Review by GMitchell

"An innovative masterpiece that's riotous fun"

There has never been anything like it before, and aside from sequels, there probably won't be anything comparable made after it. Jet Grind Radio is breathtakingly new and fresh, gorgeous, fun, and in totality a landmark in gaming. Not to mention weird, in a cool and goofy way.

As a brief synopsis of what's the game's all about, you control a skater punk who rides around town on a pair of rocket-powered rollerblades spraypainting your gang's logo on designated billboards. You're being interfered with by rival gangs, hunted by various types of police troops, and need to find creative ways to get to certain marking spots which may not be immediately apparent. It's all done in 3d, with a gorgeous cartoony style known as Cell-Shading, and there are in-game maps that can be greatly beneficial in your tasks.

But enough on that - I'll cut right to the chase on why I love this game so much. There's just no feeling like pulling off a huge trick after being hunted by gun-toting police in Jet Grind Radio. Building up speed by sliding down a rail, taking to the air and spraypainting a quick billboard, spinning and turning as you careen over hapless riot-gear equipped police is just something that needs to be experienced to be believed. There's a certain grace and rhythm to the game that must be mastered to progress, but once you've got the proper skillz, you feel like you can do anything in the world. The feeling of freedom is complimented by the game's very artistic style - the whole game just screams freedom, right down to the player's ability to do what they will when they want and how they want... while still retaining some sense of rules and order - a monumental achievement seen ever so rarely.

Yes, there are some annoyances in the game, make no mistake. As with basically every 3d game I've ever played, camera issues do arise. Sometimes the camera will wind up facing your character, when of course you need to see what's ahead of you instead. There is a camera reset trigger, but sometimes the split second causes enough trouble that it doesn't help. There are some stages that at first seem nigh impossible, and which are incredibly frustrating until you've gotten the hang. Funny thing is, they're still fun all the way through.

The graphics, the control, the sound, the level design - Jet Grind Radio is, in a word, the bomb. Incredibly colorful, intriguingly architecturally designed, perfectly paced...the superlatives could go on and on.

Jet Grind Radio is positively one of the best games made in ages. It's the best not due to its perfection, but rather due to its lack of concern with being perfect, a total commitment to having fun. It's irreverent and free, light-hearted and goofy, smiling and laughing all the way.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/29/01, Updated 05/29/01

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