Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Middle of the hill..."

With the list of extreme sports games growing at a fast rate, there is pretty much something for anyone who enjoys the BMX sport. Following in the footsteps of Dave Mirra with huge stages and a goal oriented game play, the essentials for a good biking title seem to be here but aren’t. Featuring well-known riders and locations is one thing, though the lack of tricks and even a user-friendly system of performing these tricks is something that will make this title lackluster regardless of the presentation. For those who have had enough of Mirra and his band of cronies, then this one might be worth a look.

What The Hell…

Mat Hoffman Pro BMX 2 attempts to be something that gives gamers and fans a taste of the world that is BMX freestyle with tricks, ramps, grinds and flatland tricks. However, from the start, you’ll find that although the stages and locations you ride through have plenty of ramps and places to grind from, the lack of tricks becomes apparent in just a couple of minutes. The riders, while diverse in what they are capable of, seem to go from the same limited trick sets that copy one another. Add this into the fact that some of the more difficult goals require repeat performances, and you might find that the game is more frustrating than it is fun.

As for the rewards that you can receive for your efforts, you’ll find that the game offers you music to unlock as well as other gear and bikes as you progress through the game. Most of the rewards need to be found within each of the stages, and they are out of the way in most cases, meaning that you have to go through the same stage a few times in order to find just where the item is. The goals are progressive, and though they are challenging, the cryptic and sometimes lacking explanation of where the different goals must be completed can leave a taste of aggravation in the mouth.

Another feature that the game play severely lacks on is the ability to perform more than a handful of tricks. While the game does offer some of the more impressive tricks that the sport showcases, you’ll find that linking them together with different variations is something that is left out of the equation. Flatland tricks and grinding tricks can be giving small variations on how they look and how they are performed, so you’ll have to learn to master those. In order to gain any sort of high scoring trick lines, you’ll find that the use of smaller variations on the tricks with tweaking will increase the point multiplier and therefore help you to get the high points that you’ll need for some of the stage goals.

Multiplayer features are the standard for the game and you’ll find that your usual assortment of trick attack and point scoring is here along with a couple of other dull mini-games for you and your friends. One of the key points to the game play extras though is the ability to create your own park with various ramps, grinds and bowls to give you something worth riding on. However, the creation feature is short lived because there is only so much that you can pack into a small area and after you’ve used it in the multiplayer games a few times, it loses its appeal. Again, another disappointment to add into the rest of the game play that already has its fair share of problems.

Control is another feature that Mat Hoffman seems to be lacking in simply because unless you can use the analog stick, your rider will move stiffly. From time to time, the use of the analog is essential in order to get your rider to go in the direction that you want them to move. The tricks aren’t as easy to pull off though, in which you have to use multiple taps and button presses in order to hit a good looking and point-scoring trick. To make matters worse, there is no in game instruction on how to use the tricks and there is no instruction or listing for the tricks that are available. While the thought of trick discovery is well planned, the lack of tricks makes it a short and confusing journey.

Diaries Of A Biker…

A key point to the presentation of the game is the fact that live video clips by the riders and their experiences on the road accentuate each stage and leg of the road trip. You’ll be able to see the world of riding through their eyes and the general mayhem and humor that shows how much fun the sport actually is with each passing stage. As you progress through the game, you’ll see what each rider has seen and how they feel about different aspects of the trip in question. Video of bails and mistakes as well as conquering personal fears almost makes this seem to be an ESPN special much like the Tony Hawk tour during the summer.

The locations that you ride in and the tricks that you pull off are all done with realism and care, and there isn’t much in this case that you’ll find wrong with the way that things are designed. The tricks that you do happen to have show off some detail and animation, as well as the smaller effects such as cuts in the video where an event happens and even blood smearing when you crash hard into the ground and slide a bit. However, the lack of tricks comes into play again simply because you have nothing worth looking at once you’ve seen the stages regardless of how crisp and clear the riders and stages are.

Be Bop And Hip Hop…

Another plus to the presentation of the game is the music tracks that accompany you throughout the locations. Through the successful exploration and locating of music CD’s that are scattered through some of the stages, you’ll be able to unlock more tracks to listen to during your play. The mixture of hip hop and trance music is apparent, though you really won’t find too much in terms of rock and roll and even some alternative. The audio effects include the video and audio clips that come through between each stage, but there is a lack of in-game sound that will make a mark on your ears once you’ve become accustom to the ambient sounds.

Prince Of Pain…

Mat Hoffman tries hard to de-throne the king of the BMX games, Dave Mirra, but lacks in the game play areas that would make this title a hit. While the locations are huge and the tricks are as real to what you’ll see in the X-Games, the lack of overall tricks and variations on said tricks makes for a rather boring experience. The visuals and the audio are done in good fashion with plenty of clean video clips, detailed locations and plenty of good tunes to accompany you. However, when you boil down the overall experience of the game, Dave Mirra has nothing to worry about from this title and this title should be the game that you rent when you’re tired of the King of Tailwhips.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/09/03, Updated 02/09/03

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