EA Sports heard our cries for improvements, and answered them with a revised SX title for the Playstation console. The poor gameplay of the 2000 title has been, for the most part, resolved. No longer does your rider stop mid corner in the infamous fly-paper effect which doomed the previous game. Not only did EAS get rid of the more bothersome aspects of it’s predecessor, but they expanded the reach of SX 2001 to include the better parts of Freestyle, Arenacross and the Women’s MX League as well!
Let’s begin with the most enhanced feature of the game, the feel! The physics have been dramatically improved. This allows gamers to control their bike better than they had in the past. Both on the track and in the air, the new bike physics models are truly evident. Then there is the new and improved AI, which makes the opposition better than before. These changes will have you tearing it up like a seasoned veteran in the first two levels, but the fun really starts on the Pro level. Don’t expect to be able to dominate the Pro class like you can in the first two!
Where do you get to witness the enhanced intelligence of the new competition? How about at all of the official tracks from the 2000 EA Sports Supercross Series, and a few outdoor venues thrown in for good measure. If racing doesn’t suit your style, don’t be discouraged because this is more than just a racing title! They have included a host of Freestyle courses for the purveyors of insane aerial antics as well. As you progress through the game you open more and more special levels in both the Freestyle and SX modes.
How cool is the Freestyle? Well it deserves it’s own review! You can choose to be any one of the big name Freestyle riders, ranging from Metz, Deegan, Hart, Jones and Adoptante to any of the SX riders. The game allows you to show off through a large selection of sick stunts. Of course we could not get our rider to perform anything other than a nac-nac for the first hour! Once we got it figured out (It’s not that difficult after all), things got really interesting!
Check out the compound if you need proof of the improved physics model. Do you feel like jumping the house? No? How about a spin in the empty pool then! When you get the hang of how to control the bike in the air, it makes the game so much more fun. Since you cannot get hurt trying to bust big air on the screen, go for it! The more you jump the better you look. The better you look the better you feel, so shut and jump, just land on one wheel! (Sorry, the Grinch made me do that!). Basically we have to give two thumbs up to the freestyle mode.
OK, enough of the Freestyle kudos, lets talk Supercross! The announcers for this particular game are David Bailey and the venerable Art Eckman. They run some serious smack and the play by play is improved over past EAS titles. The sound effects are typical two stroke buzz, but it is close enough for our taste. The controls are simple enough to allow the younger players to have a load of fun, but there are enough buttons that it should keep the more experienced gamers in uniform blisters across 4 to 6 digits.
All of the top 25 EA Sports sponsored riders appear to be in this game. Kevin Windham, Sebasten Tortelli, John Dowd, Larry Ward, Heath Voss, Tim Ferry and Mike LaRocco lead the way. Veterans like Jeff Emig and Robbie Reynard have their careers extended here in EA Sports world. Arenacross riders Buddy Antunez and Denny Stephenson get their shot as well. Not enough selection? How about the best women MX riders: Stefy Bau and Jessica Patterson! Want to test the mettle of the Freestyle guys against the best in SX? Then do it. I found it was fun to play as Deegan with his typical shirtless attire, topped off with only a Mulisha chest protector.
Unfortunately we did not spend an extensive period of time playing this game, so we may have missed a few points here and there. The most important thing is that we did see great improvements over the previous title, and we plan on adding this to our upcoming head to head comparo between this and the other new SX/MX titles for 2001.
If you have a motorcycle junkie in your family and you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer, then run down to your local game shop and grab yourself a copy.