Review: Urban Trial Freestyle
Combine all of the best qualities of the Trial series and mix them up with a cross between Sin City and World War Z and you get Urban Trial Freestyle; and that’s a very good thing.
As mentioned, anyone with any kind of familiarity with Trials: Evolution, or the flash games of old, will get into Freestyle straight away. It couldn’t be simpler; get from A to B whilst traversing the environment. Shifting your rider forward and backwards to gain speed and head up hills, whilst combining acceleration to ensure your biker stays attached to said bike. The physics are absolutely spot on and you never feel that the game is punishing you unfairly. Tracks get more and more difficult as the game progresses but only in line with the challenges, you, the player, should be used too as the learning curve isn’t harsh, nor does it spike ridiculously.
Each level has a speed run through and a separate set of challenges. These consist of the longest jump, fastest speed and precision positioning on certain targets as you head through the area. Bored of the in-game stages and challenges? Head online for more. Each challenge that you do in game is directly linked to other player’s scores as well so you can compete without having to exit out of the single player. Multiplayer has the same amount of drive and fun as the single player but lacks the same impact; although there is a ghost to show what your competitor is doing it still feels like you are playing against an AI which is a bit of a shame.
So far so standard right? Wrong. Now try and do all of that whilst avoiding trains, bridge collapses, riots, fires and the general apocalypse as you know it. Tame is everything that Urban Trial Freestyle is not and this is what gives it so much more charm and an injection of adrenaline. It’s all very well completing these challenges in a normal setting but the added buzz of being caught in the middle of a police raid, jumping between buildings to get away from a helicopter crash or even scaring the living daylights of the few people in this game that have jobs and aren’t rioting (weird I know) makes it all the more satisfying. Each stage gives you a different scenario and none of them feel stale.
Cash bonuses within each level also allows you to personalise your modern day Zorro and his bike. A bigger engine gives you a needed boost for speed but makes it much more difficult to control. A new chassis will give you control but hamper the power of your bike. Although these decisions soon become meaningless after enough play time (with the top set of everything you tend to have the best acceleration and handling) it definitely gives further impetus to keep replaying to allow your avatar to be kitted out in the best equipment fake money can buy.
Graphics jump between good to okay and are nothing to write home about but aren’t too shabby either. The explosions and settings are painted well and the frame rate never drops even when everything is going to hell around you. The style works within the framework of the game but the music does get monotonous after hearing the same song over and over again.
To sum up
Although it could be said that the developers simply ripped off Trials: Evolution, added a bit of grit and sass and bunged it out for the gaming population that would be incredibly unfair. Urban Trial Freestyle stands up on its own two feet, and two wheels, and has more than enough depth for you to dip in and out or head for a marathon session. It’s well worth a buy and is highly recommended simply because driving like a bat out of hell when the world falls apart around you never gets old.
Urban Trial Freestyle is available on PlayStation Network, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS and now on Steam for £11.99/$14.99 / €13.99.
Version reviewed: PC