Both installments of SSX were truly unbelievable. But it's time to get off your snowboards, and gear up for a new concept. This time, instead of hitting the slopes, you'll be ‘revving' up your engines in this trick-crazed dirtbike racer. However, you'll notice that it's a lot like SSX, just with a new means of transportation.
Basically all the roots and gameplay mechanics from SSX have been wonderfully incorporated into this dirtbike racer. All of the over-the-top tricks, all of the huge air, and all of the trash talk. There are 8 characters to choose from when selecting the different modes of play and like SSX, half of them will be initially locked; meaning you'll have to hit the dirt and progress in order to unlock additional racers.
The 8 characters that are included are very much related to the ones in SSX, pertaining to their attitude, clothing, and overall style. However, what separates the two games as far as characters is that Freekstyle's characters are actually based on real-life motocross professionals. Included in the line-up are Leeann Tweeden, Brian Deegan, Mike Metzger, "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Clifford Adopante, Stefy Bau, as well as a few others.
As stated before, Freekstyle plays a lot like SSX. So much, in fact, that masters of the SSX games will be able to pull off all the craziest tricks, right from the get go, with ease. X accelerates and square brakes. As in SSX, all the tricks are performed with different variations of the four shoulder buttons. Then, the circle button slightly alters the current trick, which is the same thing that square does for SSX's tricks. After doing an abundance of tricks successfully, a special boost meter will then be activated; again, just as in SSX.
The whole presentation of Freekstyle definitely looks good, and surprisingly, doesn't really look a whole lot like SSX. While SSX boasted a lot of snowy, cold backgrounds, Freekstyle features dirt, dirt and some more dirt, in addition to an excellent color palette per track, which is, full of detail and beautiful background scenery. Added, some of the environmental effects, such as the fire, just look phenomenal. We're not sure about the frame-rate issue, since there is quite a bit of developmental time left, we might just get the constant 60-fps.
While Freekstyle does hold a lot of SSX elements, it still holds its own as a whole new idea; and it's such a engaging concept that it should be worth every penny if development continues at the same pace. EA BIG has yet so mess up. So, can March's Sled Storm and May's Freekstyle help keep that same track record? Only time will tell, but to be quite honest, Freekstyle is shaping up to be one damn good game.
2/25/2002 Joseph Comunale