Can you say Tony Hawk Pro Skater but with a bike? Yeah, I knew
you could. Don't get me wrong though, I don't say that as a bad
thing. Tony Hawk 2 has quite possibly created a tidal wave of
"posers" within the gaming community and Dave Mirra Freestyle
BMX may very well do the same. Case in point: though in reality I
don't "shred", I can tell you fairly accurately what a McTwist is or
how to do a kickflip. When it comes to any flavour of sports game,
usually we see the major titles go to EA Sports or 989 Studios.
However, what might better be described as Extreme Sports are
being covered well by other publishers. Competition breeds
quality (though Microsoft would have you believe otherwise
Freestyle BMX offers three styles of gameplay, including freeride,
session and proquest. Forgive me if I draw several parallels to
THPS throughout this review but the two game's formats are very
similar. Proquest involves accomplishing various objectives to
advance from stage to stage. Freeride allows you to practice your
moves. Session does the same but with a time limit.
Before setting forth on your Proquest tour, you can select from
Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Troy McMurray, Mike Laird, Chad Kagy,
Tim Mirra, Kenan Harkan, Shaun Butler, Leigh Ramsdell or Joey
Garcia. Each player has his own combination of strengths and
weaknesses and ultimately "feels" different when played.
Proquest is also subdivided into three categories of varying
difficulty: amateur, pro and hardcore. As you advance through the
stages, you'll earn new sponsors, leading to new bikes and new
gear. Unlike THPS, there is no cash system with which to increase
abilities. Each rider does begin with certain levels of ability in Air,
Speed, Spins and Balance. These levels will increase as you
progress through the various stages.
There are twelve different maps to work your way through, many
based on real locations, such as the Woodward compound in
central Pennsylvania. The levels are all rather well designed but
lack the depth of THPS's levels. The lack of a level editor is a bit of
a drawback but seeing that there is so much variety with stunts
and achieving personal bests, it doesn't detract too much from the
overall impression you get of this game.
Level objectives are also a lot easier to find due to the intuitive
and un-obtrusive in-game hints. When starting out, you are guided
through the use of the various buttons and when you approach
objectives, they light up and you are once again reminded what to
do. Personally, I thought this was a nice touch because sometimes
I had trouble locating key areas.
DMFBMX is very easy to control, using either the keyboard or a
GamePad. You control your rider's tricks, mods, grinds and jumps
as well as spin direction. Personally, I find that if you can optimize
the amount of functions a limited number of buttons do, it makes
learning the controls easier, as well as cutting down on the
confusion factor. It's for this reason I tend not to stray towards flight
Different moves are very easy to do, seeing that there is really only
a "Trik" and a "Grind" button. You can view move lists from within
the game without having to end your run and the use of the "Mod"
(modifier) button allows for the mixing of any trick with any other
to achieve more than 1,300 different moves.
Though not graphically stunning and reeking of a console port,
DMFBMX does sport nice backgrounds and character animations.
"Z-Axis' proprietary Skeletal Dynamics System (SDS) generates
real-time crashes that are different every time". This is a kind of
cool feature compared to the THPS stock bail that occurs almost
every time. The graphics occasionally clip and there are a lot of
hard angles but aside from that, no major weaknesses. I must add
that the one truly disappointing feature of this title is the use of AVI
for movies. For those that are familiar with the inadequacies of the
AVI format, they can appreciate my complaint. The DMFBMX
videos are done at 320x200 and for those of use who aren't playing
this title on a PSX, when enlarged to 1024x768, they look
downright crappy. I've got one word for you guys: BINK.
Following in the footsteps of THPS, an excellent line up of bands
has been chosen for DMFBMX, including Primer, 59 Times the
Pain, Cypress Hill, Deftones, Dropkick Murphy's, Pennywise,
Rancid, Social Distortion, Sublime and Swinging Utters.
Whether Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX gives Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
a run for its money remains to be seen. Personally, they've both
got a home on my HD. This also being a plus for DMFBMX, it only
requires like 230MB. Anyhow, this title boasts a very high replay
value, an excellent soundtrack and some downright wicked tricks.
[09/10] Overall Impression