Freekstyle
Game Info
Platform(s)
PS2, GC, Xbox
Publisher
EA Sports
Developer
Page 44 Studios
Genre
Extreme Sports
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Comic Mischief, Mild Language
 
Grade
The Good

• Tracks look good and are designed well
• Racers have a great deal of personality
• Character models are pretty good

The Bad

• Too much like SSX
• Could use more tracks and racers

 
Grade
B

Once again, EA Sports and Big EA manages to use their SSX formula in another game to see if they can repeat the success of the original title. This time around, you can race as an extreme dirtbike racer. Your goal is to win races by performing tricks, finding shortcuts and anything else you can do to get first place.

Much like in SSX, you can choose to race in either a career mode (Circuit), Single Race, Freestyle (for trick points), or get a free run of the tracks to see where the turns are. During the length of a regular race, you'll find a number of shortcuts and you'll have to perform stunts to gain boost. When you fill your Freekout Meter, you can pull a super stunt by hitting all four stunt buttons. The controls are fairly easy to pick up and you won't have too much struggle getting around the track. In fact, the only time you might wreck is when you don't land a jump or jump into a part of the scenery. The Circuit mode will force you to run both regular races and trick-based tracks. You can unlock new racers if you beat them in races where they "get in your face", and new bikes and tracks by winning events.

Character and bike models both look really good, especially in the pre-race menus. The tracks are well designed and look pretty good as your flying through the turns and jumps. Dirt kicks up behind the bike's wheels and you can see ruts in the dirt that you'll need to avoid. The character animations during the race look a little stiff from time to time, but considering the quality of racing, you won't really care much.

As with previous Big EA titles, the audio portion of the game is well realized. The voice actors really lend a lot to developing the personalities. During the race, you won't hear as much banter between the racers and the sound of the bike's motor may get a little tiresome, but for the most part, everything sounds really good. The music is fairly nondescript rock and the announcers are less annoying than in Sled Storm, but manage to serve as additional garnish to the race.

There really isn't a lot that's wrong with the game. Outside of the fact that the game some times forgets where you are in the order of the race (multiple times, I've either been told I was in first or last and was neither), it's built pretty well. Ultimately, though I wish there were more tracks to race (there's a whole six in the game not counting trick areas), and more racers and bikes to win/unlock. This game could have used more of everything for longevity's sake.

While Freekstyle does try to carve it's own niche, it still is very much a SSX-clone. If you can look past that, you should enjoy yourself. Dirtbike fans will enjoy this arcade racer, even if it does need some more of everything.

- - Kinderfeld

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