TOKYO - One of the coolest games at the Tokyo Game Show is undoubtedly Jet Set Radio for the Dreamcast. Our crew gave the game major playtime today and put together some impressions and media for you to check out.
Chris Johnston's impressions:
Ever since I first saw Jet Set Radio at last fall's TGS, I thought it was possibly the most visually impressive DC game yet. Why would I think that? Well, the whole combination of 2D and 3D just really looks good - the effect gives the game a very different and new look. The game itself is lots of fun too. I played through the first few tutorials in the game from the TGS. You start off mimicking the actions of a female character in the game. You're awarded points for your accuracy. The first two tutorials had you running down the street on inline skates and jumping onto a guardrail. But the game gets progressively more difficult, giving you other tasks, such as spray-painting graffiti on parked cars and walls. From the video we saw it looks as though later levels set police offers (also on inline skates) after you and your graffitizin' bad self. You control your speed with the right-shoulder button and use the analog to steer.
After going through the tutorial, I can only wonder exactly how the game will play once you're set free within the game world. But it's a very different concept that definitely will be copied by other developers (and already appears to have been - Sony's TVDJ uses a similar art style).
Jeff Gertsmann's impressions:
Sega's Jet Set Radio combines easy-to-learn gameplay with an unmatched amount of raw style. The resulting game is one of the most exciting pieces of software here at the Tokyo Game Show.
JSR puts you in the role of one of three different inline skaters-cum-taggers. You first go through a series of training exercises that teach you how to do things such as grind rails, properly jump, and tag walls. The main game is in a large, detailed urban environment. The object is to tag a group of designated walls, cars, and other surfaces with your trusty paint can. Standing in your way is the ever-ticking clock and a police force. The police aren't too fond of your rampant vandalism, so if they get ahold of you, the group will bust out their nightsticks and bust the stuffing out of you.
The graphical style of Jet Set Radio is simply amazing. While it's entirely rendered using polygonal models, the game looks almost hand-drawn. It's breathtakingly fresh and unlike anything else currently on the market, though Sony's upcoming game, TVDJ, bears a slightly similar look.
The gameplay is very easy to pick up. The training levels are perfect for teaching you the game's basic mechanics. While the game hasn't been mentioned for US release, we hope that Jet Set Radio will come to the States before too long, with its less-than-wholesome message of graffiti and police brutality intact.
James Mielke's impressions:
Many people on hand are calling this the game of the show. The only other candidate seems to be Phantasy Star Online, as both are graphically stunning and apparently gameplay-rich, and they appear to be some of the coolest games yet known to man. JSR combines jet-skate Tony Hawkery with Crazy Taxi speed and amazing 3D environments, while adding better-than-Fear Effect cartoon-style graphics. You run from the oppressive society enforcement that would stop you from grinding all over the place and tagging (with virtual spray paint) cars and buildings along the way. There is no describing how cool the game looks in person. And hands-on play by various members of the videogames.com/EGM faction reveal that it plays as good as it looks.