It’s hard not to notice a game like Jet Set Radio HD, even on the jam-packed PAX East 2012 floor. Any time American hip hop, graf, and skate cultures are mashed up and filtered through a Japanese lens, it’s something that leaps from the monitor.
Jet Set Radio returns to the marketplace in the form of a HD remake that will grace PSN, XBLA, and PC with 720p visuals that move at a silky 60 frames per second. Simply put, the graphics are incredible. How many games released in 2000 look as fresh as this? Kudos to Smilebit, one of SEGA’s former in-house development teams, for the cel-shaded, stylized original that excellently hid polygonal flaws.
Controls are spot on. I was able to jump right in and spray and skate after a brief acclimation period with the Xbox 360 controller. And it felt great on a modern game controller, especially after using the Dreamcast’s tank of a controller for the past 13 years.
Jet Set Radio featured a soundtrack built from a slew of original and licensed music tracks, so SEGA has worked hard to gather all the parts necessary to recreate it here. SEGA heard your jeers, gamers, when it failed to lock down Crazy Taxi‘s licensed tracks, and as such, has cobbled together half of the music. Unfortunately, there have been some issues licensing tunes from defunct bands, so expect a shorter track number.
A SEGA rep revealed that the development team is currently working on getting the fan-created tags into the game, and that the contest that produced those new pieces was actually a front to make up for being unable to re-license some of the tags found in the original game. Yup, a few of those graf pieces were by a NYC tag legend, but SEGA couldn’t track him down to license his work.
That’s Jet Set Radio HD in a nutshell. Like many other games showcased at PAX East, Jet Set Radio HD has a vague “Summer 2012″ release window, so look for it…soon-ish.