Mark McMorris Infinite Air Review (PS4)
"What were they thinking?!"
That thought came to me time and time again as I tried to play Infinite Air. If the wonky and very poorly designed control scheme was not baffling enough, it was the mechanics themselves that made enjoying Mark McMorris Infinite Air seemingly impossible.
Simply put, this is one of the worst sports games of the year.
There are some basic elements in place with Infinite Air that make you think you are about to embark upon a pretty fun experience. The open worlds and ability to drop in just about anywhere -- along with the pretty solid graphics -- make you think for a moment that fun is about to be had.
Then you drop from the chopper and begin your ride.
First off, the controls are ridiculously difficult. Want to keep up speed down the mountain? You have to move your left analog stick left to right, but it can't be a smooth motion or your rider will switch orientation and instantly slow you down.
Then there's the imprecise move loading. The guide says about a second of loading a move is the right call to get the maximum effect, and that does seem to be the case. But there's no real guide and no real feeling of control when you start a spin or especially a flip.
Oh the flips.
You can slow your spins down somewhat, but when it comes to flips you are at the mercy of your timing and good fortune in terms of landing them. Literally landing a flip is...a flip of the coin.
I'll be here all night.
"The design decisions that went into Infinite Air make it seem like there was real intent to create a frustrating experience."
And worse yet, your run (whatever it is you are trying to do) is over if you mess up. Miss a trick and fall on your butt? You have to start the whole thing over and hope for the best.
And don't push square (on the PS4). All I know is that it instantly starts you over. So if you are making a great run and finally not messing, a misplaced button push will end it all instantly.
The design decisions that went into Infinite Air make it seem like there was real intent to create a frustrating experience. With that in mind, the goal was met. There's nothing about the gameplay experience of Infinite Air that's truly enjoyable, which is a shame because it does seem like the underlying mechanics powering the game could be quite enjoyable with a better designed riding experience.
The bright spot in Infinite Air is the inclusion of open worlds and a seemingly endless list of things to do down the mountains.
While the whole experience isn't quite clearly explained, once you start figuring out how runs work you'll start finding that there's a lot of depth here.
You can do timed races, half-pipes, runs down the mountain with trick scores as the main goal and more. If you can figure out the gameplay's wonky design, you'll have some fun with the variety of options available.
I'm not going to lie, in its current state, Infinite Air is just not a playable title for most people. You are going to have to overlook a lot of big flaws to find the enjoyment this game could offer.
The only positive this game has is how the open-worlds concept was designed, as its actually cleverly done. A game with far better gameplay mechanics would be wise to take some notes on how Infinite Air handles the open-world extreme sports concept.
The only people I'd recommend this to are hardcore snowboarding fans who simply don't want to play the other titles on the market right now. Even then, you may be better served skipping this.
Score: 3 (Subpar)