Jet Set Radio - overrated?

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killbot
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Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by killbot » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:51 pm

I've been playing this for a while and while it's fun, I do find it fails to live up to its sky-high reputation.

The first issue is the fact that you're on skates, which means that when you start moving it takes forever for you to build up momentum. Fine, except that touching anything, no matter how small, stops you dead. This means that what could have been an amazingly flowing urban adventure, a sort of proto-Assassin's Creed, ends up as a stop-starty nightmare.

Then there's the camera. Despite being released several years after Mario 64 introduced the idea of having a large degree of control over the camera in 3D games, Jet Set Radio offers you two options - either the angle the game wants to show you (useless most of the time) or you can snap the camera back behind you using the left shoulder button. Half the time, the latter doesn't seem to work and even when it does it's still not always the best possible angle. With danger coming from anywhere in a 360-degree radius, it's annoying that you can't deploy the camera where you want it.

Another issue with the controls is how unforgiving they are. Snapping onto a rail to grind it demands pixel-perfect landing. One pixel too far either way and you'll sail past your target, often landing on a completely different level and having to climb your way back up again. With tight time limits, this is a killer. And there's no checkpoints - you mess up, you go back and have to do everything again. This is especially annoying on the chase levels - spend several minutes staying ahead of your opponent only to miss the last jump by a millimetre due to the woolly jump controls and it's back to square one with you.

I do like it - it's a uniquely stylish game with some excellent graphics and music and when you're not being left frustrated by the above issues the game is genuine fun. But I'm not sure I agree with its status as an all-time classic.

Any thoughts?
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Joey
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by Joey » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:29 pm

I wouldn't say overrated, more that the mechanics of the game haven't ages so well.

I certainly think its an iconic game, iconic of the Dreamcast and SEGA at the time. I think you have to consider the progression of game development in the 13 odd years since the game's release, and given the fidelity of control and mechanics now, allow it a little pass for what it was trying to accomplish at the time.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by killbot » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:37 pm

Joey wrote:I wouldn't say overrated, more that the mechanics of the game haven't ages so well.

I certainly think its an iconic game, iconic of the Dreamcast and SEGA at the time. I think you have to consider the progression of game development in the 13 odd years since the game's release, and given the fidelity of control and mechanics now, allow it a little pass for what it was trying to accomplish at the time.
I dunno. I just think that the camera issues were pretty unforgivable given that Mario 64 had already solved the problem of camera control in a 3D space pretty well. As for the fluidity of the controls, Sonic Adventure was much smoother in that regard so I don't buy that its problems are all a result of the era that produced it. You make some interesting points though, it certainly is an iconic game and given the brilliance of the (then) unique art-style I can see why a lot of critics overlooked its flaws.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by ShadowMan » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:59 am

The camera is indeed annoying in the DC version, its somewhat fixed on the HD ports thanks to being able to move the camera freely with the right stick. Still not perfect but I rarely have a problem with the camera in the HD versions bar a couple of area's where it doesn't comply.

Controls wise I really don't have a problem with them, I've been playing the game on and off for years and most recently played through all the HD updates of it and the only issue I really have with the game is sometimes when jumping off a rail I tend to fly off to the left rather than straight ahead but that was down to both a crap pad (on my 360) and me doing the jump wrong (Vita). Otherwise I can skate around all the levels perfectly and pull off the infinite grinds where needed for big points. Granted I can see how they are not that friendly to a newcomer to the game, they do take a time to get the feel down perfectly before the game becomes second nature but I personally don't think they are that bad but that's just my opinion.

The game didn't really need checkpoints in my opinion, the levels are fairly short and its just a matter of learning the best way of tackling them (go after the big grafitti/ground grafitti first) and you should have no problem clearing any of the levels or even Jet Ranking them all. But again I've played the game a fair bit and know the game like the back of my hand so I don't really have problems with the difficulty, controls etc. so that's probably a moot point!
Race levels suck, no question about it. Its very easy to screw up a couple of them and doom yourself in the first few seconds having to start over. But the devs totally forgot to put in a restart challenge option so your only option is to quit to garage and start again :evil: Again the best way to do the races is to learn the shortcuts, this makes the story based ones a total pushover, and makes the optional ones possible to Jet Rank.

Anyway, that's just my take on things. I don't personally think its overrated, for me thanks to the HD releases it actually plays better now than it did back in the day (mostly thanks to the improved camera control)
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by Roo » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:55 am

Joey wrote:I wouldn't say overrated, more that the mechanics of the game haven't ages so well.

