Longtime game publisher Activision jumped into the counter culture sports gaming arena not too long ago by adding a new gaming division to their ranks. Known as O2, this side branch of Activision specializes in ‘extreme sports’ or ‘X-games’, which in the past had been mostly ignored by the general populace. The times have changed, however, and now it seems that ‘Extreme Sports’ are all the rage, with O2 tapping into this phenomena with the subtlety of a .10 gauge catheter. Their latest release for the PC, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX, joins the ranks of such great games as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Shaun Palmer’s Snowboarder, and Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer series of games by providing an exciting gaming experience mimicking the best of what the BMX sport has to offer.
Those unfamiliar with the overall sport of BMX will still most likely have head of Mat Hoffman, arguably the most prolific and recognized name in the sport. In Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX, you get the chance to step into the shoes of the 10 time world vert champion (the person who gets the highest off of a ramp without crashing to the ground) along with 7 other top BMX professionals (including such well known names as Mike Escamilla, Cory Nastazio, and Rick Thorne), performing hundred of freestyle tricks in a variety of realistic vert, street, jump, and dirt courses. Each Pro has multiple tricks available to perform on those various courses and environments, including a set of ‘signature’ tricks available on to that individual that give them their own real life notoriety within the BMX world.
Utilizing an updated version of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater engine developed by Neversoft, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX features many of the same controls, modeling, and graphics that made its skateboarding cousin so popular. The game controls are fairly easy to learn, allowing even the greenest gamer the ability to dive right into the game and use the hundreds of tricks and combos available. The graphics and in-game modeling are highly detailed (even more so than Pro Skater), giving a nice bit of realism to the pro’s and their surrounding, right down to the stubble on Hoffman’s face.
Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX contains multiple modes of play which allow for greater diversity in gameplay as well as greater replayability. The single player modes include Single Session and Free and a career mode that enables the player the flexibility to upgrade their bike and character stats as the game progresses, tailoring their Pro to fit their particular needs. The game also contains a multiplayer mode that allows players to go head-to-head in two-player competition in split screen Trick Attack and Graffiti as well as in H.O.R.S.E.
Some other interesting attributes of the game are included that make Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX stand out among other titles within the same genre. The game designers have opted to include a BMX Course Editor that allows players to create their own fields of play in real-time 3-D, allowing for over a hundred different variations of in-game obstacles including ramps, rails, funboxes, and the like. This adds an unbelievable amount of replayability to the game, which is only hampered by the gameplayers own creativity. It also gives way for the ability to download new maps and scenarios created by professional and amateur designers in the future.
Overall, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX is a
solid and entertaining game that should appeal to both fans and newcomers of the
BMX sport. The gameplay is solid and fun, and the already proven graphics engine
has been greatly improved to allow for even more detail in the game. The ability
to tailor the game to your own needs as well as the course editing tools allows
for some of the best replayability to be seen in this specific genre of sports
gaming. More likely than not, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX will be a game that finds
quite a long life on even the casual gamers hardrive and computer system.