Freekstyle Review

Freekstyle Review GameCube
Freekstyle Review GameCube

From EA Big comes the second instalment of Freekstyle, it was first released on the PS2 a couple of months ago, now it's time for GameCube take a high flying ride on the dirty stuff.

Freekstyle isn't the only motor cross game for the GameCube, MX Superfly was released a few months ago and it is a much more authentic motor cross game that simulates the sport instead of offering all out arcade action like Freestyle. The main object of Freekstyle is to go as fast as you can at all times while pulling some wicked air.

Freekstyle has several different modes of play but you will probably have to spend quite a lot of time on the single player circuit mode before you can get any enjoyment out of the other modes. You will have to do this because you will have to unlock new tracks, bikes and bikers over the course of the circuit mode. There are six different venues to race plus three Freekstyle courses. In each one you will race against five other bikers and you will have to ride each course at least three times, or more of you loose. In the finals you must finish first to move on to the next venue. This can take some time because each race consists of three laps, this takes on average about 5-7 minutes and you must race at least three times on one track in order to progress. So each track will take a minimum of 15-17 minutes to complete and that is if you win every race, which is very unlikely after your get passed the first two venues.

Freekstyle Review GameCube  @ www.contactmusic.com
Freekstyle Review GameCube  @ www.contactmusic.com
Freekstyle Review GameCube  @ www.contactmusic.com
This probably will sound like a long time to you and it is, it's not because Freekstyle is a slow game it is because the tracks are so big, they are actually massive at times and the whole game is completely over the top. All eight riders are based on real world riders, if I hadn't have told you that you probably would never have know because for starters they don't look much like their real world doubles and their in game personalities are very stylised.

The trick system on the PS2 version worked very well with the four shoulder buttons in the same way SSX does, on the GameCube the controller will disable you to a certain extent, although the Z button works very well when tweaking tricks for better results. To earn more points rather than tweaking a trick you should attempt to pull more than one trick and try some combos, obviously you wont manage combos on all jumps so that is why the tweak button is there. You should not pull the same trick multiple times as the point awarded for that trick will diminish every time you pull it off. You can also hold a trick longer for extra points. All these tricks aren't just for show or the points, when you pull off a trick your boost meter will increase so when you need that extra bit of power to overtake or catch up to your rival you can quickly accelerate and exceed you maximum speed limit for a short time. You will also find that whole all this is happening you will be slowly filling up your Freekout meter, once full you can execute your rider's signature sick trick and in return you are rewarded with a temporary boost of super freaky speed which involves blurred speed vision and leaving a trail of fire in your path. To keep the Freekout going you must pull off another sick trick before the effect runs out. When you get used to a track you will be able to keep a freakout going for a long time. Should you fall off in the process the effect will stop, if you fall off while building your Freekout meter it will also drop a few notches and so will your boost meter. So falling of is bad, OK?

The tracks in Freekstyle are good, they are not what you would call realistic but they are usually extreme. Most of them are your standard out door looking motor cross tracks with huge jumps but others have an industrial feel to them. All the tracks feature loads on mad jumps, freefalls and glass windows to smash through. There are short cuts in all the courses too but you will find if you get a bit too creative with your shortcuts your will be punished. Invisible barriers are just too common in Freekstyle and rather than experimenting with shortcuts you will generally stick to the track that you know. Another problem is that there are only six tracks, instead of adding more tracks the difficultly level has been ramped up for too high. No matter how hard you ride your opponents will be near by, at the start you shouldn't have any problems but as the game progresses you will realise what you're up against. You can keep your Freekout going for a minute and then when you think you have blown off all the competition the second place man with fly by as is your standing still. You will learn as you progress that the only part of the race that matters is the last lap and even then when you put all your effort in to Freaking out the computer will rob you at the finishing line. Unfortunately when you do win it can be as much down to chance as it is down to skill. Not very good stuff really!!! Unlike SSX, you are unable to punch or kick your competitors of their bikes, this is a real disappointment and even ramming doesn't work it is impossible to knock off your competitors.

Freekstyle's other modes of play are pretty good. There is a free ride mode if you want to try and find some short cuts or just get used to the track. There is also a single race option and a Freestyle option, both of which support two players. The single race option is the best way to get straight to your favourite track. If you play this alone you can play it in the freekstyle mode which requires you to get a certain amount of points rather than just finish first. For two players there is a count down mode which constantly pulling tricks is the only thing that keeps your score quickly dropping to zero. The Freestyle mode challenges you or you and a friend to rack up the greatest number of points in a three minute run. Tag, you have to run into as many coloured blocks as possible and in King of Pain your goal is to smash more glass that you friend.

Freekstyle looks very good, from the characters trick animations to the sprawling track designs. The game moves very fast at 60 frames per second, though it does look virtually identical to the PS2 version, although loading times are quicker. Freekstyle also sounds great with a good sound track and great two stoke engine noise. The game's race announces is ok but he does get very repetitive.

For speed you are probably not going to get a faster racing game on your GameCube than Freekstyle. It will satisfy almost any racing fan with its fantastic courses and trick system with some good multi player options to boot what more could you ask for?

7 out of 10

 

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