This took me a little longer than I would’ve liked, but my Jet Set Radio HD review is up. You can read it over at TSSZ, but here’s a taste:
When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities shared between Jet Set Radio and the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. Both had unique graphical styles, incredible soundtracks, were heavily focused on gameplay through momentum, and were in tune with a lot of things that were “cool” in their era. But for however important and iconic the original Sonic the Hedgehog was to Sega, I think it is important to recognize that it was also not a stellar game. Like the first game in many franchises, Sonic 1 was an experiment of sorts. Sonic Team had all of the broad strokes down, but the game they ended up with was, in retrospect, kind of clunky and weird. But that’s okay, because as with other game franchises that go through this, future sequels refined that base and made it considerably more fun and less frustrating. And much like that first Sonic game, Jet Set Radio is equal parts unwieldy and iconic.
That’s not to say this version is all bad, though – the Dreamcast controller only had one analog stick, meaning the only way to adjust the camera in the original Jet Set Radio was to re-center it using the left trigger. Incidentally, the left trigger was also used for spraying graffiti, meaning in heated scenarios where you have to tag lots of graffiti really quickly, you were also constantly re-centering the camera at the same time. Jet Set Radio HD gives you a number of much-needed options for disabling some or all of the original game’s most disorienting camera features, in addition to finally allowing you adjust your view manually with the right analog stick. By themselves, these new camera options come pretty close to making up for the graphics and sound issues seen in the rest of the port.
What graphics and sound issues do I mean? You’ll have to read the full review to find out.