“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with motorbikes”
The best way to describe Freestyle Metal X is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 on motorbikes. The game contains two main game modes, career and free ride. Free ride allows you to ride around any of the unlocked environments performing tricks without having to beat any tasks. Career mode is the main area where you will spend most of your time in the game.
In career mode you choose one of numerous pre-defined characters to use and help become a superstar. Some of them are motorcross related, whilst others such as the ninja are only featured for novelty. Each of the riders at first have different statistics and have a different bike. As you progress through the career mode you will unlock other bikes to use. There are two ways to progress in Freestyle Metal X; beat the area champion or earn enough money to buy your way into the next level. Beating the area champion isn’t very hard in the early stages and it won’t be long before you have a couple of different levels unlocked to play.
On each level between tasks you can ride anywhere and do basically anything. However when you decide its time to try and move on in the game, scattered around the place are people requiring help. These people all look the same, and have yellow arrows pointing at them so they aren’t to hard to find. Tasks can include jumping a gap, running over wolves, riding some rails and finding a metal x to give to the person. Most of these are fairly easy to accomplish at first but if you didn’t like the style of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 then you aren’t going to like Freestyle Metal X.
Despite the fact that a motorbike weighs significantly more then a skateboard, the handling is quite good. The controls used are great with the square used for brake, X used for accelerating and L1 used for the clutch. Using these three in tandem can launch burnouts and create some big air off jumps. Mastering the burnout and how to release the clutch is key to moving on in this game, especially against the area champions. It still isn’t as fluid as Tony Hawk’s and that can be put down to the fact your controlling a motorbike. Most of the time however, the physics are quite forgiving when it comes to landing.
As well as the main environments, you can also go to a stunt arena and perform tricks such as jumping buses and cars. Money plays a major role in Freestyle Metal X. As mentioned before you can buy your way into other events, and to gain money you either find it or perform stunt tricks. When a stunt trick is successfully performed the game will give you the chance to go double or nothing each time. Obviously as the money goes up the stakes raise so it may be at times best to quit while you’re ahead.
One problem with Freestyle Metal X is that it is too easy to hold stoppies and wheelies for a long time. Rather then the meter flying back and forth like you see in games such as Tony Hawk and Amped 2, it moves slowly and this means you can pull off an almost endless trick. The only thing stopping you is a wall, or a corner or some other object getting in your way. When a player crashes, the rag doll physics do look great but the blood doesn’t. It looks as if strawberry jam has been smeared over the track rather then a realistic depiction of the injuries sustained.
Freestyle Metal X includes numerous environments to unlock such as a stunt arena, farm, city and beach. Each of the environments are heavily detailed with relevant objects and are very expansive, in fact they are huge. They are definitely some of the biggest levels seen in an extreme sports game to date. Each of the environments as mentioned before feature tasks and are built for tricks. You will find lots of ramps and other objects to use to create tricks. The environments are also semi-destructible with fences breaking and the completion of some tasks altering the level.
Freestyle Metal X also includes a level editor. It gives you quite a large arena to play with and to place objects you select them from a menu. Its quite easy to use and you can test the track without having saved it. Thankfully the save game from the career mode doesn’t take up much space on the memory card which can let you create tracks and not have to swap or change memory cards frequently.
The graphics in Freestyle Metal X are one of the negatives to report with this game. As mentioned before the rag doll animations after falls are quite good and the environments are heavily detailed. It’s just not very aesthetically pleasing to look at with bland colours used and blocky buildings. It’s by no means a game with bad graphics, but they could have used a little more polish.
Overall Freestyle Metal X will appeal to you if you like motocross games and want to do something else rather then ride around racing in motocross arenas. The controls are quite easy to use and some of the tasks can be interesting and enjoyable. A little more polish could have put this up there with some of the best extreme sports games but as it stands a rental at first is the best advice for most gamers.
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