Big Air FreeStyle

Big Air FreeStyle

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 11/24/2002 for GC  

You’d think that with a name like Big Air Freestyle the main emphasis on the game would revolve around flash and style, but apparently this isn’t the case with Infogrames’ latest take on the ‘xtreme’ genre. What starts out as a motocross game with good intentions basically simmers down to a below average game who’s main high points revolve around its licensed soundtrack and a demo for Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee.

An update of the PS2 game, MXRider, Freestyle is a game that I found to be very easy to pick up and play. Unfortunately, it’s simplistic is the worst of ways. The bikes just appear to have no weight or inertia to them. They control and behave like a set of toys in the hands of a toddler. Most of the time the bikes don’t even feel like they’re riding on the surfaces and it is in this respect that the game proves to be pretty cumbersome.

Controlling the vehicles is pretty simple, A is for gas, L is for tricks, B is for brakes and the R trigger controls the front brakes. In order to earn boost you’ll have to perform tricks. Oddly enough, the tricks system is much more complex than one would be lead to believe. For instance, to perform a handstand you’ll have to press L + B, B, Y, much more complex than it should be. The moves list (which is included in the manual) looks like something out of a 2D fighting game than a motocross game.

Strangely enough, the game’s namesake isn’t even the main attraction. While there is an included freestyle mode, the bulk of the game revolves around races in various supercross and motocross venues. You’ll begin with a small handful of cash that can be used to enter a number of events. As you earn more cash you’ll be able to enter more and more events, very run of the mill here. For some strange reason Freestyle lacks the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclism (a European license) licensing and thus the game feels awfully generic, much like something you’d see appear in a mid 1990’s arcade game.

The graphics are present but they’re really pretty ugly. Games like Resident Evil Zero and Super Mario Sunshine are out there showing what the GameCube’s hardware is capable of then suddenly, this bombshell is dropped. This game wasn’t pretty to begin with and although a few changes have been made to take advantage of the GC’s hardware (progressive scan support is included), mainly to increase the frame rates. The bikes are actually pretty well done but that only serves to expose the overall ugliness of the rest of the game. Often times the bikes look out of place, as if they’re floating across the environments. The textures are muddled and the generic look of the game is one of unpleasantness and disappointment.
I’d think that the one aspect of the game that really stands out is the game’s audio and I’m only saying this because the soundtrack includes some nice artists. You’ll get bands like 311 and MXPX that really help get you in to the mood to play the game. Unfortunately the rest of the game’s audio doesn’t quite fare as well. As mentioned above, this game is on the whole, very generic, including the audio. Not one portion stands out and although there is included support for Dolby Surround, it’ll often go un-noticed. It doesn’t matter which audio mode you choose, mono, stereo, Dolby, headphones, it all sounds exactly the same.

Not to be outdone by the soundtrack, this game comes packaged with a two-player demo of the recently released Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. Honestly, you know a game isn’t worthy of a purchase when a reviewer makes mention of the included demo as one of the game’s main attractions. Apparently I’m not alone though, the packaging prominently makes mention of this inclusion, plastering the front and back covers of the box with it. Maybe they realize they had a lost cause and thought the inclusion of the demo would help it sell? Either way, it’s definitely the best thing in this entire package.

There is a lot of variety in the game but in the end, it all feels the same. The execution is very poor and it serves as the final dagger in this weak PS2 to GC port. Nothing is fun here, nothing is appealing and worse of all, nothing here makes the game worthy of a purchase. The GC already has a few competent Motocross titles, no need to pick up this mediocre outing.
A pretty weak PS2 to GC outing that doesn’t really deliver on any level. The soundtrack is pretty nice but that’s about it. Not worthy of much, including your time.

Rating: 5.3 Flawed

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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