Activision sent us a copy of the much anticipated Mat Hoffman Pro BMX game for playstation for review. It was a little bit after the official release in Australia. One thing we knew is that the game was going to be good, it would have to be, now that the market seemed to be flooding with BMX games. Not that that's a bad thing, the last time I saw a flood of BMX games it was for the commodore 64 about 15 years ago.
Things have been a little hectic at the bmxultra.com HQ, so we asked Dirt Designs owner Craig Merritt if we could dump the Activision Mat Hoffman Pro BMX Playstation game on him. Before I had finished asking him he'd taken the game right out of my hands and started to drive off, heading home, straight for his playstation.
It took a bit of time to get any sense out of him afterwards. We tried to contact him 2 weeks later but all I got was the answering machine or screams of "there's no one here" when I knocked on his front door. Strange but there were also odd sounds like someone had set up a skate park in his lounge room.
4 weeks later was the same, so to get any feedback from him I had to pull the power fuse to his house to get him away from the game, after much begging and crying this is what he had to say about it;
Man this game has a cool opening clip, including some extreme BMXing
action and great tunes, it sure sets the mood for the game to follow.
When I finally got into the game play I thought I'd be able to pull off all the jumps that you see on TV, you know back flips, 720's and so on. But not so. It is refreshing, even though sometimes frustrating, that this game is not as easy as it looks.
The secret seems to be putting thought into the runs not just hitting ramps or rails and pressing a heap of buttons to pull off some unbelievable tricks.
It's also not a case of getting one trick down pat and repeating it over and over which keeps the player interested in what he doing, combinations and variety is the key to big points.
The ability to choose different characters like Mat Hoffman, Mike Escamilla,
Dennis McCoy, Simon Tabron, Kevin Robinson, Joe Kowalski, Rick Thorne
and Cory Nastazio is cool. Although in the early stages of the game the
basic moves by each rider are all the same. Over time as the users skill
level increases, each character develops different skills in the game.
Realistic limits are placed on the rider so you can't land sideways or half competing a trick and riding out of it.
The soundtrack is good but better turned down a bit to get full effect of the game. There's nothing like the sound of a freewheel clicking and someone good clean face planting action.
The object of the game is to score magazine covers to move onto the next
level, some are easy, some are not.
The higher the level, the harder it seems to be to score points and advance to the next stage.
If you are prepared to put the time to work out your own courses, in the course editor is well worthwhile.
It is obvious that riders have had a lot of input into this game not just a game designer with half an idea of how to ride.
This is definitely a game worth putting the time into and one that anyone who rides or has ridden will get into.
And this is a multiplayer game which ads a little bit of extra fun.
I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5 for game play.
For more information on the game plus downloads check out http://www.activision.com/games/mathoffman/.
Craig's last words were "now give me back my *&$% fuse" and "you didn't want your game back now did you?" as he snatched the fuse from my hands.