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The Source
07-17-2002, 04:02 AM
Strap on the skates and prepare to stretch your imagination as Sega unleashes its out of this world sequel to the hit Jet Set series. Smilebit, the remote developing studio working under Sega responsible for Jet Set Radio Future, has out done themselves yet again. Outfitted with an uncanny craving for unique style and originality, this developing appendage offers what few can. Get ready to bob your head to the funky fresh beats and absorb the hip new flavor that isn’t available on any other Xbox game. One of a kind game play, exceptional cell shaded graphics, and exclusive soundtracks topped off with a colossal replay value are only a handful of things that make this game a prodigy in its own time. If you were a fan of the original Jet Set Grind on Dreamcast then welcome home. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of hopping on to the bandwagon with the current heap of Jet Set’s ghetto fabulous cronies—The Source suggests you pay your way. Warning: this game is not for those who suffer from motion sickness, are faint of heart or prone to seizures. Jet Set Radio Future travels in the one way fast lane towards gaming greatness and shall be the catalysts for all games to come that bear new and original ideas.

Story
JSRF takes place in an extremely modern futuristic adaptation of Tokyo. The city government has been corrupted by the major money bags, a multi enterprise company called the Rokkaku Group. By the hand of Rokkaku Gouji, the infiltration has mainstreamed straight into the heart of Tokyo where even civil laws are changing and the police department is being bought off. There seems to be little hope of resistance under the crooked juggernaut except for a few small groups of youth skating factions. These gangs, known as the Rudies, are all connected in one way or another through the underground pirate radio broadcasting station called Jet Set Radio. Headed by the notorious DJ Professor K., JSR is determined to undermine the Rokkaku Group’s desire to control industry, society, and culture as we know it.

There have been many troubling incidences occurring throughout the city putting everything in a downward spiral. The attack on the record store on Chuo Street, the Rokkaku police prowling around Dogenzaka Hill, the nasty rumors spreading like wildfire and a blackout on 99th street have left question marks on the faces of many. In an attempt to fight back the Rudies are burying Tokyo in graffiti for the purpose of maintaining self expression and to fatally handicap the Rokkaku Group before they stomp out our culture without leaving a single a trace if individuality.

Shadowed by the out of site beats originating from the JSR studio, can the Rudies look beyond their territorial tug of wars and join together to fight oppression? Or will they bury themselves with the same malice that they strive to resist? Playing the game is the only way to find out and you’ll get to see first hand what its like to pave your own way.

Gameplay
Jet Set Radio Future does not fall into any of your basic video game categories. It encompasses so many varying objectives and has such a massive setting and immersive story line that it would be a crime to try and classify it. The most common title that you hear of when comparing JSRF to other Xbox games is Tony Hawk, which is for only the most obvious reasons. The entirety of the game is spent on roller skates and you need to grind and do arial tricks to progress through the levels. Simply calling it a sports game would not do it justice. The tricks you can do are much more limited than those of Tony Hawk and vastly less time is spent on learning how to do them. Many could argue that the game plays more like an action adventure such as Resident Evil or Genma Onimusha because it incorporates such huge interactive environments and the elimination of enemies and rivals to the tune of a narrated fairy tale. Though closer to the mark, The Source still feels that even that doesn’t cover it. Regardless of what you become familiar to know the game as, you will find that it meshes together this diverse assortment of ingredients into a well thought out and thoroughly greased gaming engine.

Guided by the motivating storyline, you will find that the main objective of the game is to spray paint tags in different locations throughout Tokyo. You are playing as a new member of a Ruddie gang called the GG’s. You start the game out in the GG home base called the “Garage” where you will learn new skills and be provided access to the other key areas of Tokyo city. The Garage is very important because this is one of the locations where you can save your game file and gain new info about current objectives. You will also be able to hang out here with other GG members between missions like an intermission at a Broadway performance. Basically, all action that happens within the game starts and ends with the Garage.

The most noteworthy element of the Garage is the presence of a robot character named Roboy. Aside from DJ Professor K, he will be your mentor throughout the game. When you talk to him, an in game menu will be displayed. You will be able to use Royboy to save your game, change your character, practice new tricks, choose graffiti, create graffiti, and change the background music in the Garage. Other selections will be available to you once you have completed certain tasks. These options allow for a lot of individual preferences and give the player tons of leeway—a strong benefit of the game.

