Nostalgia does not a game make. Nostalgia is the stuff of memories, the stuff of impressions often from a time where taste is unrefined and based on “video games” versus reality (usually video games win, hopefully). Jet Set Radio feels really old. It’s rife with this strange mix of a great gameplay idea, nifty characters and a zany environment but it’s all bogged down with bad level design and flow. By no means is it “bad”, but it’s certainly not up to today’s standards of platforming games, and the proof is in a classic Xbox game: Jet Set Radio Future. There’s a reason they made it the same game but better.
For those of you out of the SEGA-centric loop, Jet Set Radio is an HD remake of the Dreamcast release of Jet Set Radio, a 3D action platformer involving crazy Japanese youth, graffiti and magnetized roller blades. The theme of a group of graffiti-wielding roller blade punks combattin an oppressive, insane private authority muscling in on the town of Tokyo-to (not to be confused with Tokyo) is the setup for Jet Set Radio. Players select from different characters from a group of rudies (the aforementioned punks) called the GGs. Tokyo-to is divided into three major areas each with three sub-areas where players must complete various story challenges to unlock more characters and get to the bottom of the recent craziness in the city. The idea works. It’s just the rest of the game that’s hit and miss.