Review of Freekstyle
Once a game style proves immensely popular it must be difficult not to repeat the successful formula again and again, even if dressed in a slightly different guise. So why should Electronic Arts be any different? One of the best launch titles for the Playstation 2 was undoubtedly SSX, bought to us on EA Sports BIG label. Over-the-top characters, silky smooth graphics and simplistic arcade handling proved to be a smash hit with gamers right across the globe. Tricky, the sequel was much the same and appeared to satisfy the hunger of those SSX fans that had craved for more.
By simply switching boards for motocross bikes, and snow for mud, EA Sports BIG have appeared to produced yet another rabbit out of their hat with the crazily named Freekstyle. I’m sure that you’ve already guessed, but the main objective of the game is to maneuver yourself through a selection of circuits in a race to become first to cross the line. The performance of tricks once again increases the boost meter, which when activated provides a brief burst of speed. Pull off enough tricks to fill the Freekout Meter and you get the chance to perform a four-button ‘Super Sick Trick’ within a limited period of time, resulting in an awesome trick score and a sudden speed boost of ridiculous proportions.
Each rider and bike has their own set of attributes. However, simply selecting the buxom Leeann Tweeden because of her curvy figure won’t necessarily get you far because while her boost and control may be okay, her speed, jumping and landing leave a lot to be admired (unlike her boobs). Progressing through the game allows you to gradually reveal more powerful bikes, unveil extra tracks, develop a specific character and provide a tasty wardrobe to dress them up in. Similar to SSX you get the chance to leave the main track during a race and discover hidden routes. The nine themed tracks are quite varied, while fellow riders prove relatively challenging when set on a higher difficultly level.
There are four styles of game. A Freeride allows you to explore the course and try to discover how to get up to those seemingly unreachable ledges. Freestyle is for racking up a trick score that will forge your name in the record books. During this mode one or two players are allowed three minutes to score as many points as possibly in a bizarre environment such as a suburban town, a huge house or a futuristic city made of glass. Smashing! The Single Race mode also caters for a two player head to head and a trick shot countdown. The main event is the Circuit mode. Complete a 3-stage event on all 6 tracks to advance onto the freestyle competitions, where a certain number of points within a given time limit must be achieved. This leads to Freekstyle, where the objective is to win the race while also scoring lots of points… freaky stuff.
Graphically Freekstyle looks rather tasty and once the more powerful bikes become available it all moves along smoothly at an impressive frame rate with little slowdown. I must admit that I was suitably impressed with the re-draw distance as upcoming obstacles way down the track could often be seen far in the distance. Generally the bikes and characters have been superbly animated and would probably have looked realistic had they not been regularly catapulted to such ridiculous heights.
It’s all topped off with some fine sound effects and a noisy rocking music score that seemed to blend perfectly with the manic action on the screen.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Freekstyle' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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