For once I actually wanted a game to be more difficult.
If there is one genre that the PlayStation Network is lacking it is the Urban Trials genre. We all know how much of a huge success Trials HD has been on Xbox Live Arcade and Urban Trial Freestyle looks to bring that sort of action to the PS3. Sadly the game seems to lack some of the things that make Trials HD so addicting.
As a quick refresher if you don’t know about the game, Urban Trial Freestyle has you riding a motorbike through different environments with hazards and obstacles abound. The game’s controls are physics-based so you will have to be shifting weight around to clear barricades or leaning back to get some extra height off a ramp. There are two different gameplay types in UTF, Time Trials and Stunt levels, each offering up different way to tackle the stage.
In Time Trial you will be racing against ghost of a player that sits atop the leaderboards. Here it is all about hitting the ramps with just the right speed and angle so that you can chain as much of the level as possible at full speed. I did have some issues with ghost data seemingly being false where I would finish ahead of said ghost yet my score would not beat the time listed.
Stunt mode has you going through the same levels that you raced on but with a small twist at certain sections. Now when you come up to selected ramps there will be different type of stunt you need to perform. The game does a good job of letting you know what the top score is at these spots with green lines showing the current world record, as well as showing the PSN avatar of that person on a billboard. One thing that bugged me though was that you could break this record even if you don’t lock the score in. Say you manage to go through a speed gate at a blazing fast speed but end up crashing before it registers the score in the level. A quick reset shows that you now hold that record. It is kind of cheap and I wish this didn’t happen as most of the time keeping yourself steady to the checkpoint is the real challenge. I also wasn’t really a fan of doing flips, the stiff controls which work well for doing everything else made it really tough to get high scores on flip areas.
Each stage also has cash bags that are hidden about and they are shared between stunt and time trial mode. Some of them are easily obtainable in one mode and many require some backtracking or going down a different path. You use this money to either buy cosmetic upgrades for you rider or performance parts for the bike. I really didn’t bother with changing the look of my racer, so I just dumped all my money into the bike. It really helps when you need to replay some stages to get more stars which are score based and used to unlock levels.
I was really looking forward to for the game to be difficult, as that is the norm with these types of games. Sadly the “kick you in the pants” difficulty was not there. I finished every level with relative ease, and not even with a fully maxed out bike. Sure I could go back and try to get all 5 stars on each stage, but nothing is really there to draw me back. I hope that down the line there is some DLC released that cranks the difficulty up to 11,and hopefully it has no pneumatic platforms as those bits were the only troublesome parts.
It isn’t all bad though, Urban Trial Freestyle does do some things that I really enjoy. For one, I think the level design is really great. It is quite varied and there are a lot of scripted events that take place in the background. Most of the time these events will even force some changes on the track, like a cop car sliding in and becoming a ramp or a helicopter crashing and opening up a new path. The games seems to handle all of this with no sweat, other than the occasional screen tear.
So while Urban Trial Freestyle might not be the trials game you were expecting, it does offer up a fair amount of enjoyment. I was just left a little disappointed with the lack difficulty.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Chris K's Score:
What I Like:
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