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Score: 97%
Developer: Thrustmaster


So, you like 'boarding? Into snowboarding, skateboarding or even surfing? Well, if so, you probably fall into one of two categories: those who actually try the sport, or those who merely play the videogames of the sport. Well, those who actually get out there in the real world and work up a sweat will tell you that you're not actually doing anything when you sit there with a controller in your hand - no matter how many points you can make. I fit somewhere in the middle. I've been on a skateboard a few times, but I'm far from expert at it. I do realize that it takes stamina and skill - and that you can get REAL tired REAL fast when you are 'boarding. Thrustmaster's FreeStyler sort of 'bridges the gap'. Now - you can get a small taste of the control and skill needed to simply control a skateboard or snowboard - with just a hint of that physical exertion I mentioned...


First of all, let me state that the FreeStyler does not incorporate 'jump' sensing. In other words, you don't jump on the FreeStyler. Actually jumping on the Freestyler could only result in injury, a broken FreeStyler or losing control in the game.

Now, that having been said, you CAN make your character in the game jump - in a couple of ways. First, there are two large foot-activated buttons on the FreeStyler - one on the front and one on the back. These can be tricky to (accurately) press at the right time, but as in all things, practice makes perfect. if you don't like to use the buttons on the 'board, or for that matter, if you wish to use them for something other than jumping, you can use the built-in one-handed controller. If you don't like their one-handed controller, there's also a port built onto the 'board that allows you to use your own controller instead.

Okay, I've said a LOT, but how does it work!? Very well. Not only does it accurately approximate the physics of trying to control a skateboard or snowboard, it also gives gamers a workout. Throw in the programmable buttons on the 'board and you've got a pretty nice controller - use it with whatever boarding games you want to. Enjoy.

  • High Quality Construction
  • Compatible with PlayStation, PSOne and PS2
  • Realistic Shape for Accurate Skateboard / SnowBoard Feel
  • One-Hand Controller for Tricks, etc.
  • Built-In Port for Use with your own Gamepad
  • 2 Programmable Foot-Actived buttons
  • Non-Slip Surface for Greater Stability
  • Tilt Sensor for Left/Right 'Steering' Control
  • Provides a Workout for Gamers
  • Cords are Over 6 feet long

Drawbacks & Problems::

There are two things about the FreeStyler that are most likely to bother a gamer. However, it's more likely that only one of them will bother any given gamer, depending on that gamer's skill at 'boarding. Beginners will find that the FreeStyler is hard to control and is very tiring to use. This is true. For that matter, so is actually using a skateboard or snowboard. In fact, the FreeStyler is MUCH easier to control - for one thing, you're not actually moving at high speeds!

Those gamers who are more skilled at 'boarding may be sad to find that there's not a way to have the FreeStyler monitor 'jumping actions' in real-life and translate them to the appropriate jumping actions in the game. This would require a lot more technology (and therefore, a lot more cash...) and would leave those beginners scratching their heads in confusion (and disgust...).

So, for the mainstream-ish market (a.k.a. 'a large enough group to support mass production of a product'), the Thrustmaster FreeStyler is the best balance of accuracy and difficulty.

As far as minor notes go, I would have preferred to see the one-handed controller made as a removable controller instead of hardwired. It's far from a major thing, but if I want to use a different controller, I don't see why I should still have to have their hand held controller still attached to the board...

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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