Donít worry fellow BMX enthusiasts, Rainbow Studios is well at work with the sequel to the great Mat Hoffmanís Pro BMX on the Playstation. Though, while the first installment played a lot (and I mean a LOT) like THPS, this chapter in the Mat Hoffman series will hold much more of its own ground to separate it from its O2 brethren, Tony Hawk 3.
The main mode in Hoffman 2 is a new Road Trip mode in which you can travel around the nation, just like the pros, in hopes of establishing a prominent career. Moreover, there are behind-the-scenes clips that will help to better portray what life on a pro BMX circuit is really like. The multiplayer features are pretty robust as well. Included in the mix are a few new games, as well as old ones: Treasure Hunt, Horse, Joust, Wreak Havok and Push.
Most of the riders are Mat Hoffman veterans; however, there are a few new faces as well this time around. There are 11 riders included in all: Mat Hoffman, Mike Escamilla, Joe Kowalski, Simon Tabron, Rick Thorne, Kevin Robinson, Cory Nestazio, Nathan Wessel, Seth Kimbrough, Ruben Alcantara, and Chad Kagy. Youíll also be happy to know that each rider has his own unique style and look, and once they start ripping, itís all gravy from there, as the tricks move in a fluent, accurate motion.
Mat Hoffman is all about the tricks, and youíll be happy to know that Hoffman 2 boasts a plethora of dazzling tricks -- some new, some old. In addition to the aerial tricks, grinds and plants, Hoffman 2 also sports a new trick-system that allows players to link together multiple tricks for outrageous point scores -- much like THPS3. The term for these tricks are flatland tricks, as you can pull of various stunts, swings, and so forth while just sitting on the bike in a rather still way. Additionally, the manuals after landing a trick can also increase your point earning drastically.
The flatland tricks are an insanely cool feature that Rainbow Studios has decided to implement, and the outcome will probably be very good. Players can perform 4 types of these flatland tricks: balancing on front/back wheel alone, and the two variations of the peg stances. This has yet to be incorporated into a BMX video game, and is rather new to the world of BMXers in real life, but ever popular. Hey, have you ever wanted to ride while standing (read: diligently balancing) on your handle bars? Sounds good.
Heading in the same direction as THPS3, Mat Hoffman 2 boasts massive levels, replete with bystanders, vehicles, boats, helicopters -- basically the whole package of a living, breathing environment. The textures that build up this environment look quite good, and the players and bikes look excellent.
Mat Hoffman 2 is definitely coming along in an excellent fashion. The game is currently around 70% complete, and its current release is currently slated for June 15th release. We here at PSX Extreme (Arnold and I) are eagerly anticipating (read: canít wait to get our greedy little hands on) Mat Hoffmanís Pro BMX 2. Check back for the full review in June and stay tuned for whatever screenshots that may follow.
4/4/2002 Joseph Comunale