There was a simpler time not too long ago where a game’s addictiveness would be in its simplicity. Platform games where you simply moved from left to right were ten-a-penny back in the day. Some of the youth of today may not realise, but Super Mario started off as a platform game. You didn’t do a great deal in a platform game, you could only move forward, back or jump up. The fun was in how addictive a platform game was as you tried to beat the high score or at least get on to the leaderboard. After every level you felt like you had to get back on it and try to beat your personal best.
Urban Trials Freestyle follows that platforming route. A bike racing game that challenges you to reach the end of an obstacle course as quickly as you can whilst also minimising your crashes, the quicker the level is completed then the more stars that are awarded to you. To unlock stages you need to win additional stars, so it’s wise to repeat levels to maximise the amount of stars you can get otherwise you won’t be able to progress any further. There is no variation in how Urban Trials Freestyle plays, on every stage you race left to right trying to achieve as quick as a time as you can.
Urban Trials Freestyle reduces most of the handling error by limiting you to a very linear experience, you can only go forward or back in a straight line. Balancing your bike is the only difficulty you are going to experience besides a few minor environmental factors. If you go too fast or too slow, you might not be able to compensate for the balancing issues, and if you land at the wrong angle, then you’re going to crash & burn. Unfortunately for Urban Trials Freestyle, having such a limited range of movement is not a good thing.
The balancing controls leave a lot to be desired, it’s just too easy to crash and there’s very little you can do combat it especially if you’re hitting the ground at a slightly dodgy angle. The physics just don’t feel like a true representation of what should be happening. There are ‘stunt’ bits which I presume is why ‘Freestyle’ is in the title. However, you have absolutely no input into how the stunt is performed, you don’t press any of the buttons, you can’t adjust the trick mid-air, it’s just an automated process and automated processes for the most part are never entertaining.
The tracks on offer at first seem quite enjoyable, there’s lots happening in the background such as falling objects and crashing trucks, there’s even a Ghost Train section that almost generates some enjoyment. Unfortunately, you soon realise that most of these set-pieces have no effect and are just merely attempting to distract you from the monotony of Urban Trials Freestyle gameplay. Customisation of your bike is a limited experience, you may as well save up and spend it all on the fastest wheels. At least the music tries to get you in the mood and the revving of engines is always a good scene setter.
Unfortunately, Urban Trials Freestyle is a somewhat restrictive experience, unless you like constantly trying to beat your best score with dodgy controls and repetitive courses. Once you’ve beaten a course and reached 5 stars you don’t get that desire to replay Urban Trials Freestyle, it simply just doesn’t excite enough to warrant another play. Urban Trials Freestyle is just a poor imitation of a better game (Trials), there’s limited fun to be had that is over far too soon to be considered enjoyment. After playing Urban Trials Freestyle you’ll feel like taking your sorry ride back to the garage for a refit.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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