As a new member, you are sent out to test your skating skills by spray painting GG tags in designated areas marked by circular icons. To be able to tag, you need to collect spray cans that are scattered conveniently throughout the city. You can collect up to 30 different color spray cans that give you assorted benefits. Yellow cans account for simply 1 can in your stash. Each blue can you collect will account for 5 cans. Red cans are the most uncommon and by collecting them you will simply regain your health. When you collect at least 10 cans, you will have a new skill available at your disposal called the “Boost Dash” which makes your character go into warp speed overdrive. Similar to the different varieties of spray paint, there are diverse types of graffiti you can spray ranging from very small to very large. There are 5 graffiti sizes: SS, S, M, L, and XL. The SS and S graffiti have 1 icon each, M graffiti has 3, L graffiti has 6, and XL has 10. As you have probably guessed, the more icon marks that there are for each tag the bigger it will be.

The graffiti locations are spread all throughout the different levels. Some are in very arduous and hard to reach areas. This is where Jet Set’s unique skating game play comes into use. As you will discover, the level of interaction between you and your environment is nearly infinite. Almost anything within your reach is fare game to grind on. The most difficult thing for new players to grasp about the game is its physics. For one, gravity holds almost no relevance what so ever. You mustn’t forget that you are skating on rockets. You will be required to grind up telephone poles, skate sideways on billboards, fly across telephone wires and shoot up completely vertical rock solid walls. When you jump from one location to another, you might as well be on the moon because depending on how fast you are going it could be a while before you touch ground again. You won’t help but to notice how dynamic each of the levels are. The design allows the gamer to be completely free in his environment to roam and explore. Finding the correct path to skate adds to the draw of the game. Nothing is as it seems. A dead end may very well have more to it than you know.

Despite the space-like atmosphere and complicated maneuvers your characters will be performing, the controls themselves are simplistic. Although undemanding controls are native to Jet Set, The Source finds that this is one area where The Source gripes about the game. If there was any area they could have used a little more Tony Hawk influence, it would be here. Doing tricks and grinds seems just too easy. You have little control over the tricks you can do because they are basically done automatically. The ones that you can alter (i.e.: during grinds) can get repetitive. To make your player walk or run forward, you just use the left thumb stick. To jump you just hit A. To grind on an object such as a guard rail, you simply jump towards it. While you are grinding, you have the options to switch up your grinds and change your orientation. To switch your grind, you hit X. To face forwards or backwards, you hit Y. Hitting X and Y repeatedly will be the only influence that you have over your grinds. Balancing is a non issue. You will basically slide for as long as there is enough room to grind on any object. As far as tricking goes, hitting the same two buttons over and over again can get a little mind numbing but it is a tribute to the other areas of the game play because the game is still interesting despite this fact.

The Source
07-17-2002, 04:02 AM
Tagging all of the designated areas in each level will progress you throughout the main plot in the game. Once you have finished the graffiti challenges, you will usually interact with other characters in the game such as members from the rival gang Poison Jam or loners like Beat. Whenever you intermingle with main characters, you will have to participate in some sort of challenge. These challenges range from “monkey see, monkey do” chases, fast paced races, capture the flag, skill exhibitions and other various tasks. If you defeat your opponent in the challenge, he or she may join the GG gang. Any character that joins GG will be available for you to play. The Source finds that the way Smilebit allows the gamer to associate with different characters in compromising situations to be very satisfying. Striving to unlock new players becomes addicting. The mini games within the main plot will immerse gamers into a story that goes much deeper than it looks.

A great element in Jet Set Radio Future is its Street Challenge feature. Even when you have successfully conquered the required game objectives, there are other minor challenges that you can attempt within each level. The Street Challenges are level specific tasks that you must complete. These tasks are usually trick/point oriented. When you do tricks in JSRF, you will see a little Tony Hawk familiarity. The name of the trick and points based on its difficulty will be displayed on your screen. The number of consecutive tricks that you complete without breaking rhythm will also be shown. The street challenges will usually tell you to complete a certain number combo, execute a high score trick, do a certain number of arial combo’s, etc. All of the challenges are created to be difficult for the level that you are on. By beating the tasks, new items called Graffiti Souls will be dropped somewhere in that level. It is another mission in itself to find and obtain these souls. By grabbing them, you will add new graffiti to Royboy’s Garage Menu.

Not enough for you to do? Never fear! Not only is JSRF jam packed with things to do in single player, it has 5 multiplayer mode challenges as well. Battle up to four of your friends as you race around a selected course, fight for flags, steal balls, scuffle for turf or just have fun spraying each other.

