Jett: The Far Shore sets a dramatic and grandiose stage. You play as Mei, one among a team that aims to preserve humanity by following the call of the mysterious "hymnwave" to a new world. The game's first moments set an emotional and epic tone as you and your group say goodbye to loved ones, climb aboard a ship, and fall into cryogenic sleep for the thousand-year journey to this distant planet. It's an effective start that sets up an exciting adventure. Unfortunately, like the titular jetts, the game doesn't ever get far off the ground.
Much of the gameplay seats you inside a jett, a low-altitude, high-speed vessel used to explore and gather intelligence on your new surroundings. While piloting this ship, the camera zooms way out to emphasise the scale of the planet, also affording you a good view of the environment. Moving around in this nimble little thing is good fun; flying so low gives you a decent sense of speed, and manoeuvres like hopping and barrel rolling mean you can (mostly) get about terrain and threats deftly.
Onboard equipment includes a scanner with which to document flora and fauna, a grabber to pick up and throw objects, and a light mostly used to get a reaction from lifeforms. Everything has a purpose, but you'll be using the scanner the most due to its colour-coded "resonator" that leads you to certain objectives, as well as plants that'll boost you into the air and places to build shelters.
When you're allowed to explore, the game settles into a chilled out rhythm. It's when you're simply moving through the world, the adaptive triggers alerting you to overheats and the atmospheric soundtrack washing over you, that the game is at its best. Sadly, the planet is often hostile towards you, and you'll need to evade threats from wildlife and the environment itself as you fulfil your missions.
These moments lead to some frustration, as dealing with pursuing enemies is only ever a nuisance. To keep them at bay, you'll often need to find certain things in the world, but nothing stands out particularly strongly against the environment, making it difficult to find useful resources. Pair this with frequent radio chatter from your co-pilot, and "combat" sequences quickly become lowlights of the experience. The made-up language means you'll be relying on subtitles, and it's difficult to read those while also looking for specific plants while also running away from baddies.
The game isn't only about these excursions in the jett, though. Often, you'll touch back down at your team's base and speak with everyone about your shared experiences. This brings the action to a much slower paced, first-person perspective, and you're often free to walk around the building and find people to talk to. All characters speak with a serious, almost ostentatious tone; we wouldn't say the cast is emotionless, but everything is played with a straight face. It lends itself to the atmosphere of the wider game, but it does make it difficult to get attached to anyone. Moments that should pull at your heartstrings likely won't, because you don't really get to know anybody very well.
Some of the game's more dramatic and intense parts are certainly interesting, and feel as though they're building towards a climactic end. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really go anywhere. There is a big final "battle", so to speak, but it's as frustrating as any other perilous point in the game, and you'll be relieved when it's over. The actual ending feels very lacklustre, especially as certain things are left mostly unexplained. It's a shame that the story doesn't stack up, because the core premise is sound, and the jett-flying gameplay is engaging, especially when paired with the great music.
On PS5, load times don't really exist in Jett: The Far Shore, and the DualSense is used really nicely, with practical use of the triggers and some great-feeling haptics. It runs at 60 frames-per-second most of the time, but can dip lower depending on what's happening onscreen. We should also mention we encountered one or two bugs, such as clipping through the landscape, but these were very rare.
While it presents itself well and has some neat ideas, Jett: The Far Shore never launches into the stars. Flying around, soaking in the atmosphere, and gathering info on a foreign planet is relaxing fun, but it's scuppered by messy combat scenarios and a story that falls flat. You may get some enjoyment from this, as does have its moments — just don't expect it to hit the stratosphere.