When it came time to review JETT: The Far Shore as it first launched in 2021, I left that experience feeling like it had ultimately missed the mark, despite some truly incredible moments where its laid-back gameplay and exploration emphasis intertwined with the narrative to create a truly special effect.
Returning to it for its newly released Given Time expansion however has unfortunately only stirred up more frustrations in me than feelings of awe and wonder.
And this time, even the story wasn’t enough to keep me feeling like I wanted to be playing in the world of JETT: The Far Shore.
JETT: The Far Shore + Given Time Review (PS5) – Going Beyond Oblivion
Like Riding A Bicycle, Like Flying A Jett…Sort Of
Getting back into the pilot’s seat of a jet that’s grown dusty isn’t exactly as easy as always being able to remember how to ride a bike. In fact, the time I’ve had away from JETT: The Far Shore has been the biggest detriment to my time with Given Time.
My first few hours were, more than anything, a reminder of JETT’s biggest frustrations rather than everything that has the potential to make it beautiful.
It took far longer than I’d have like for me to get back into the swing of things with Jett, into the planetary platforming puzzles that present itself in the form of collecting Brine Wisps.
Well, Brine Wisps waiting to be born, and its your job to collect them all and toss them into the ocean. Each of them can be found by following a rainbow helix signal while having the resonator equipped.
Finding them isn’t so much the problem, it’s collecting them that’s the issue. Some are far more difficult to collect than others. Some require you to lead a shock serpent or brine wisp to the flower holding the egg, and it’ll open.
Others need to be acquired by flying on the back of a giant Kolos and grabbing the brine wisp egg at the tail before jumping off. And it doesn’t help that most of the time, everything around you is being extremely hostile.
Which is another thing that I was reminded frustrated me in Jett. Everything is out to get you, in one way or another. And you’ve no course to respond other than to run and hide until you’re left alone.
I understand why you can’t fight back, and that’s always been part of what I’ve found interesting in Jett. It’s focus on ensuring the player try and interact with this new planet as peacefully as possible.
If that means moving slower through a certain area, not making noise, potentially waiting out a swarm of Hector’s, then that’s what it means. From a game logic perspective, I get it.
Doesn’t mean I have to like how much of your time in Jett is spent simply waiting for hostile fauna to go away, or heading back to a shelter after failing to complete your task in time before gloaming, sleeping until the morning or twilight, and repeat.
Jett has its frustrations, but what Given Time does that the original campaign didn’t is make the gameplay more interesting as you went along. That’s not to say the first game isn’t interesting at all, but much of the gameplay feels more or less the same from one objective to the next, relying on the story context of your actions to give them more meaning.
Given Time however presents an interesting set of small to medium sized puzzles you have to solve, in order to collect a Brine Wisp Roe (egg) and punt it into the ocean so it can be born (hatched).
What does this is the increasingly complex ways in which you have to interact with the world in order to collect each brine wisp roe. I found a lot of joy in the cause and effect nature of the puzzles, particularly when it involved creating an interaction between to aspects of the wyld.
There was also a great hit of endorphins when you solved each puzzle, and watched the brine wisp roe turn into a fully fledged wisp.
It also helped that in most cases once you’d successfully punted another wisp into existence, more of the game’s narrative was revealed.
By the time I was almost done with Given Time, I was able to speed through these puzzles without much issue at all, though it took me far longer to get there than I would have liked, as I just talked about.
There’s Still Beauty In This World
One thing I’ve always liked about Jett has been how it is able to transport you, even if its only for a moment or two. Jetting around calmly can far too often be interrupted by your jett reacting to a part of the landscape in an unexpected way.
But those times when you’re able to glide a far distance, or simply jett around close to the ground, take in your surroundings and bask in the glow of Tor, it can be a quite the sight.
Given Time even puts more emphasis on the verticality possible with your jett, by asking you to collect brine wisp roe’s from some on high locations.
Gliding for its part then seemed to take a more important role in just how you navigated the world, and how you were meant to see it.
Something that almost felt like it went against how the jett controls, considering it seems to want to be near the ground at all times.
But its in those few moments that can make everything in jett. And Given Time’s pace really supports that, as you’re able to really just go about everything at your own speed.
There’s no Isao in your ear this time. In fact, you’d only hear from Caro, the one other person awake at Mother Control if you jett close to it.
It definitely all supports the idea that you can just peacefully get lost in this world, supported even more so by an excellent soundtrack.
Jett also continues to be an excellent showcase for the DualSense and its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback.
But personally I found that Jett’s storytelling usually failed to be enough for me, even in the first campaign, and I rather enjoyed Isao’s murmurings, mainly because many of them brought further context to Mei, Isao, and who their people are, why they’ve come.
I actually really looked forward to Isao’s perspective on things, even if by the end of the first campaign his questions to you are part of why it doesn’t exactly stick the landing, as I talked about in my review.
So I couldn’t help but miss that this time around, even though the quiet was still very nice at times.
I already touched on this before, but just how hostile everything is to you in the game is more than annoying. It can often be a major source of frustration.
Griefers, I feel, are an especially egregious inclusion because they really do only exist to cause you grief. Of course they’re not alone in the myriad of flying enemies you’ll have to deal with.
Shock serpents are easier to deal with as they’ll turn away by just turning off your scramble-gets. Though they still create their own brand of annoying due to being able to hear you turn your scramble-jets back on even after waiting for them to be a mile away from you.
More than just the creatures that seem to live to harass you, the mostly uneven landscape you have to deal with becomes increasingly troublesome if all you want to do is enjoy a nice jetting around.
Getting stuck on a part of the landscape you didn’t read properly never failed to ruin any tranquility I was experiencing.
Along with the poor controls in the first place making my initial dive back into Jett troublesome, how hostile everything else is towards you just served to cause me frustration.
Still Missing The Mark
While Given Time was meant to provide some answers to questions players had at the end of the original Jett The Far Shore campaign, and conclude the story, it does the latter better than the former.
Yes, we do find out things like what happens to Jones, and understand a little more about the world you and your people are trying to create a new life on, but it doesn’t really do the best job of explaining everything.
What’s better is how the game concludes, and you feel confident in knowing what’s happened. I think it wrapped things up nicely, and fit with part of the themes Jett grapples with in the original campaign.
Altogether though it wasn’t anything spectacular, and with my own gameplay issues I still find Jett The Far Shore + Given Time missing the mark.
If you absolutely loved Jett The Far Shore when it originally launched, there’s no reason not to play Given Time, as its a free update, Though I wouldn’t call the experience necessary by any stretch, for fans of the game and potential newcomers.
Jett The Far Shore + Given Time is available on PS5.