More Reviews
REVIEWS Firefall Review
Repetitive gameplay makes this fall a little boring.

The Walking Dead: Season Two Review
At this point, you’re not coming back for the zombies. Let’s get down to business.
More Previews
PREVIEWS This War of Mine Preview
Finally, a post-apocalypse that has nothing to do with zombies.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Destiny
Release date: 09/09/14

FIFA 15
Release date: 09/23/14

Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Release date: 09/23/14

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14


LATEST FEATURES And I Was All "Hell Yeah I'll Play a New Dreamcast Game"
I just played a Dreamcast game that was released in... wait, 2014?

A Comprehensive Guide to Dealing with Controversy in the Video Game Industry
Need help wading through the latest misogyny/homophobia/racism/corruption debate in the gaming industry? Paul Tamburro’s here to help!
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP samsmith614 Since game design is a business, I decided to see what's really selling well for the PS4. I did this search a week ago, and at the time, out of the top 20 bestsellers on Amazon 10 had not even been released yet. By now some have been released. But others still have not. And yet others...

Freestyle Review

By:

08/01/98
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE  
PLAYERS 00 
PUBLISHER  
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE  

Sidewinder Freestyle Pro

PC Hardware Review
Category PC Controller
Review Date 8/98
Company Microsoft


by Baldric


If you're anything like me, there's somebody important in your life who doesn't play video games. In this case, its my wife. But it could just as easily be your mother or your girlfriend, or even your boyfriend.

Here is my problem:

When I bring home a groovy new piece of hardware for my PC or PSX, my wife turns to me and says, "That's nice dear. You can take that out of our house as soon as you like." When I express my reluctance and try to convince her of the merits of having a steering wheel clamped to the desk, she starts to suggest that the rest of the house might look better with lots of little lacy doilies and glass figurines of animals. The wheel returns to the Game Revolution office. Yin and Yang. The balance is maintained.

So while I have been able to keep a gamepad tucked away where it cannot be seen, my ActLabs RS Wheel is not allowed to live on our desk (nor the pedals underneath). The compassionate, friendly company that is Microsoft has decided to see personally to my needs (and perhaps a few others of you out there).

Introducing the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro. The Freestyle is an innovative new controller that looks and works like a gamepad, but doubles as a flightstick. It can do this because any direction you tilt the controller is registered by the computer. Tilt the Freestyle forward and it's like pushing your flightsick forward. Tilt slightly to the left or right to bank, or tilt harder to barrel roll.

This is not the first time this type of controller has been made. I even had a device for my Intellivision called 'the glove' which worked similarly, but required you to install sensors at the corners of your TV.

However, the Freestyle is the first controller to use a solid state sensor that actually senses the gravity field of the Earth (or planet of your choice) by measuring the flow of electrons in a special chip. This means that there is no little internal pendulum or gyroscope to wear out or break. I actually even bashed the controller against the side of a moving car (long story) which marred the outside a bit, but left it functioning perfectly.

Ergonomically, the pad is great. It is shaped a bit like the PlayStation game controller, but it is a little larger for more adult hands. It has a nice 6 button layout and 2 triggers. The throttle is a rubber wheel in the center that you can turn with your right thumb. In tilty flightstick mode, the D-pad functions as the hat-switch, but switching to gamepad mode is as easy as hitting a single button.

Installation is a snap. The Sidewinder software installs easily and automatically detects the Freestyle. The software allows you to fully customize the controller functions and even emulate the keyboard, saving different configurations for different games (I hate controlling Lara Croft with the keyboard).

As a gamepad, it works... well... like a gamepad. It has good, solid control and the same full custom options. Having established that, let's move on to the more interesting part of the Freestyle: all that tilting.

As a flightstick, the Freestyle takes a bit of getting used to. The response is fast and surprisingly accurate, but this is a control method you won't recognize at first. You have to remember to keep those tilts steady and not react reflexively (when you get hit by a missile, for example).

The most intuitive control is with motorcycle racing games, which is why the Freestyle comes bundled with Microsoft's Motocross Madness. Just tilt the controller like the handlebars: within minutes you'll be cruising along side of Peter Fonda for some easy riding. Peace, man.

Flying your favorite aircraft sim takes a little more patience. All the controls you need are there, and with some practice, there's no reason the Freestyle couldn't be just as effective as a desktop flightstick. However, the Freestyle just doesn't "put you in the cockpit" the way that a flightstick does.

Finally, the controller is weakest with action games like Unreal. You will quickly get toasted by people using a keyboard/mouse or the SpaceOrb. On the other hand, nobody ever uses flightsticks for those games, anyway.

What I'm saying here is that the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro is a great compromise controller for those of you with space or budgetary restrictions. Or even if there's just a woman (or man) in your house whose decorating tastes do not mesh with geeky video game paraphernalia.

For flight sim junkies, this will never replace your flightstick and aileron pedals. You racing buffs will want to keep your wheels and pedals, also. However, the Freestyle is a great little controller that does everything without taking up any space or making you crawl behind the computer to plug in a new controller every time you want to play. If you only want one controller in your life, this is a great choice.


Revolution report card
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Freestyle


More On GameRevolution