- Platform PSVita
- Publisher Sega
- Developer Blit
- Release Date 21/11/2012
Jet Set Radio Vita Review
After a significant delay, Sega and Blit finally bring us the first game from the second wave of Dreamcast re-releases, Jet Set Radio, to the PlayStation Vita. It was a bold move to port the game to Sony’s handheld, and it comes with a brand spanking new touchy-feely controls you’d expect from a Vita title. So, having had a couple of extras months in development, is the Vita version of Jet Set Radio worth recommending above its home-console counterparts? Well, yes and no.
Content-wise, the Vita port of Jet Set Radio is identical to the release found on consoles; you’ll find the same base game, the same set of trophies and extra songs, too.
Jet Set Radio’s first impressions have and always will be its visuals. And it’s an absolute pleasure to report that the game has never looked better than it does on the Vita. The crisp OLED screen allows the cel-shaded goodness to shine like never before; the characters really pop out of the screen, so much so that it makes everything else in the game look a little drab and flat by comparison. Needless to say, Jet Set Radio is still a gorgeous game, sporting visuals that have only gotten better with age.
Content-wise, the Vita port of Jet Set Radio is identical to the release found on consoles; you’ll find the same base game, the same set of trophies and extra songs, too. The big addition here is the implementation of touch-based controls. From the hub menu, you can slide your finger left or right to move through options accordingly. This feels cool and natural; I’ve seriously never had this much fun navigating this game’s already awesome garage menu. Sadly, that’s where the good touchy stuff ends. Wherever else touch controls surface, they seem out of place or downright horrible. Rotating the camera can be done with the rear touch pad, but it’s so sensitive you’ll be glad you can turn it off, relegating camera control to the right stick instead.
Can’t Touch This
The main goal of Jet Set Radio is to tag areas marked with red arrows with your graffiti. When you reach an arrow, you must turn the analog stick in the direction the game commands. While this has worked for the game in the past, it feels less comfortable on the Vita’s smaller analog stick, and it’s much easier to make mistakes. Oh, and don’t even bother trying to use the touch screen to draw out the graffiti’s path, which is most certainly an option. It’s hideously unresponsive most of the time, registering your swipes as misses, even when you definitely get it right. And good luck trying to draw circles on there when the game asks you to; you’ll have more luck playing the game using your face.
The problems don’t end there, sadly. The legendary soundtrack sounds great through the Vita’s speakers, but there is a hint of audio clipping on occasion, which can be heard on certain parts of some songs. Normally, this kind of thing can be overlooked with only the smallest of complaints, but with a soundtrack as good as Jet Set Radio’s it’s simply unforgivable. Still, it won’t ruin the experience, but it certainly hurts one of the game’s higher points.
There are a few presentation issues to speak of as well. For some reason, the settings menu takes quite some time to load, which feels immensely out of place given how smoothly the game runs. Also, when switching to certain menus, such as the graffiti editor, the screen reverts to an SD resolution. Some in-game cutscenes feature brief texture clipping, too. I appreciate these are all problems found in the console ports, but the developers have had more than enough time to iron these bugs out.
If most of these issues aren’t enough to keep you away from the Vita version of Jet Set Radio, then you’re in for a real treat. The game is still worth purchasing on the handheld, even if you’ve already bought it on a home console. Simply put, Jet Set Radio turns out to be a great portable experience; the game was simply meant to be played on the Vita. There are some outstanding issues with the poor touch controls (though these are entirely optional), as well as some annoying sound and presentation issues, but despite lacking just one more layer of polish, the Vita port of Jet Set Radio is money well spent, especially for those looking for a truly eye-opening portable experience.
Hands Off The Artwork
Jet Set Radio on the Vita has its issues. Pointless touch controls, accompanied by some sound and presentation gaffes don't really take anything away from the experience, but an extra layer of polish could have made this port something special.