Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2

Review

posted 10/14/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2

Another year means another entry in an Activision O2 series and this time, it’s Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2. While last year’s version was horrifically flawed (the trick variety was horrible and the control scheme sucked) this year’s game sets out to correct all the unserviceable aspects and in most respects, it does just that.

Activision contracted Rainbow Studios to handle this iteration and their expertise really shines though. All that hard work spent on perfecting the physics for Motocross Madness 1 & 2 have gone a long way in recreating the feel of BMX riding. While the physics and controls of the game are serviceable, it’s the basic foundation of the game that proves to be this game’s Achilles Heel.

In order to progress through the game, you’ll have to participate in a Road Trip mode, which is basically the game’s career mode. It’s told in a Documentary-style fashion that unfolds through a series of video clips for each of the game’s riders. Without a doubt, this is the best presentation that the Xtreme Sports genre has to offer. It really shows the camaraderie and respect that the riders have for each other and tells the story in a fun and entertaining fashion. Most of the time, the only reason to progress through the game’s horrifically flawed levels is to witness the next video clip.

Speaking of goal structure, Mat Hoffman 2 features perhaps, the worst implementation of this feature to date. It works in this manner, you’ll have to accomplish 12 goals on each of the game’s levels. Sounds fine right? Well there’s a problem, the 12 goals are broken up into groups of 4, 3 for each level of difficulty and in order to move up to the next level of difficulty, you must complete the current level that you’re on. This means that I’m forced to go back into the levels over and over again, even if I can complete the goals in one run. In doing so, the designers have created something I like to call ‘artificial replay value’ and it really becomes bothersome, especially when you realize that 120,000 point run will go to naught because you’re still stuck on the semi-pro level that features only a 50,000 point goal. This means that instead of being able to accomplish all the point total goals in one run (a la Tony Hawk) you’ll have to actually go back and garner the point total again. It’s very annoying and unrewarding, especially to those who have little to no patience.
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