Jet Set Radio HD Review
Remember when games were fun? Remember when you didn’t need to destroy the Eiffel Tower to make something exciting? Remember Jet Set Radio?
Of course we can reminisce all we like, but as you’ll find out in our Jet Set Radio HD review, if a game was great then in all likelihood it’ll still be great years down the line.
The trick is knowing the difference between classic gameplay and a rose-tinted dream of days gone by.
So it helps that Jet Set Radio is still an extremely enjoyable experience. Sega’s combination of quirky characters, catchy tunes and bright visuals hasn’t dulled at all over the years and is still as playable now as it was then.
For those who don’t remember the glory days of Dreamcast gaming, Jet Set Radio still remains one of Sega’s most popular franchises, sitting alongside Shenmue and Panzer Dragoon as games in desperate need of a sequel.
But what makes Jet Set Radio so important? Well, at the time it was fresh – it provided a whole new type of gameplay, utilised a then new cel-shading engine and pumped in a mixture of noise and colour rarely seen in videogames these days.
See Jet Set Radio HD in action.
Jet Set Radio HD is largely unchanged, which is as much a blessing as a curse. Can we praise a game for being exactly the same? Should we?
Turns out we can.
This is mostly thanks to the work done on Jet Set Radio HD’s fantastic high-def conversion, touting widescreen HD-tele compatibility, higher-res UI elements and spruced up textures. It helps, too, that Jet Set Radio’s unique cel-shading style keeps it looking fresh, even after all these years.
If you recall the Dreamcast original, however, you’ll likely remember its awkward camera. Mercifully – with the addition of a second analogue stick – those worries are long gone.
This is perhaps the most important new feature of Jet Set Radio HD, resolving those frustrating rotating camera issues of the original in favour of something more fitting for a game all about movement and style.
Admittedly character control can still feel a little clunky, which was always going to be a problem for a 12 year-old game, but get back into the groove, however, relearn the tools Jet Set Radio provides and you’ll soon be tearing up Shibuya-cho once again.
Fans will already know the feeling of a perfect extra large tag.
Best of all – and this is no understatement – is the full inclusion of the original soundtrack. While it encapsulated a lot of the music culture of Japan at the time, it still remains one of the most inventive and original setilsts for a videogame yet.
It’s impossible not to enjoy a game when the likes of ‘Bout The City, Sweet Soul Brother or Let Mom Sleep are blaring out alongside the gorgeous cartoon visuals.
It’s a collection of songs that’ll be bouncing around your head for weeks after hearing them again, especially Humming The Bassline – which you’ll recognise from the character select screen.
In other words: Jet Set Radio is back. Everything that made it a classic remains: the sounds, the visuals, the characters – it’s all here, and now in HD.
Existing fans perhaps won’t have that sense of originality they had when they first played it all those years ago, but nostalgia is a powerful feeling. For everyone else, however, it’s every bit as fresh and playable as it was way back when, and there’s little more praise to offer than that.
With a fantastic HD conversion, almost every tune from the superb original soundtrack and oodles of intriguing bonus videos with developer commentary, this is perhaps Sega’s greatest HD remake yet.
Now we just wait for Shenmue HD…