Amid all the highly exciting games revealed alongside the PlayStation 5, it'd be easy to forget smaller titles, such as Jett: The Far Shore. The sci-fi action adventure game has always looked very intriguing in trailers, but until now, precisely how it plays has been something of a mystery. Fortunately, we've played it on PS5 for a number of hours now, going through its opening chapters, and for the most part, it's a pretty fascinating space-faring trip.
The first thing that strikes us about Jett is the excellent presentation. The game's art style and music complement each other very well, and the cutscenes are expertly done. It all lends the game an eerie, mysterious atmosphere, and it feels like an epic, premium experience. Playing as Mei, you are one of just a handful of people chosen to travel to a far-off planet, leaving everything behind in pursuit of knowledge. The way the story is told and presented gives the whole thing an ethereal and grand presence that we really like.
The on-planet action emphasises the scale of your mission nicely, too. You co-pilot one of the titular jetts, a nimble low-altitude aircraft that speeds just above the surface of an unknown planet. On-screen, it's tiny compared to the vast oceans and landscapes you explore, although you can zoom in and out whenever you want. During moments on-foot, the camera pulls right in to a first-person perspective, letting you get a better sense of your surroundings.
Piloting the jett is absolutely a highlight of the game. You have a lot of control over the vehicle; while you'll mostly skip along, sometimes using a "hop" to jump over obstacles, you can also turn on a dime, switch off the engines, barrel roll, and more. It all feels great in the hands, especially with the DualSense controller. The haptics and adaptive triggers are put to great use here, adding a lot to the experience. It's fun just flitting about.
It's not all aimless flying, though: you do have objectives to meet. As your co-pilot Isao will remind you, there are points on the map you'll need to reach, but there are also alien creatures, plants, and structures to inspect. A set of tools allows you to interact with the environment; scanning things gives you more information about them, while a headlight and grapple can be used in certain cases to experiment with things and see what they do. It's worth learning about these things, as they'll usually benefit you in some way. Some let you temporarily max out your thrusters without worrying about instability, some will heal your shields, and some will boost you up into the air. Occasionally you might need to use this newfound knowledge to solve puzzles too, using elements from the world to progress further.
Unfortunately, not everything in the game is peaceful, and this is where things start to fall apart slightly. Hostile creatures will chase you down and try to damage your jett, and these "combat" moments aren't particularly fun to deal with. Scanning these enemies reveals ways to fend them off, but you need to know what to look for, and that's not always easy when everything's quite small and blends in with the landscape. Adding further confusion is the radio chatter from Isao and your fellow scouts. There are moments of near constant dialogue, but it's not spoken in English, so you need to rely on subtitles. The trouble you'll have is flying your jett, reading the on-screen text, and looking for ways to get rid of enemies all at the same time. It's a bit unwieldy, and you can easily slam into walls or foliage while you try and make sense of everything.
The upshot is that these moments of hostility are rare. The much more enjoyable exploration gameplay is there for the majority — in fact, you'll play in slow-paced first person sequences as well. These are points in the game where you'll get out of the jett and interact with the other characters on your mission. You can speak with everyone inside before or after an excursion. While there are no dialogue trees or ways to influence things, it's still pleasant getting to know the crew, and there's a surprising amount of chatter to be had.
Overall, then, Jett: The Far Shore is shaping up rather nicely. The fun traversal, atmospheric setting, and mysterious plot are great strengths, even if the game's more aggressive moments don't quite stack up. We also encountered some performance dips here and there, but hopefully these technical issues can be tidied up prior to launch. The early parts of this adventure are promising, and we're looking forward to jumping back in for more.
Jett: The Far Shore releases on both PS5 and PS4 5th October, 2021. Are you excited to explore this unique adventure? Hop into the comments section below.