Review by SBrainfreeze

"I'm the only one then?"

Please note that the above grade goes by gameplay, and does not average in graphics or sound. I felt that the quality of these two, though high, did not make the game much more enjoyable in the end.

I was extremely excited about this game, as a fan of skating games [really just Tony Hawk] and antisocial behavior games, such as Driver, Grand Theft Auto, and the like. And the use of cel-shading rather excited me as well. It's not as though I wasn't entertained by the game. I was. A little. But I can't agree with claims that this game is at all original, or even that it's so incredibly good at what it's doing.

Graphics- 9

You've heard enough about the graphics. They are indeed very good. The effect of cel-shading, specifically to create such stylized characters, works quite well. I imagine that RAM limitations probably don't allow everything to be done this way, as JGR, along with the other cel-shaded games I've seen only use this technology on the characters, but not the backgrounds.

Sound- 10

This is the game's highest point, in my opinion. I -liked- the music. The music, the DJ mixing, the pervasiveness of it all through the game... I even liked one of the SoA-tagged-on ''let's make this light-toned game dark and evil. like Gran Turismo, but on a smaller scale.'' tracks. The one I liked was Improvise, for those taking count.

But you've heard enough about how stylish the thing is already. And it is. I'd love to see more games with this sense of style. But then I haven't started panning yet....

Gameplay- 6

This is -not- creative. At all. In fact, it's the opposite of whatever creative is. Oldest formula in the book, kids. Find Point A-Z. That's it. That's what you do. I don't care how many coins-- er, cans, I'm sorry-- you pick up or whether you're evading the police [the originality status of evading arrest has dropped dramatically in recent years]. Half-circle motions? Come on, people. This is -not- original. Just slickly done.

That said, let's move on to the next point. A lack of originality does not hurt a game. I love Megaman sequels. Control.... yeah, I have issues with the overall feel of the game. It's slow. For those at home playing the game: Tunnel. Shibuya-cho. My god, it's intolerable. The dash is an ill-conceived button press that ought to be automatic, or at least work as soon as you push it. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the camera. The camera is just everywhere, and makes running around a bit confusing. There are a lot of available buttons on the pad. Camera centering and tagging did not have to be the same button. Then there's tricking and grinding. The trick system barely deserves mention. Auto tricks, maybe two to a character. Tricks just don't really exist. Then there's grinding. You can grind, automatically, on a lot of stuff. Rails, really. It's the quick way to move, but then you'll miss where you're going. One grind a character. Not much you can do here aside from look for routes around the level through grinds. Generally, there isn't much of a connection with what the character is doing. Get on the rail, ride it, then hop up in the air, pull some trick automatically. You don't feel like you're doing anything important. Running from the cops is little more than an annoyance and only forces you to stop and go somewhere on the [very small] stage every 30 seconds.

It's not that this is a bad game, however, I can find it little more than average, especially in light of the hype it's received. An Official DC Magazine review gave this game a perfect 10 in spite of the fact that they thought gameplay was a 9 and the control was an 8. Where did the 10's come from? Graphics and sound. This was hailed as the second coming of your preferred deity, but take away the nice graphics and sound, and you've really got a game that wouldn't have been noticed, and for pretty good reason. It's a rental game, at best maybe two rentals.

The reason I'm so hard on this game is that I know what it's like to pay 55 bucks or so on what literally everybody was saying was an incredible game and to be so remarkably disappointed by its sheer overpowering averageness. This is the best proof I can give you. I've bought 53 games in the last three or four years. I never buy games I don't end up really liking. I've only once or twice regretted a purchase, and even then I find good points and reasons to keep playing after a while and I eventually decide it was worth the buy. I've deliberated for a week over this game. It's going to Ebay tomorrow.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/26/00, Updated 11/26/00

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