Acclaims access to the Jeremy McGrath license hasn't gotten them too far in terms of financial and critical success. Jeremy McGrath's Supercross 2000 was recently released and honestly wasn't what people hoped for. I won't get into the depth of the game but let's just say that Supercross 2000 didn't deliver in most of its fields. Well now the story is a bit different as the McGrath chapter turns and a new videogame is upon the horizon, this time it features Jeremy's biggest rival, who is the rookie Travis Pastrana. Acclaim wasted no time on putting their Pastrana license to use, by creating a product said to be cutting edge, exciting and most of all fun. We all know that Acclaim has let us down in the past, they have recently let me down with ATV: Quad Power Racing, but this game is different, Freestyle Motocross: Jeremy McGrath vs. Travis Pastrana is surprisingly a great game and I'm here to deliver a hands-on preview of an 85% preview build that Acclaim has sent us just today. Check out the outrageously awesome screenshots of the game and read the preview.
Visually this game stands out among some of the best in the Supercross and Motocross games. The only game that I can think of sporting better visuals is Moto Racer: World Tour. Both games have a superb frame rate even with all bikes on one screen, but Moto Racer has a far better view of distance. You see the pop-up in the current version of McGrath/Pastrana has some noticeable pop-up, although an Acclaim PR representative has stated to us that since this is a preview build, the development staff will spend the rest of their time tuning up the visuals, AI, any game errors and basically any glitches that severely affect gameplay. The bike models look quite impressive, the wheels look smooth, and the bike frames are excellent. Unlike Supercross 2000's grainy looking bikes and textures, McGrath/Pastrana actually has sharp looking textures, bikes and best of all environments. There is definitely more to come with the final version of the game but in the meantime enjoy the screens.
In my own mind, I was thinking of the game as San Fransisco Rush on two wheels. This my friends is no regular motorcycle game, nope! McGrath/Pastrana actually has 9 locales with grueling shortcuts that may end with huge air, big time hills for you to pull off big time stunts. While on the topic of stunts, Z-Axis went through the trouble of adding approximately 35 different tricks such as the Can-Can, Superman, Whip, Barrel Roll, Backflip, Nac-Nac (Can-Can spelled backwards), Heart Attack and Indian Air. The tricks are more or less done by pulling of a Tony Hawk-esque maneuver such as holding left and circle, or up and triangle. There are three different styles of gameplay, first is Freestyle, this is where you go all-out pulling off giant moves on big piles of air. Second is Racing, which is self-explanatory and third is a mixture of both where points are tallied and finishing first is the prime objective. The game features four different bike classes that are; 125cc, 250cc, 250cc, Custom and Open. 125 bikes are mainly for dirt racing and such, while 250s are for street racing and performance. There are five game modes to choose from, the Single Race, Multi-player, Championship, Time Attack and Practice are self-explanatory, but the Card mode is something you may not be too familiar with.
Card mode is also like a competition which if completed, awards you with new bikes, tracks and more. There are a total of 30 card races, anything from winning a race to out-scoring seven others in a freestyle competition. These meets can at times be some annoying defeats but no matter what you'll still come back for more. The nine locales aren't real in any way, they feature tons of huge shortcuts that end almost in a San Francisco Rush fashion, some of the locales are Lochness, Volcano, Vegas, Yosemite National Park, and Tombstone. Z-Axis brings their "Skeletal Dynamics System" to the game generating some more realistic crashes, that would replicate a real-life scenario of a bike crash. On all of that, McGrath/Pastrana features a pretty good rock soundtrack which was created by the staff rather than big name bands. Never the less I found Freestyle Motocross: Jeremy McGrath vs. Travis Pastrana quite an enjoyable game and one I would think of picking up this November when the game ships. Motocross and Supercross fans this game may surely please you with its extreme arcade gameplay and a strange similarity to San Francisco Rush.