Review by PUhler
"It may be the slickest game of all time, but that doesn't save it..."
You're probably looking at my score and wondering ''A seven? Pat only gives popular games a really low or really high score!'' Well, you'd be sorta right; I do generally hand out scores at the bottom or top of their respected spectrums for 'popular' games. I'm torn on Jet Grind Radio though; there are so many things right with it, but too many visible flaws for me to give it a high score.
''One of the best looking videogames of all time''
That about sums up my thoughts on JGR's visuals. Smilebit incorporated a technique called cel-shading, which means they took your average ugly polygons, but modeled them to look like a animation cel from a cartoon. What this means is that you get ultra-slick, cartoony visuals which actually harken back to the old days of 2-D gaming goodness.
The characters themselves all are incredibly stylish; each one has a totally different look and attitude to them. The only problem is I'm annoyed by the fact they're always dancing, but I really can't consider that a flaw...
The only flaw I can find graphically is the simple fact that sometimes when there's too much going on at one time, JGR will slowdown. It's easily overlooked though, and doesn't take away from the fact that JGR has some of the most drool-inducing graphics ever found in a videogame.
''It be funky fresh!''
Well, I really have no idea what I meant with that above quote, but I guess it's just me trying to say that JGR easily has one of the best and most diverse soundtracks in the history of gaming; a pleasing mixture of J-Pop, techno, dance, rock and whatever else you can imagine. I can't say I'd be a fan of any of these songs out of the context of playing JGR, but the music is all quite a treat for the ears when playing it.
There's only one thing about the soundtrack that irks me, and that's the inclusion of Rob Zombie's ''Dragula'', a terrible song that is totally unfitting for this type of game. I can't believe Sega opted to throw him in JGR (hasn't he been on every videogame soundtrack since Twisted Metal 2?), but they have, and thankfully there's a feature to turn the music down, otherwise it'd be pretty grating...
''SPRAY PAINT THE WALLS!''
Gameplay is where Jet Grind Radio falters. The whole point of JGR is to tag (spray-paint) various different objects, be it a car or a city building, all while running from the cops and avoiding other things which will be detrimental to your mission of expressing your creativity.
Of course you have a pair of some uber-futuristic inline skates at your disposal, and JGR turns into a real fun time; when you first try it, you'll guaranteed love it. JGR starts to lose it's luster after awhile though, mostly due to the fact that the simplicity of the gameplay, while also part of the games charm, beats on the replay value like a red-headed step-child.
Oh sure, at first it seems very cool; tagging, running from the cops, doing all kinds of crazy flips and grinds, but the fun wears off quick. One of the reasons is because all tricks are performed automatically; sure, it makes things very easy to step into, because all you have to worry about is your jump, tag&camera, and speed-up buttons, but it ends up hurting replay value because it limits your combo ability.
I guess I'm being hypocritical, because I like the way Smilebit handled the controls, but the fun of tagging and running away from the cops wears off vry quickly, so basically the fun from JGR is derived from doing outrageous combos in the massive cities. Thanks to the limits of the control scheme, however, the trick hunting becomes less and less fun, bcause you'll be doing pretty much the same moves evey time. It's too bad, because JGR came up huge in pretty much every other category.
''An excellent rental...''
JGR is a superb choice for a rental, but I wouldn't recommend a buy. Don't get me wrong, JGR is indeed a gorgeous game, with a stupendous soundtrack, and has solid controls, but the limits of the gameplay are simply too constricting for me to recommend anything but a rental.
Pat really wishes he could 'tag' Cube... mehehehe...
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/27/01, Updated 01/27/01
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