From a shear options perspective, it is apparent to The Source that Jet Set Radio Future has more replay value than anyone could have hoped. Because of its unique style of game play, Smilebit has had a lot of room to add and improve new attributes that make this game well rounded. The Source finds it pleasing to see a solidly developed game where no corners have been cut. JSRF is a game that will take gamers an average of about 28-30 hours to complete. It is truly a game that is worth playing even after all is said and done.

Graphics
JSRF sports some top of the line cell shaded graphics. For some people, the first mention of the words “cell-shaded” is a turn off. The argument is that when you cell shade a game it takes away from the graphical power of the Xbox and is a way to hide poor 3D game engines. The Source can say that after many hours of playing Jet Set that this is not the case at all. Despite what stereotypes people may believe about cell shading from past games, the graphics in JSRF are extremely detailed and show no evidence of covering up for poor 3D rendering. Not only are the environments created complete with lifelike shadows, textures, and hip colors, it also adds to the atmosphere and overall feel of the game itself. This is a very important factor to consider. If The Source had to choose between fully rendered 3D models or the cell shaded models that are used in JSRF, The Source would choose cell shaded hands down. The character animations are extremely smooth as a result of this and don’t cause any slowdown or pausing during game play. Cell shading makes for a lot of options as far as character animations go and it is much easier to animate the complicated movements of the characters that are portrayed in the game. The Source’s only complaint is that there are some minor clipping errors where the character will apparently merge into a wall or car—this is very common error in cell shaded games however.

Audio
The audio portion of the game is a big a plus for most gamers. If you like funky beat music, then you’ll eat these tracks up. The Source can’t tell you how pumped up The Source gets when playing the game as one of JSRF’s many original scores or remixes are playing. This ambience also adds to the overall atmosphere of the game. Remember, the storyline is centered around a hip underground radio station that will “bust into your head through your cute ‘lil ears and blow your minds with a sexy voice and out of sight sounds!” Prepare to be entranced by techno beats from the Latch Brothers, Cibo Matto and Scapegoat Wax. Tracks such as “The Concept of Love” and “Ill Victory Beat” will resonate throughout your skull as you bust some fat grinds. Despite these great tracks, The Source feels that JSRF screams for a user custom audio option. If gamers could play their own favorite tracks, the game would have a nearly flawless audio system.

Conclusion
The originality of the Jet Set series, enthralling game play, audio and superb replay value make this game a must have for any serious gamer. Even with some let downs as far as a more advanced controlling system and custom audio features, Sega has managed to put out another ground breaking game that makes for a first in the Xbox market. If you are looking for something out side of the box to maintain a captivating interest in, then the developers over at Smilebit have created the perfect game for you. Jet Set Radio Future will be a game that future developers use as the epitome of a product that includes top notch planning and imagination all in one package.

The Verdict is in!
Overall: 9/10

Well once again The Source has managed to pull out another incredible review out of his/her pen.

CRAIG123
07-17-2002, 06:13 AM
have a cookie:rolleyes:

y2kash_14
07-17-2002, 06:45 AM
I said it once, i'll say it again, keep the reviews in the Reviews section:)

khaos2005
07-17-2002, 09:51 AM
Yet in the end, does it really matter where it is?

Tkf5000
07-17-2002, 10:13 AM
um.....so. whats so important, its a review! not like ive ever seen one before.

Spaztic
07-17-2002, 10:33 AM
this post is a bit late!
this game sucks
this post sucks!

khaos2005
07-17-2002, 11:50 AM
Damn, assuming the guy took the time to write that himself, why the hell is everyone so nasty to him? And who the hell cares what forum or place it's in? This is general discussion, and this thread makes more sense than a lot of other, somewhat Japanese threads do.

Tkf5000
07-17-2002, 11:55 AM
the thing is hes posting a ton of em. theres on for morrowind,jsrf, halo, and blood omen 2. he will probly make more. hes filling up general discusion with a bunch of crap. we can all easily get a review. he acts like its something special and it aint. its a waste of time and space. wheres the moderators at?

khaos2005
07-17-2002, 12:01 PM
Yeah I suppose that is true.

NomadLLama
07-23-2002, 05:05 PM
JSRF was good. what i hate is the slowdown in the garage when skating close to Roboy. its also really hard on the test runs.