Review by THayes
"Inline skating makes its PS2 debut in this difficult and lengthy game"
There have been many extreme sports games released over the past few years. Starting with skateboards in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and then going on to BMX's (Mat Hoffman / Dave Mirra), snowboarding (Cool Boarders / Shaun Palmer), and even extreme scootering! I'd estimate there's been well over fifty extreme sports titles in the past few years, but not one of them had included inline skating. That is, until 2002, when a game came out that finally featured inline skating: Aggressive Inline.
The graphics in the levels are superb, and special attention has been given to make sure that each level is different from the other, and each level has something that stands out. On the Boardwalk level for example, there is a huge roller coaster track that orbits around the whole level. As with most extreme sports games on the PlayStation 2, there are detailed pedestrians walking around, which definitely gives the game a more realistic feel to it. And speaking of realism, Aggressive Inline excels in it: The characters skate, and fall, very realistically. The tricks, especially the grinds, are very accurately displayed. People with any knowledge of skating in real life will be able to do a trick in the game and know the name without even looking at the name displayed on the screen. Overall, the graphics are good in the game. They don't compare to games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, but despite the size of the levels, the graphics in AI retain their good quality throughout the game.
The music, which is a mix between rap and rock, is varied and fine to listen to for the first few times playing the game. The music does become tedious to listen to after a while, and more often than not I play the game with the sound off. There is a track selector in the options menu, so you can select the music tracks you want to listen to. The sound effects in the various levels are good, from the realistic grinding sound to the noise made by riding the ramps. I would have liked there to have been more varied music, perhaps even music grouped into styles.
Featuring absolutely massive levels and very realistic gameplay, Aggressive Inline is the one of the best extreme sports games on the PS2. It takes a very different approach to the genre, in that there's no time limit in Career Mode. This is good, as it gives you more time to explore the levels without worrying about the time. Another thing is that the game takes on a sort of RPG approach, meaning you have to build up your statistics over time. Whereas it's easy to level up at first, the more you want to improve on a statistic the harder it gets. I really like this idea, because it means people actually have to play the game to improve their skater, rather than buy stats or find statistics in the levels.
AI is far more difficult than any other extreme sport games I've played, and as there's so many challenges the game will last a long time. As with most extreme sports games, levels are opened by completing challenges. After eight challenges have been completed in a level, the next level will open up. Given that there can be over thirty challenges per level, at first I was a little disappointed that the maximum challenges you have to get to open the next level is eight. However, my disappointment vanished when I discovered that in order to open up the whole of a level, keys must be found in later levels. There are seven levels in all, and they are absolutely huge. Featuring a massive selection of ramps and rails, this is one game that won't be completed quickly.
If I could find any faults with this game it would be that it's a little too goal orientated - more specific trick challenges (such as doing a 540 over an object) would have been nice. Another thing which is not so much a fault, but more a minor thing that's been left out: Gaps. In my opinion, gaps are a vital part to extreme sports games, as they provide something else for the player to do after the game has been completed. They were in Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX 2 (which Z-Axis also made), so it's a shame that they weren't included in this game. Overall, this is a fun, realistic and very challenging extreme sports game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/22/02, Updated 01/10/04
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