As I started work, got money of my own my history with gaming gets a tad cloudy. I think the very first videogame system I obtained from my own hard-earned cash was the original Sony PlayStation. I saved up to afford it and even remember buying a walkthrough guide to Resident Evil 2 in the weeks leading up to getting the system. To say I was excited was an understatement. For a long time the PlayStation was my only system (I think I got a Gameboy somewhere along the line but my interest in that was limited to simply playing and completing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening).
I played a lot of games on it and recall a firm favourite was Tekken 3 which I enjoyed endless nights playing against a friend and well, those bouts were legendary! Some of the best games on the system for me were of course, the first Metal Gear Solid and also I’d say Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (a series I really wish would come back). I also think Gran Turismo was a particular highlight.
Following the advent of PlayStation that made gaming much more of a mainstream hobby, I did get hold of more systems, firstly the Sega Dreamcast, which I’d say pioneered the online gaming revolution we take for granted these days and was seriously ahead of it’s time. The Dreamcast I’d say had one of the strongest games catalogues around with such gems as Jet Set Radio, Virtua Tennis, Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive 2 and Powerstone as well as many more. It was a short-lived system and really deserved to be more successful – but as at the time the PlayStation 2 had just been released, Sega’s final console didn’t stand a chance. It was around this time I also got a PS2 and a little later an Xbox.
The PS2 was of course my gaming system of choice for a good while but I did like my Xbox too even if the advent of Microsoft didn’t really hit it’s stride until the Xbox 360 came out. During this era I also managed to get a Nintendo Gamecube which I think back to fondly and well, it had Super Mario Sunshine and Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on it, but as with Nintendo consoles in the post-PlayStation era the only decent games were Nintendo produced (mostly) so quickly having games to get for the system became few and far between. I sold it somewhere down the line and think that pushed me onto the last generation of consoles before we find ourselves where we are today.
Well mostly all week I have been playing the Xbox One exclusive ‘Sunset Overdrive’ a very colourful, vibrant mix of cult favourite Jet Set Radio (aka Jet Grind Radio), Dead Rising and to some extent Ratchet & Clank. Designed by industry veterans Insomniac Games and following a ton of hype during development … I’m happy to report this game is an explosion of fun. The story isn’t anything special, something about a soft drinks firm whose latest energy drink has inadvertently turned many of the inhabitants of Sunset City into mutants, and you as one of a handful of survivors must find a way of escaping, whilst also going up against the mutant horde, other factions and Fizzco, the company behind it all.
For me the story plays secondary to the fun of just playing this game and exploring the hugely attractive city. This is certainly one of the best looking games yet for XB1, with high resolution textures, tons of colour (compared to many game’s muted colour pallets) and a fun traversal system where you can bounce off a wealth of objects (cars, boats, bushes, vents etc.) and grind on almost any surface, not to mention also being able to wall-run ala Prince of Persia. It’s very slick and makes getting around pure joy. I am loving doing some of the traversal challenges and then offering them up to people on my friends list.
There’s a bunch of colourful characters to interact with and get missions from, which are sometimes a lot of fetch quests but broken up with rescue missions and get from point A to point B before shit happens type stuff. It’s really entertaining though and the production values, including some near-Pixar quality cut scenes make this the real deal. I also like the fact you can not only create your character from the start, but customize him or her throughout, making this a very personalised experience for the player. The script also is very funny with many pop-culture and video-game culture references a-plenty.
It doesn’t seem overly difficult right now, even if dying brings with it a plethora of different and very funny re-spawn animations (fave? The Terminator), and some have knocked it’s OTT self referential approach … but I’m loving it. So if you enjoy colourful platformers and have played the likes of Jet Set or Dead Rising and enjoyed them, then this is the game for you!
Is that me doing a little demonstration … why, yes!
This blog has mostly moved away from reporting on video games in recent months, as I feel it isn’t really what I started this site up for. But every now and then I just feel the need to tell the world about certain games. Jet Set Radio (aka Jet Grind Radio) is one such beast, newly released last week on XBOX Live Arcade and Playstation Network, this HD re-make of the Sega Dreamcast original has thankfully for me, lost none of its magic. The game has you as a member of a street gang who travel around a cartoon version of Tokyo claiming their turf by spraying graffiti and chasing off rival gangs, whilst at the same time avoiding the Police (or Army, or Assassins).
Developed by the now defunct Smilebit and released by Sega in 2001, this is a game with a very unique identity. The game is just pure fun to play, challenging due to strict time limits and a quirky control method that takes a bit of getting used to – but for about £5 this is a steal and worth every penny. The game is also huge with various vibrant districts to skate around and just enjoy exploring, and the cast of characters are pure Japanese brilliance. Now the icing on this wonderful cake is also its bubble-gum pop soundtrack that mixes dance, techno, rock and synth wonderfully to create a possibly bonkers gaming vibe.
The HD re-release looks gorgeous. The graphics are very colourful and the art design has not dated at all. Ok there are a few low-res textures, pop-in rears its head (as it did in the Dreamcast version) and glitches and a few audio stutters do occur. These could all have been addressed, but this is still far from a lazy port. In widescreen on a big TV it all just looks stunning and with a silky smooth frame rate – I couldn’t help but be blown away all over again.
The 2nd greatest game I have ever played (next to Half-Life 2). Essential for any ‘true’ gamer’s collection.
As an avid gamer, some of my all time favourite game franchises always keep me coming back, but more often than not those things I wished they would include in their sequels often disappoint in the absence – so here’s my run down of the gaming sequels I would love to see… Continue reading →
Mensen maken de samenleving en nemen daarin een positie in. Deze website geeft toegang tot een diversiteit aan artikelen die gaan over 'samenleven', belicht vanuit verschillende perspectieven. De artikelen hebben gemeen dat er gezocht wordt naar wat 'mensen bindt, in plaats van wat hen scheidt'.