Developers Superbrothers and Pine Scented Software’s action-adventure JETT: The Far Shore was one of the earliest games to be shown off for Sony’s PS5. JETT: The Far Shore is an adventure game that focuses heavily on exploration, as players venture deep into the far shores in search of a mythical item. It’s an awe-inspiring experience that while novel in some ways, falls short of reaching the heights it could soar due to a few annoying oversights.
JETT: The Far Shore sees players taking control of Mei, a scout in a team in charge of venturing out in search of a new pasture. Mei and these scouts belong to a race of humans who have seemingly been told about the mythical item which holds several secrets of the universe. The search for this mythical item has been a long and arduous one, and many scouts have fallen to the troubles that lay in the deepest of shores.
"It’s an awe-inspiring experience that while novel in some ways, falls short of reaching the heights it could soar due to a few annoying oversights. "
The story itself is pretty straightforward and follows this group of scouts as they try to conquer an alien planet that is supposed to be the source of the above mentioned mythical item. There are other characters in the game as well, although not a lot can be said about these since their personalities are so similar to each other. They also talk to each other in their own alien language, and the only way of getting a hold of the narrative proceedings is through subtitles.
The writing is mostly one-tone, although there are some evocative and thought-provoking scenes in the later parts of the game. However, I actually grew to like these husky voice performances and equally shallow characters as it helped to create a distinctly ominous vibe that works really well with the story that the game tries to tell. Much like the case with Control’s inconsistent voice acting, what might generally be oddities and flaws with the game’s writing and performance actually works in favor of enriching the game’s atmosphere.
The Far Shore’s gameplay primarily revolves around scouting alien shores while zooming at incredible speeds in a jet. The game starts out simple – with you being able to switch the jet’s nitro boosters (called Scramjets) on and off, and take sharp turns. It then gradually keeps building on top of it with the ability to surge, which allows for traversing at ever greater speeds. All these moves take some points from a central meter that needs to be constantly kept in check so as to not destabilize your thrusters. Players can also hop and do sharp maneuvers through the use of a brake, all of which coalesce to form a movement system that can be a joy when the game fires on all cylinders.
"However, a recurring annoyance with Jett’s movement system is that the game will often task you to make your way through tight spots, which even after adding up the ability to make sharp turns with the use of the left trigger, can feel awkward. "
However, a recurring annoyance with Jett’s movement system is that the game will often task you to make your way through tight spots, which even after adding up the ability to make sharp turns with the use of the left trigger, can feel awkward. This issue is further exacerbated by the problem of collision detection. The collision detection can be inconsistent at times, sometimes you will get into areas where you are not supposed to such as the inside of a tree or a ground structure, and other times your jet will come to a complete halt after hitting a tree.
While these issues are a regular nuisance, it never robs you of the amazing feeling when you are skirting along at the surface of a sea or a forest, keeping your jet’s speed consistently at the tip of its breaking point. A special mention needs to be made for the game’s DualSense haptic implementation. Driving the jet will cause the controller to constantly emit a rumble, which increases in intensity as you pull the trigger. There are some subtle details to the rumble as well, as it changes depending on whether you’re walking on a metallic surface or plain ground.
There’s no actual combat in Jett, and most of the time you will have to use your jet’s abilities in new and interesting ways in order to get your foes away from your tail. For instance, you could emit vapor from your jet’s exhaust to stun a particular type of enemy or eject a specific type of substance in order to lure a group of enemies towards an area, effectively clearing your path. Some enemies will also require a stealthy approach, so, overall, there’s enough variety in the game to keep you relatively fresh.
"There’s no actual combat in Jett, and most of the time you will have to use your jet’s abilities in new and interesting ways in order to get your foes away from your tail."
Players will have to use a resonator tool in their jets in order to scan nearby surroundings, which then reveal new information regarding the flora and fauna of the planet. Jett makes exploration an important part of the experience, since solving puzzles and finding out ways to get rid of enemies can only be done through exploration and experimentation. Jett also manages to find a sweet balance between being accessible in terms of its difficulty and actually making players interact with the environments and do experimentation in order to solve a puzzle at hand.
Jett: The Far Shore boasts a beautiful open world that is a joy to explore. There are deep oceans, treacherous mountains, and long stretches of forests that all serve to make the environment a believable place. There’s also a wide variety of flora, fauna, and landmarks present throughout the environment that all serve to accentuate the feeling of awe which makes exploring unknown realms such an endearing prospect. Of course, a lot of the heavy lifting for this is done by the visuals, the art direction for which is minimalist and muted. The game’s world truly feels like a far shore, adding to the feeling of loneliness even when there’s a band of similar scouts just around the corner.
"There’s a wide variety of flora, fauna, and landmarks present throughout the environment that all serve to accentuate the feeling of awe which makes exploring unknown realms such an endearing prospect. "
Jett: The Far Shore also features an orchestral soundtrack by Scntfc, which again – is a vital part of the game’s overall atmosphere. There’s a rich variety in the game’s tracks, which can range from low-intensity melody to a majestic march of victory that you would hear in a more action-oriented game. It’s all quality stuff and works really well with the game’s visuals.
Ultimately, whether you would like Jett or not depends on your personal taste. But one thing is for sure, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Jett features a vivid world to explore and a competent story paired with excellent visuals and audio. There are some issues such as awkward controls and collision detection that mar the game down, but in the face of what it does right become nothing more than annoying nuisances. Superbrothers and Pine Scented Software have delivered a quality title with Jett: The Far Shore, and those with a liking for chill experiences like Journey or Abzu should definitely check it out.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
Superb art direction, great music, flying the jet can be a great experience when the game fires on all cylinders.
Controls can be awkward at times, writing can be boring and one-tone.