Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX Preview
Z-Axis tried to make big waves when they first tried to compete against Tony Hawk by raising the Thrasher license from the dead. Thrasher: Skate and Destroy was a pretty decent skateboarding game, but didn't come close to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The game engine was based more on realistic terms rather than the more arcade fashion that Tony Hawk played like, some people despised the game for it, but I thought that the game was still reasonably good. Although Thrasher did have a number of flaws, the falls were dramatically overreacted and at times landing tricks was a bit difficult, on the other hand the soundtrack was unforgettable. Featuring legends like the Sugerhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy and Run DMC. As disappointing as it sounds Thrasher sold like s**t, the game never reached the sales point of Tony Hawk's success, but Z-Axis wasn't going to give up. Now they are stepping into the new era of extreme videogames and that is the BMX phase. Rivaling Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX and THQ's T.J. Lavin's BMX title, Z-Axis gets a hold of their very own BMX superstar Dave Mirra. We have a demo build of the game, learn more about it.
Right away when I started playing the game I felt that the game used the Thrasher engine the instant I started doing a grind. When you grind in Thrasher the skateboarder tilts to a side pretty fast and then jumps off at a certain time on occasion. Though I had to be sure so I purposely made Dave Mirra screw up and fall, that's when I was sure that this is the Thrasher engine. The falls were clearly toned down, but the way that the limbs were rotating around Dave Mirra's body proved to me that Z-Axis reused their Thrasher engine. But I wasn't completely disappointed, the engine has been juiced up to run faster and provide a more arcade feel. Now the visuals are also similar to Thrasher, the on-screen bikers look somewhat big-boned but they do have pretty good detail. Now I have a very big problem with the game, take a look at these screens and take a look at the bikes. Now is it me or is it that they seem a bit frail, almost as if I can grasp them in my hands and bend them. Hopefully Z-Axis makes the bikes look more realistic and add a better looking body to each of them. The textures on the other hand look great and blend in nicely with the lovely environments. Right now the visual stage is more on the good side and I am hoping that Z-Axis improves the look of the bikes and makes them look more bulky.
The gameplay is basically Thrasher on two big wheels. The speedier game engine makes the game more enjoyable and not too reminiscent of Thrasher (but those who played Thrasher will notice the resemblance). Pulling off moves is very similar to Thrasher and Tony Hawk, if you've played either game then you'll you know how to do some of the big moves. The speed is pretty good and but the air is no Tony Hawk, it takes little effort to do a 540 but try doing a 720 and you'll be kissing the floor. There are quite a variety of moves, seat grabs, peg grabs, icepick grinds, toothpick grinds and the list goes on and on. The move list is impressive and that's all that can be said. Dave Mirra will feature a variety of modes which are mentioned in my first update on the game. My impressions on Dave Mirra are so far good, I like the speed, the amount of area to explore, and not to mention the rock out soundtrack. Dave Mirra may very well pose a high challenge for Mat Hoffman's game.