What do you get when you mix a tried and true formula with a few new twists and turns? Apparently something called Aggressive Inline by Z-Axis, developers of Dave Mirra BMX Freestyle franchise.
What first appears to be just another Tony Hawk rip off quickly reveals itself to be anything but. Sure, they share a lot of the same elements after all, how different can you make an extreme sports title of this nature? Comparing these two games however is like comparing Super Mario 64 to Conker's Bad Fur Day. They're both 3D platformers, but would you really call them the same game? Just because one started the genre doesn't mean another can't breathe new life into it.
Easily the most significant change comes in with the addition of an RPG like attribute system. This is one of those "why didn't they think of this before?" scenarios. This is the first time a realistic stat improvement system has been implemented into an extreme sports title. Practice makes perfect, and you'll be spending many long hours working up your grinding and manual skills amongst several other tricks and traits.
And where better to expand on your abilities than in one of seven massive levels. Actually, massive isn't the word for it, these levels upon first glimpse are just huge, but with a little exploring you'll find new sections of that level that either double or triple the size of where you've just been. Even after that there's still the secret areas that can be unlocked by finding keys hidden throughout the game. The only other game of recent memory with freely exploring levels of this scale and sheer fun is Grand Theft Auto 3. That's a hefty comment, but after you've started exploring, I'm sure you'll agree.
When it comes to control, Aggressive Inline borrows from familiar territory. Anyone who's played other similar titles should be able to quickly pick up on Aggressive Inline's simple and to the point trick execution. Don't worry though, if you're new to the world of extreme sports gaming Aggressive Inline boasts an in-depth tutorial level that should make pulling off an abstract counter-clockwise flatspin as easy as burning toast. I found myself performing some insane chain linked combo's in no time, and trust me, if an RPG freak like me who's use to the elementary level of control in Final Fantasy games can do it, you can too.
Aggressive Inline is like music to my ears and so is its soundtrack. Now, I have to admit I'm generally not one for hardcore rock, but I found myself singing along to "Your Disease" by Saliva after the first few hours playing. Of course there's a few more radio familiar songs on here too like Hoobastank's "Crawling in the Dark" and Sublime's "Wrong Way". If I had to make any complaints in the music department though, it would be that there just doesn't feel like enough tracks are available. Although there is enough music to fill a CD here, you have to put into consideration that you'll be playing this game a lot more than just the average CD length of 60 or so minutes. I had every song memorized by the end of my first day playing.
If I had any other gripes with this game it would be the complete lack of a player creation option. This isn't exactly a big deal, but it's always fun to make up your own little hellion to wreck havoc throughout the streets, especially against your friends in multiplayer matches. Oh, and not to forget there was the occasional falling through the floor bug Aggressive Inline seems to have caught. On several instances when I would go to perform a trick close to a corner or tight area I would suddenly find myself falling through an abyss of nothingness. This can get rather annoying when you're just about to break your highest trick score with a killer combo and it's suddenly ruined by a glitch in the game.
Bottom Line: Aggressive Inline is an addictive and interesting new twist to the extreme sports genre. If you're bored with your summer and need to kill off several weeks of your life, or you're just biding time until Tony Hawk 4 comes out, I would recommend picking up this fun and somewhat overlooked title at your local rental or retail store today. Now where can I find a good pair of inline skates?
· · · Yeas