Big Air FreeStyle

Review

posted 11/24/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: 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.
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