Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/28/01 | Genre: Sports
Obviously taking a hint from the success of Activision's Tony Hawk series, Acclaim decided to try its hand at the extreme sports genre and ended up going with BMX biking (among other things). Now Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2, developed by Z-Axis, has hit several consoles including your beloved Xbox. Let's see how this one turned out, shall we?
First of all, if you've played any of the Tony Hawk games, then you already know how this game works. The gameplay is almost exactly the same as in the THPS games, only now you're doing tricks on a bike. There are several different game modes to play, but the meat of the game is found in the Proquest mode. This is essentially the same thing as the career mode found in THPS. You choose a rider, and complete different objectives in order to advance to new levels and to unlock new bikes. You must earn the respect of other riders by completing the tasks they set before you, and eventually you also take part in some competitions where you can take home a gold, silver or bronze medal.
By now, we've all come to expect great things from the Xbox in the visual department, and Dave Mirra does not disappoint. It doesn't look outstanding, but it's not total garbage either, and while some of the areas look a little dull, the sheer size of them is undeniably impressive. The riders look pretty basic, but the animation is fairly good. Though it must be said, once you get over the size of the environments, you really won't find much to get excited about.
One of the more noticeable things about this game is that it takes advantage of what is undoubtedly one of the Xbox's coolest features: the ability to create your own soundtrack. And it's a good thing too; if you don't like rap or hardcore music, you won't find the game's original soundtrack appealing in the least. This feature is something that I would REALLY like to see more games take advantage of; kudos to the developer for including it.
Admittedly, the game does have its faults. By far the worst offense involves controlling your biker. It's nearly impossible to turn your character around without some difficulty. Sometimes you'll end up riding backwards as you struggle to get going in the right direction, and other times you'll be stuck in a confined space, bouncing retardedly off the objects around you. Another problem is the fact that it just downright feels like you're playing a ripoff of Tony Hawk, and let's face it, you are. Also, a good number of the games environments feel incredibly uninspired and quickly leave you rather bored.
In the end, you just can't shake the Tony Hawk feeling, and even though the developers were able to cram two bonus levels into the Xbox and GCN versions, it still isn't reason enough to buy the game. For now, Tony Hawk easily holds on to the crown in this genre, now go play his game instead.