Saturday, April 14, 2012

Save the Future

Jet Set Radio Future

- Next Generation-
The year was meant to be 2001, when the Xbox was released. Thanks to delays, the game was shipped early 2002. JSRF received the following: positive reviews, character design, and an excellent soundtrack. But its sales record missed its mark, and it ended up being a gaming treasure. Negative stuff aside, JSRF paved the way for JSR to make its mark on whole new territory. But there was to be an online multiplayer mode, sadly due to budget concerns it never made it. Plus the dev team was struggling with a pretty tough schedule at the time. It was a promising start for Microsoft’s console (even deemed as the 2nd Dreamcast, because of certain influences that SEGA left its mark behind).

-Block Ridin-
Given the nature of being a more comprehensive title than the original. Every area could be trekked in a split-second, gaining more speed, and more flexible when it came to an open map for exploration. Another loved part of the series was the music, which was kept intact and just as addictive like the original game. But things were a bit different…

-Who’s the new guy?-
Players are introduced to the game through Yo-yo, but in the first game we were Beat. Turns out Corn (Coin – the guy who Cube and Combo tried to save) makes an entrance (er wait he’s an android). So both he, and Gum give the player a mini-tutorial on how to get started. (And find out that another robot can be an alternative guide later on) . Another shift in gears with JSRF is the character design. The entire gang, has been given a complete overhaul. Most of the gang, friend or enemies are now much older. (Especially the female characters, given a bit more curves) Literally the in-game engine could deliver even more expressions and active motions wherever you left a mark behind. (Speaking of different characters, the old lead of the police force is long retired, now a new guy named Hayashi who is a bit berserk has his eyes set on the Rudies.)

-Look at you-
By far the most innovative part about the new look is the in-game engine, it’s even sharper and can show a resolution that the Dreamcast wasn’t capable of producing. Showing off that the Xbox was capable of producing a solid game, compared to its competition Sony’s PS2. Just like the original Jet Set Radio, there were very few games like it in the market. (Compared to the present, where there are various titles using a cel-shaded based game engine.)

Rhythm of the Night -
Another huge shift in gears was the soundtrack. Hideki Naganuma takes the helm of mixing familiar tunes from the original game. And adding a few more songs, that will keep you listening for a while. However the OST was expanded this time around, over 30 tracks complete the solid soundtrack. There is a song for every mood, feeling, or expression. Some critics might even say that it rivals JSR’s tunes to a heartbeat.
**I am also very glad that they kept the “live DJ” mix setting, where a played track will overlap with another. And it keeps the momentum by surprising players wherever they go within the game. If there is a chance for another JSR title, I hope they bring back that style of music that kept us going all these years. Because music is the life stream of this series, and can’t live without it.

By far the biggest change within JSRF, is the control scheme. No longer are we dependent on moving towards a piece of graffiti, but we can get locked on towards a targeted one instead. (Think of It as Panzer Dragoon where its reticle locks-on to a nearby enemy.) Plus moving backwards is a lot simpler; just press the “Y” button. There is also a boost option, once you collect more than 10 spray cans, just hit “B” and off you go. (It comes in handy, especially when you race fellow rivals). And the addition of the right control stick, being used as a first person camera. Another new feature is the ability of using a “hand plant” maneuver when you get close to a half pipe, you can hang for a few seconds and score extra points. Plus there are hidden cassette tapes hidden in each area, find them all and score some bonus graffiti tags.

-Concept of Love-
And here we come to the end of the Jet Set Radio saga. However its not the end, there are rumors of another chapter in the works (if SEGA can battle through the current economic downturn). Jet Set Radio HD is coming to the PS3, 360 and PC, (tablets aren’t far off either). Sadly the team that created this series is now under a new title

Like DJ Professor K would say “Its not the end, but a whole new spin!”

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