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Jet Set Radio

July 6th, 2019

I just finished Jet Grind Radio, a wonderful game originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000. The game revolves around a gang of skaters based on the city of Tokyo-to, the protagonists are the GG's, based on Shibuya, their regular lives just go on them running from the police and battling through graffiti for more territory; that is until a powerful man wants to use his money to control the entire world with the help of a "magical" vinyl disc.

It takes a lot of inspiration from the United States culture and it meshes it wonderfully with the Japanese culture, having some stages based on that of New York, and the rest on popular parts of Tokyo like Shibuya.

Visually it has dated pretty well, I like to attribute that to the fact that it doesn't want to be realistic, it wants to differentiate from the rest and it does that through the use of the cell shading, that gives the game a feeling similar to that of comics, and it makes it look like its really on another plane. For the characters, the game goes in a different direction for the villains, making them pretty stylized and giving each one of them a true personality through their design; the main gang even when it goes on a more mainstream style achieves the same effect, giving these characters a personality, each one of them radically different, and each one based on a diferent fashion trend.

Throughout the story, a bunch of characters with different stats join the GG's, each one of them with amazing designs, not much personality, however, the game centers on gameplay, which I can say it's pretty difficult, sometimes you feel like it's terribly difficult to jump on the ramps or even gaining speed or run from the enemies who get harder and harder to avoid, it's a perfect example of the thing some like to call the SEGA Learning Curve which some may argue that makes the game more engaging, and it really does, rewarding you more and more for making longer and more complicated tricks and breaking your past records, or even through ratings at the end of every stage that I think are metered on time and score.

The character stats don't make sense at first, but even if I still don't get them, I guess I can feel them. After a small but difficult main story you still have plenty to do through the streets of Tokyo-to and the streets of Grind City because there are tons of collectibles and challenges to complete, that just like the main story stages, are about making graffiti, collecting points, and races between the members of the GG's. The challenges keep the game fresh and offer pretty different experiences to each user. Going back to gameplay, the controls are not difficult to learn, I would say they're hard to master, sadly, the way they're implemented on the game is weird cause sometimes it feels like you're not in control of the character, but once you get it, it really becomes easy.

Posted on Videogames

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