E3 2001: Jet Set Radio Future Impressions

Sega displays the Xbox sequel to Jet Grind Radio in video form.

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Though we were really hoping to be able to play it firsthand, Sega had Jet Set Radio Future--the Xbox sequel to SmileBit's popular Dreamcast game--prominently displayed in video form in its private booth at this year's E3. The game looks great: The Xbox has apparently been very good to the franchise, letting its characters, environments, and textures flourish, in terms of depth and detail. The characters have been embellished by a host of effects: Jagged speed-lines now color their movements, and full-screen motion blurs are used to emphasize particularly intense moments. And the particle effects used in the grinds have been sufficiently altered, looking sharper and fuller. This time, also, everything in the world is 3D--everything from the buildings to the bike racks to the pedestrians. While the improvement is all but cosmetic at this point, this sort of development can only lead to more interactive stages when the game becomes playable.

Great new looks aside, though, the stage featured in the loop we saw was virtually identical to the first stage in Jet Grind Radio. The bus depot was present, as were the streetside rails, and if it weren't for the redesigned characters and full-bodied level geometry, you'd swear you were looking at Jet Grind Radio.

The altered character designs were pleasing to behold. Beat, the game's implicit protagonist, looks just like he did before; he's just wearing a different shirt this time around. Gum, your first companion in the original game, is now wearing a tan dress and looks a bit more mature than she did before. The third character that was displayed may have been a redesigned version of Tab; he wore a tall, tublike cap with a baseball brim, and his clothes were his characteristic light blue shade.

The final game is supposed to improve upon the original in many ways. The trick system will supposedly be beefed up, allowing for multiplayer combos and gravity-defying grinds. Both cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes will exist in the game, though they haven't been discussed in any detail as of yet.

Jet Set Radio Future is due out shortly after the Xbox launch. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage very, very soon.

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