allows you to play any track you want in the Garage, but within levels, the tracks are pre-selected and mix together very nicely. The absence of a custom soundtrack option is missed in JSRF like many other games, but the tracks that it comes with are plenty good for the game.

Lan play for support for 5+ players would have given JSRF a major edge over Halo. Now if JSRF had Online Play, it would be golden :) The custom soundtrack option is also a must next time around, as well as the ability to download custom tags for use in game, which is a feature from Jet Grind Radio that is sorely missed. Create a skater would have been a cool option too, but now I?m just pushing my luck :) My final suggestion is to bring the next JSR game to the XBox... because if it's an improved version of JSRF... then EVERYONE will be getting it, trust me on this one.

Overall: 10.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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