Event Coverage

April 16, 2012

PAX East 2012: Jet Set Radio HD Hands-on


Sega had an impressive set up at this years PAX East convention in Boston, and I was lucky enough to hang out with the Brand Manager for Jet Set Radio and play the new HD version of the game that will be dropping this summer on Xbox Live, the Playstation Network and on PC as well. For those of you unfamiliar with Jet Set Radio HD it is a remastered version of the hit Sega Dreamcast game Jet Grind Radio, which didn’t have the original Japanese name Jet Set due to some trademark issues.

The premise of the game is that you are in futuristic Tokyo, and you play as someone apart of a group/gang as you roller-blade and spray paint over other gang tags for control of the many districts of Tokyo. A mega corporate enterprise known as the Rokkaku Group has also taken over the many districts and to add to the story their leader is also the mayor of Tokyo. It is oppressing the people, taking away freedom of speech and expression, which leads to the spray paint and tagging of buildings, vehicles and police officers themselves.

The colors are more vibrant this time around.

I got to test out a level on the Xbox 360 and one of the key features added into the game that it was missing in it’s original release is a free camera control, thanks to the second analog stick you can pan the camera around your character as you are skating which makes the accuracy of tagging and avoiding police (as well as oncoming traffic) a lot easier. Previously due to the Dreamcast’s lack of a second analog stick you would have to use the action button to reset the camera which made the gameplay suffer a good amount, but now it’s nearly perfect. Now that Jet Set Radio is getting the HD treatment it rightfully deserves, not only are the tags in the game more vibrant and clearer than ever but the environments as a whole look much sharper and have a crisp definition to all the lines as the game is a cell shaded style of graphics.

Another thing I learned about and noticed while playing the game is that it stays true to the original game, Sega was able to get the rights to more than 70% of the original soundtrack for the game as well as added in some new songs too. For those of you who didn’t know Sega held a contest in the last year where fans of the game could create and submit their own graffiti designs and in a competition format the top eighteen best voted designs were actually put into the game. Which is really cool and also shows that Sega is giving back to the community that have loved and patiently awaited a true high definition version of this game.

One of the few instances where you can tag while skating.

Some minor things I noticed that could actually hurt the game was that jumping, at times I felt like you either couldn’t get a good enough jump to make it up to ledges where you would have to tag over rival gangs or the jump would end up being too powerful and would cause you to overshoot where you wanted to land. Another thing I should note is that it could just be the way the button layout was on the controller but having to use a button to skate did make things difficult since it was right next to the tag button and at times I couldn’t get my character to tag while skating. I should note that some points in the game you can tag while skating by things as well as standing still to do analog stick motions that are displayed on the screen to completely larger tagged spots.

All things aside though, Jet Set Radio is going to be a must have game this Summer, as now a new generation of gamers can experience a “cult” classic game as well those of us who grew up playing the game who want that nostalgic feeling of playing this game on a new platform with updated graphics. Be sure to check back here at ThoseGamingNerds as we bring you more news and coverage leading up to the release of Jet Set Radio later on this Summer.



About the Author

Owner of ThoseGamingNerds, I've been in the gaming journalism scene now for 7 years and other than that it's all comic books and movies for me.