reviews\ Dec 3, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 - GC - Review

Originally released on the PS2 and XBox a few months ago, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 is now available on the GameCube.  The game is basically the same as it was on the PlayStation 2 a few months back.  Pro BMX 2 offers a few nice ideas to the genre, but the game’s presentation feels a bit dated compared to games like Tony Hawk 4 or even Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2.


The first Pro BMX was basically a Tony Hawk clone on bikes.  The game took the gameplay engine and didn’t really make any improvements to the formula.  Pro BMX 2 differs in that it makes some very key tweaks and stands on its own two feet.  While the comparisons to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater are obvious, the game differs pretty fundamentally from the Hawk recipe.  The place where the gameplay really shines is the flatland tricks.  You perform flatland tricks by first doing a manual, then tweaking it by doing moves on top of your manual, all while maintaining your balance.  Not only are flatland tricks essential to racking up huge combos and getting lots of points, but also they are really cool looking and fun to do.  Flatland tricks have been present in other games in the genre, but never have they been executed so well.


Unfortunately, the rest of the gameplay is rather stagnant.  The bikes handle pretty cumbersomely, and the controls aren’t very responsive.  The level objectives are also pretty bland, lacking the ingenuity of recent offerings from the Tony Hawk series.  Most of the time you’ll spend collecting for coins or coin-like items to win challenges and other mundane tasks.


The graphics aren’t terrible, but they sure seem dated.  The bikers are stiff and lack detail, and the environments are pretty plain.  The FMVs are also pretty compressed looking, and appear in a tiny box on-screen.  The whole graphical presentation just seems to lack the sense of style that is present in other offerings in the genre.  Plus, the framerate tends to get pretty nasty when a lot seems to be happening on screen, which is very frustrating when you’re in the middle of a trick.


The soundtrack features a varied mix of rock, techno, old-school hip-hop and punk.  The game also features a system in which you must collect CD’s from every course in order to unlock songs on the soundtrack, which is a nice idea.  The sound effects are pretty commonplace, although whenever you crash, your biker will emit a Homer Simpson-esque “doh!” and that’s pretty cool.


Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 is not a bad game, its just that the genre has so much more to offer, and Pro BMX 2 seems dated compared to most extreme sports titles coming out this season.  If you are an extreme sports fan, check out Tony Hawk 4.  If you are hardcore BMX, then try Dave Mirra 2.  However, if you’ve filled yourself with Dave Mirra and still need a BMX fix, then you should give Mat Hoffman a rental.


Reviewer’s Scoring Details


Gameplay: 6.9
The game makes great use of flatland tricks, but that’s about it.  The controls are awkward and unresponsive and the level objectives are very dull and repetitive.


Graphics: 6.5
The graphical appearance is very dated.  The character models look like they were pulled out of Tony Hawk 2, and the environments are pretty bland.  The frame rates are also not quite what they should be.  Overall, the graphics look unpolished.


Sound: 8.0
The music features a nice, varied mix of songs encompassing many genres.  The sound effects are pretty standard.


Difficulty: Medium 


Concept: 6.5
The game’s presentation is pretty behind the times.  While it does have some well-executed ideas, the game lacks polish overall.

Multiplayer: 7.5 
The game features several multiplayer modes:  Horse, Trick Attack, Graffiti, basically everything you’d find in a Tony Hawk game.

Overall: 6.9
Pro BMX 2 brings a few new things to the table, but in the end fails to keep up with the pack. 

Above Average

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