Jet Set Radio Future provides an audio-visual experience unlike any other.

User Rating: 8.5 | Jet Set Radio Future XBOX
Jet Set Radio Future is the epitome of cool. Games as hip as this don't come along very often and it is Future's happening marriage of graphics, gameplay and music that ultimately proves to be so sublime that it raises the audio-visual expectations for videogames. You'll grind and tag your way through Tokyo in an effort to stick it to the man as hapless civilians run out of your way and overly eclectic music booms through your speakers. If you ever thought you knew cool than you haven't played Jet Set Radio Future before.

A stiff suit has taken over the police force and his corporation doesn't have the best interests of the streets in mind. DJ Professor K and his underground radio station, Jet Set Radio, call to arms the rudies, the street-smart youth out to paint the walls of the establishment through art and rebellion in an effort to protect the streets. The gang you jump in with are the GG's, starting with three members, though as you play through the story you can recruit even more characters easily bringing your total of selectable characters up to a dozen.

It's hard to describe just what kind of game Jet Set Radio Future is. At first it may seem like a game where you merely skate and pull off graffiti, but the tricks you perform are actually essential to proceeding through the game. The tricks are easy to pull off and only require a bit of timing to be done correctly, and grinding is an absolute cinch but there's no real genre that this game can belong to, it merely stands as a separate entity and it's hard really to compare it to anything else. You'll grind your way across urban areas where people shop, through highways, over the tops of skyscrapers, through sewers and run-down ghettos. All the while you'll be covering the walls in paint, racing rival gangs and facing down the police.

The levels are impeccably designed with secrets hidden throughout all of them. There's never any design overkill, though falling in certain sections will force you to start over at the bottom and move up again, but it never becomes trial and error and that's where Future succeeds. Future is a masterpiece of design. It's accessible but rewards skillful play, gives you a host of cool characters to choose from and a ton of great graffiti to use (or to create your own abominations for use in the game).

Future's graphics are really the best use of cel-shading in a videogame ever with giant buildings, creative arenas, slick characters and extremely stylized world really amount to make other games that use cel-shading seem lazy by comparison. The music itself is so over the top and eclectic with artists like the Latch Brothers on hand that you can't help but rock back and forth while you play.

Jet Set Radio Future is one of the must-have games in the Xbox library. Its unmatched levels of cool mixed in with the unmatched audio-visual experience really make for a game that proves style is as important as substance, and this game has both in spades.