The predecessor to JET SET RADIO FUTURE, JET GRIND RADIO, was released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast and sported unique cel-shaded graphics, an original gameplay engine, and a tremendous soundtrack. We're now in the year 2002, and the Dreamcast is but a memory. Like JET GRIND RADIO, JET SET RADIO FUTURE is a gorgeous game. But will it hold gamers' attention span for long?
The storyline of JET SET RADIO FUTURE is a lot like its predecessor's: Tokyo has been taken over by an evil corporation who controls everything, including the police force. You, along with your fellow members of your gang, must skate around and spray paint grafitti on walls to bring Tokyo out of its opression.
I can't say I've ever been too big of a fan of cel-shaded graphics (I'm still amazed that the next LEGEND OF ZELDA will sport that type of graphics engine), but cel-shading is the only way to go with JET SET RADIO FUTURE. I can't imagine this game being designed any other way (This game with SHENMUE's graphics? Come on.). The Xbox really shows off what it can do in this game. JET SET RADIO FUTURE is incredibly fast, but the Xbox shows no signs of slowdown during gameplay. And really, it's saying a lot, but JET SET RADIO FUTURE is probably the best looking Xbox game on the market right now.
The gameplay takes a little time to get used to. First thing you'll notice is that you can grind off of nearly anything. Rails, light poles, wires; you name it, you can grind on it. Secondly, you have to collect spray paint cans to be able to add your art to the neighborhood walls. Also, you aren't able to spray paint everything in sight (a disappointment for people who want to spray paint pedestrians, I'm sure). You can only spray paint certain places that are marked by colored spheres, and there are so many in each stage you have to mark to complete the level. There are also 12 playable characters to find in JET SET RADIO FUTURE (you start off with 3 and build up your roster).
Like most games, JET SET RADIO FUTURE isn't without it's problems. The biggest one I've come across is with the camera angles. The camera angels are fine most of the time, but when you have to spray paint something in front of you, and there is something big behind you, it can cause problems. Also, sometimes the gameplay can actually be a bit too fast. I've had to go back by "grafitti spheres" numerous times because I keep going by them too fast.
But all other things aside, JET SET RADIO FUTURE is an impressive title to add to the somewhat mediocre Xbox lineup of games. While it's not without it's faults, JET SET RADIO FUTURE comes close to perfection. Kudos to Smilebit for making one of the better Xbox games to date.