Dream On With A Dreamcast Classic:Jet Set Radio HD Review

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Professor K“JET GRIND RADIIIOOOOO!!!” proclaimed exuberantly by Professor K. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Jet Grind Radio or, Jet Set Radio as it’s called in Japan, has been given the re-release and HD coat of paint, and the original Japanese title, Jet Set Radio. Now the question is: Can a decade or more game from the Dreamcast, hold up well, or crash and burn? This reveiw will primarily focus on the PSN and XBLA versions, there is an Vita version out as well.

I’ll start here, if you remember the game fondly, for everything that it gave you, and revolutionized gaming at the time. Guess what, every single thing holds up from the previous incarnation on the Dreamcast. I’ll go with good first. Sega kept the game exactly the same, to the game’s features as the first time it was released. Simply amazing, beautiful, and nostalgia factor off the scales. The graffiti in crisp 1080p, character models even more streamline with the up to HD quality. But I’ll start with the graffiti, since it’s the star of the show, more than the weird story, control the airwaves, and control Tokyo-To and the taggers story. Every single graffiti from the first is back as well as a dozen new ones, which Sega picked to be in the game. Link to the reveal video here:

Congratulations to the winners, personal favorite is Snack Attack! That is all. But additionally, they also kept the create your own graffiti feature in game… sadly, XBLA version didn’t have it included for some reason. Sega, also, added a better camera to the game, allowing for better controls while skating, and when the camera slightly reverses during certain tricks and moments after tagging walls. It’s not a bad thing, that the game remained the same. Also, the music, the music wasn’t touched, but reduced number, and it remains the same selection of pop, punk, rock, hip hop, instrumental, and electronic. The music and the graffiti made the game a cult classic, and I’m glad, they kept the music the same, while adding new graffiti to the mix. Plus, best GGs in the gang, are Cube and Garam… He’s the weird version of Spider Man and a foot ninja… look!

The guy on the far top left, thats Garam, and on his left Cube

The guy on the far top left, that’s Garam, and on his left Cube

Now, onto the bad; remember, all the bad from the first version of the game on the Dreamcast. Well, they all persist in the HD version. I’ll start with controls… Seriously, remember having the inspector a 100ft from you and you have to finish that last graffiti with a full circle and half circle on the analog, and you’d be done finish the board? And for good measure, throw in, your one shot from restarting. And end result, you getting shot in the back, because your control wouldn’t register the freaking half circle. Yup my friend, that’s still present, love it or hate it. Even with the improved camera, it still has those moments where, you skate down the hall towards the Poison Jam for the boss fight, and you can’t avoid them, because the damn camera changed, and controls were inverted, yup still there. Also, with the new camera, it also, has rather random moments of pop-in and popup during levels. Also, another bad translation to HD, was the music during the cutscenes, tend to skip. Last thing, loading times, I don’t exactly remember the loading from the first iteration, but in the re-release, they seem rather long, but that could be me. Not a rage worthy long, but long load times, but a slight nuisance all the same.Jet Set Radio HD 2

Those new to the game, will probably guff at the simplicity of the controls and the feel of not doing the tricks, and everything being automated. But those who remember the game for what it really was, a romp through Tokyo-To, tagging everything from walls, to water towers, billboards, helicopters, rival gangs and the Inspector, you’ll love everything about this game, like first time you played it almost 12 years ago. The game style, humor, music, and fun have all translated well, as well as the quirky things that made you want to jump into the game and hunt down the GGs yourself. Even with the time that has passed on the game and franchise, the game with its new HD paint, character models sporting still very few polygons, and the game is worth the price tag.

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