Jett: The Far Shore is a dramatic and grandiose stage. You play as Mei, one of a team that has set itself the goal of preserving humanity by following the call of the mysterious “Hymnwave” into a new world. The first moments of the game set an emotional and epic tone as you and your group say goodbye to loved ones, step aboard a ship and fall into cryogenic sleep for the millennial journey to this distant planet. It’s an effective start that ushers in an exhilarating adventure. Unfortunately, like the title jets, the game never gets far off the ground.
For much of the gameplay, you’ll sit in a jet, a high-speed, low-altitude ship that allows you to explore and gather information about your new surroundings. As you steer this ship, the camera zooms out far to emphasize the size of the planet and give you a good overview of the area. Moving around in this nimble little thing is great fun; Flying this low gives you a good sense of speed, and maneuvers like hopping and barrel rolling mean you can (mostly) handle terrain and threats skillfully.
The equipment on board includes a scanner for documenting flora and fauna, a gripper for picking up and throwing objects, and a light that is mainly used to get a reaction from life forms. Everything has a purpose, but you will be using the scanner the most because it has color-coded “resonators” that guide you to specific destinations, as well as plants to put in the air and places to build shelters.
If you are allowed to go on a voyage of discovery, the game develops into a relaxed rhythm. When you’re just moving through the world, the adaptive triggers warning you of overheating, and the atmospheric soundtrack washing over you, the game is at its best. Unfortunately, the planet is often hostile to you and you will have to dodge threats from wildlife and the environment yourself while completing your missions.
These moments lead to some frustration as dealing with chasing enemies is always just a nuisance. Often times, to keep them at bay you need to find certain things in the world, but nothing stands out particularly high from the environment, making it difficult to find useful resources. Combine this with frequent radio calls from your co-pilot and “combat” sequences quickly become a low point of the experience. Made up language means that you have to rely on subtitles, and subtitles are difficult to read and look for specific plants at the same time Even run away from bad guys.
The game is not just about jetted excursions. Often you end up back at the base of your team and talk to everyone about your shared experiences. This puts the action in a much slower first-person perspective, and you can often walk around the building and find people to talk to. All characters speak in 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 makes it difficult to bond with someone. Moments that make your heart beat faster probably won’t because you don’t get to know anyone really well.
Some of the more dramatic and intense parts of the game are certainly interesting and feel like they are nearing a climax. Unfortunately, the story is going nowhere. There is one big final “fight” so to speak, but it is just as frustrating as any other dangerous point in the game and you will be relieved when it is over. The actual ending feels very lackluster, especially since certain things usually remain unexplained. It’s a shame the story doesn’t stack because the core premise is sound and the jet-fly gameplay is addicting, especially when paired with the great music.
There are no loading times on PS5 in Jett: The Far Shore, and the DualSense is used really well, with practical use of the triggers and great feel. It runs at 60 frames per second most of the time, but can be lower depending on what’s happening on the screen. We should also mention that we encountered a mistake or two, such as cutting through the landscape, but these were very rare.
While it presents itself well and has some nice ideas, Jett: The Far Shore never takes off into the stars. Flying around soaking up the atmosphere and gathering information on an alien planet is relaxing fun, but it’s ruined by messy combat scenarios and a story that falls flat. You can enjoy some of it, and it has its moments too – just don’t expect it to hit the stratosphere.