Urban Trial Freestyle
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Tate Multimedia S.A. (Tate Interactive and Strangelands)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for Mild Violence
Those with access to PSN or the PS Vita, you probably already know exactly what Urban Trial Freestyle is. After all, it started off as a PSN game available for the PS3. Then it made the jump to the PS Vita. And now it has made another jump away from the PlayStation nation and onto the humble Nintendo 3DS in a fairly faithful port. For those who don’t know, it’s a motorcycle game that’s more about doing awesome tricks within a certain amount of time. There’s really not much else to say, so let’s just dive into Urban Trial Freestyle.
Urban Trial Freestyle is one of those games with literally no story whatsoever, which is fine. As much as I am a sucker for a story, racing and action games don’t need it. It isn’t like this is Need for Speed. This is a game that’s really built up on three ideas: creation, customization and competition.
Urban Trial Freestyle‘s gameplay is pretty basic, but also challenging. You want to look good while driving fast. Players must try to do the best tricks and/or get the fastest times when your scores are uploaded to the online leaderboards. Make sure you don’t crash since each crash offers a 100-point penalty, and this game is about flashy scores. The way you avoid crashing is finding a proper balance between speed, balance and, when landing a jump, finding the proper angle. Oh, and you also need to avoid obstacles.
There is a lot that Urban Trial Freestyle does well, and there are things that could use a bit more work. To start off, the physics can be wonky. It’s not bad, but it could be better, especially for a game where the physics are such an important factor. Sometimes, in the same area, landing the exact same way with the same bike without further customization can lead to either success or a crash. The good thing is that it forces experimentation. Still, with the customizing feature, there’s tons of experimenting to be done.
Another thing that could use more work is the level of customizing that’s afforded in terms of the bikes. You can unlock three other bikes other than the one you start with in Urban Trial Freestyle. As you gain money, you can also unlock new gear for both your rider and your bike – including tires, engine and what looks like suspension. However, there could be more bikes available as well as more customizing options for the bikes. I guess it’s fine as is, but it could be so much more and so much better.
And now onto the good. With the online function, if your wifi isn’t acting up, you can compete with the scores posted by pretty much anyone who has played Urban Trial Freestyle, at least in terms of the 3DS version. It’s a standard feature for games like these, but works well. Especially if you know friends with the game. Wanting to constantly strive for a good score, a better score than your peers, added a lot of replay value for me.
The ability to make custom tracks is also pretty awesome and, while it might not be as intuitive in the 3DS version as it was on the PS Vita and PS3, it’s a good feature to have. This is particularly true with the whole social and custom play that’s been a growing factor through this generation and is a major factor of the coming complete generation. There’s still some kinks to work out, at least on the handheld side of things, but overall, it’s useful and pretty fun.
Lastly, Urban Trial Freestyle is, as I said earlier, challenging. It’s difficult, but not to the point of being punishing. And that’s something that a lot more games need. Because some games try to go for punishing difficulty, which has its appeal, but that appeal is very short lived. Other games err on the side of caution and actually make it far too easy. This one is one of the games that actually consistently makes it difficult but not impossible, so the fun factor remains. This, as said while referencing the competitive aspect, makes the game pretty addictive.
Here’s the finish line!
So, is Urban Trial Freestyle worth your money? The short answer is yes, but that comes with a but. If you don’t already have the PSN or PS Vita version and have a 3DS, then yes. Get it. Even with the quirks and the work stilled needed, you’re getting pretty much what you’re paying for, which can be pretty rare nowadays. If you’ve already got the PSN or PS Vita version and have a 3DS, you don’t need it, because it’s the same game and it looks a lot better on Sony’s platforms than it does here.