I certainly think its an iconic game, iconic of the Dreamcast and SEGA at the time. I think you have to consider the progression of game development in the 13 odd years since the game's release, and given the fidelity of control and mechanics now, allow it a little pass for what it was trying to accomplish at the time.
Bang on with how I feel. To add to that, I found it much more difficult to play on XBLA a couple of months ago than I did when I picked up a Dreamcast and a copy of JSR cheap in 2002. The control was the only thing that held me back from enjoying the HD version fully - I never truly got used to them - but otherwise I feel that it holds up amazingly well.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by samhain81 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:29 am

Let me guess - you've only played the re-release, and never played it when it was originally released

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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by DreamcastRIP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:09 pm

killbot wrote:... Any thoughts?
When you stop cherry picking classics off non-Nintendo platforms to criticise and start slating classic games from Ninty then I'll take you more seriously. That's my thought, thank you for asking.

That's your thought... maybe would have been better to leave that thought in your head though??! It is a perfectly valid subject - JSR is overrated :wink:
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by QuantumCrayons » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:35 pm

DreamcastRIP wrote: When you stop cherry picking classics off non-Nintendo platforms to criticise and start slating classic games from Ninty then I'll take you more seriously. That's my thought, thank you for asking.
Wee bit harsh, no? He's said he likes the game, but there are flaws; not quite slating. It's a far sight more difficult to pick out flaws in a game you thoroughly enjoy than games you're being newly introduced to recently. For example, I've games in my collection that are objectively bad, but since I've played them since I was wee, I can't quite bring myself to analyse :P

I found the original JSR to be a little clunky, but not as bad as you're stating; saying that, it was a short play session, not more than half an hour, so I might not have come across the problems if they're there.

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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by Sel Feena » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:38 pm

Overrated != bad, though. There's a difference between mindless slating and open admission of a game's faults. Killbot's been pretty clear that he's enjoying the game, but there are still niggles that mar the experience. Just as any fans of the modern Ninja Gaiden games would be forced to admit the camera in that game is just horrendously poor.

EDIT: Ninja'd.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by DreamcastRIP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:44 pm

QuantumCrayons wrote:
DreamcastRIP wrote: When you stop cherry picking classics off non-Nintendo platforms to criticise and start slating classic games from Ninty then I'll take you more seriously. That's my thought, thank you for asking.
Wee bit harsh, no?
Perhaps!
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by killbot » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:21 pm

QuantumCrayons wrote:
DreamcastRIP wrote: When you stop cherry picking classics off non-Nintendo platforms to criticise and start slating classic games from Ninty then I'll take you more seriously. That's my thought, thank you for asking.
Wee bit harsh, no? He's said he likes the game, but there are flaws; not quite slating. It's a far sight more difficult to pick out flaws in a game you thoroughly enjoy than games you're being newly introduced to recently. For example, I've games in my collection that are objectively bad, but since I've played them since I was wee, I can't quite bring myself to analyse :P

I found the original JSR to be a little clunky, but not as bad as you're stating; saying that, it was a short play session, not more than half an hour, so I might not have come across the problems if they're there.
Ah, don't worry. I don't pay any attention to him any more anyway. Besides, I would love to talk about how much I hate a Nintendo game, but they're all perfect! ;)

No, seriously there are some Nintendo games I don't rate highly. Metroid II is a big one - a pretty awful game, IMO. And I believe I'm on record as saying I think Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the biggest disappointments of this gen for me - I played it after Last Story and Pandora's Tower and didn't like it as much as either of those.
Last edited by killbot on Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by DreamcastRIP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:25 pm

killbot wrote:
QuantumCrayons wrote:
DreamcastRIP wrote: When you stop cherry picking classics off non-Nintendo platforms to criticise and start slating classic games from Ninty then I'll take you more seriously. That's my thought, thank you for asking.
Wee bit harsh, no? He's said he likes the game, but there are flaws; not quite slating. It's a far sight more difficult to pick out flaws in a game you thoroughly enjoy than games you're being newly introduced to recently. For example, I've games in my collection that are objectively bad, but since I've played them since I was wee, I can't quite bring myself to analyse :P

I found the original JSR to be a little clunky, but not as bad as you're stating; saying that, it was a short play session, not more than half an hour, so I might not have come across the problems if they're there.
Ah, don't worry. I don't pay any attention to him any more anyway. Besides, I would love to talk about how much I hate a Nintendo game, but they're all perfect! ;)
:lol:
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by Rayne » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:19 pm

What does it matter if he didn't play it on release? He recognises it has a legacy, that's no excuse for a crap control scheme.

I got Jet Set Radio Future with my Xbox and I hold it in the highest regard, I think it's a brilliant brilliant game. The DC original I really don't see the fuss about, for all the reasons Killbot mentions.
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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by HEAVYface » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:16 pm

ahhh JSR - conceptually pure, aesthetically immense, effortlessly cool and frustratingly uncontrollable.

i sunk many hours back into the original DC version and at no point did i feel confident in the controls. i loved the game however....true victory for style over substance.

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Re: Jet Set Radio - overrated?

Post by Mootown » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:52 pm

Completed both back in the day - much prefer JSR Future - it just felt more epic and refined to me. It's the reason I bought an Xbox in the first place..

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