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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

Preview:
Jet Set Radio Future

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Due for Xbox Winter 2001

 

Blur02.jpg (5208 bytes)The genre-busting Jet Grind Radio brought an innovative look and refreshing gameplay to the industry. The cel-shaded style of graphics, which made the game look like a cartoon, are now ubiquitous, showing up on titles ranging from Fur Fighters 2 to Cel Damage to Johnny Drama. Indeed, now that we’ve somewhat wrangled the beast of photorealism in game graphics, we’re seeking ways to create non-photorealistic visuals, and Sega did it extremely well with JGR.

Air03.jpg (5550 bytes)Not only was JGR a revolutionary game as far as graphics technology goes, but it was just damn fun. The sequel, Jet Set Radio Future, scheduled to premier on the Xbox this Fall, looks to make the same kinds of strides, both technically and with regards to gameplay. JSRF (as the game will most likely be known) follows the same basic structure of its forerunner – you play a futuristic character who is involved in a gang of graffitti artists cum extreme inline skaters, and your main goal is to take over rival gangs’ territory while avoiding the authorities.

Stage03.jpg (7011 bytes)The graphics are the same blend of cel-shaded characters and 3D backgrounds, but they have been given some serious enhancements. The most noticeable differences are the amazing camera effects. When speeding up a handrail your skater blurs, as if in a hyper-stylized Anime film. The speedblurs dovetail nicely with what is being called the "stretch effect," where the screen seems to stretch and then bounce back as your skater speeds away. These effects give the game a visual punch not unlike seeing The Matrix for the first time – just when you thought you knew all the joy your eyes could give you, JSRF makes you see brand new things.

Grind03.jpg (7573 bytes)The gameplay has been enhanced through improvements to the trick and stunt system. In JGR, your skater was somewhat static, and tricks were accomplished by simply pushing a button combo. The button combo didn’t necessarily determine which trick you would do, but that you would do one. Now you have much greater control over which tricks are executed, a much larger repertoire of tricks, and the ability to link together multi-trick combos both in the air and while grinding.

Stage04.jpg (7889 bytes)It looks like JSRF will be a huge title on the Xbox, and will hopefully introduce a whole lot more gamers to the glory of the Jet Set franchise. This is the kind of game that can be a big hit, with characters and elements that will create a real fondness in gamers’ hearts. Expect another great soundtrack to compliment the game as well, although details are sketchy about that. The only drawback to JSRF is the fact that details are still unavailable regarding the presence of a multi-player mode, although a Sega rep told us that multi-player is a possibility. With a game that so obviously begs for a multi-player mode, it would be a crime not to include it, much more of a crime than tagging a few walls in this gamer’s opinion.

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Shawn Rider

 

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