Developer: Smilebit |
Publisher: Sega
Players: 1 Player Game |
Release Date: 02/25/02 |
Genre: Action

When I first heard the news that Sega was teaming up with Microsoft to deliver titles like Shenmue, Panzer Dragoon, Gun Valkyrie, Jet Set Radio Future, and others, I was excited about the future of Xbox games. The first non-sports release for Sega on the Xbox is JSRF – Jet Set Radio Future, a graphically supercharged cel-shaded follow-up to their hit Jet Grind Radio on the Dreamcast. I will be real honest with you–I expected perfection out of Sega in this game but the final product fell far below my expectations.

You begin play as Yoyo, a newcomer to Team GG. You are joined by the leader of the GG’s, Corn, Gum, and Roboy. Of these characters, Corn, Gum, and Yoyo are playable. After a brief tutorial, the gameplay begins. However, while you are free to skate around the small world, you are given no direction on where to go or what to do. After exploring a bit, I found my way into a level I could skate into.

Once in the world, I was given brief instructions by DJ Professor K, the navigator of the underground pirate radio station Jet Set Radio. After exploring the world, I finished my mission objectives: collecting spray-paint cans, turning certain walls with circles around them into graffiti, and locating a multiple glowing icons. After this was completed, I ran into a character named Beat who enticed me to follow him through glass windows and into the sewers. When I caught up with him through the sewers, a challenge was issued for a race. I raced him around the city and totally destroyed him. There was just once problem. I was forced to walked up a tiny stairway to complete my victory. Unfortunately, Sega made the control so loose that I found it impossible to guide my character up the stairs. Beat caught up with me at last and had no problem getting up the stairs (darn cheating computer). Frustrated, I tried again… and again… and again… and again. Each time ended in the same result.

I may not be the greatest videogame player in the world, but I consider myself to be pretty good. Lets just say that I began to hate JSRF more than any game in the past after being unable to make it up those steps. This ruined the entire experience for me.

Another problem with JSRF is the camera system. You will quickly notice that the camera doesn’t follow you very well and you can end up being turned the wrong way very easily. Fortunately, Sega included the L Trigger to center the view for you. While this helps, it would have been a better experience for the gamer if they included a smarter camera system to begin with.

Unlike the original, grinds are performed automatically and there is no time limit in the levels. This definitely tones down the difficulty level and lets you enjoy the levels more. However, if you are like me and can’t walk up the stairs to win the race against Beat, and get passed this level, it won’t really matter because you will be asking for a refund after less than a day of playing time.

So what is there to like about JSRF – Jet Set Radio Future? The graphics are definitely nice. At first, I was not very pleased with the whole “cel-shade” revolution that is taking place in the videogame industry. However, the technology has finally grown on me and it really helps make the games seem like “interactive cartoons.” Also, the music is just incredible. It is a shame that other developers don’t spend as much time getting great tunes in their games as Smilebit and Sega did.

If you are looking for something new and original for your Xbox, this may be your game. Be warned–the controls are very loose and the camera system is horrible. If you think Jet Set Radio Future sounds interesting, definitely rent it first. However, after seeing the flaws in this game firsthand, you will more than likely agree this game is overall an unplayable piece of garbage.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 03/08/02
ESRB Details: Strong Lyrics, Violence

Screenshots for JSRF – Jet Set Radio Future