Dave Mirra BMX Challenge
Can BMX's return save this so-so PSP effort?
It's a truism that given enough time fashion will eventually turn full circle. Back in the late 70's and early 80's, the early days of videogames also coincided with the height in popularity of the BMX craze. Every boy and his dog either had or wanted a BMX. Come the 90's and this fad had waned, to be replaced by the rebel coolness of skaters and bladers.
Now though, at the end of the noughties the wheels have turned and the BMX is well into its comeback thanks in no small part by the rise in popularity of extreme sports. The same sports that helped cause the downfall of BMXing in the first place, such as skateboarding, roller-blading and also snowboarding, are ironically also the progenitors of its revival.
"The presentation is amiss right from the off, with sluggish menu systems and jumpy interludes and cut-scenes."
The presentation is amiss right from the off, with sluggish menu systems and jumpy interludes and cut-scenes. Still, a great game will soon render these points moot. It's unfortunate then that things do not get much better. There are three main modes of play namely quick play, exhibition and career mode, yet these names are a fašade as the underlying game is the same - race or trick contests with not a lot in between. Quick play will dump you straight into a race against 3 other riders; exhibition lets you choose your location and whether to compete in a race or a trick contest; and career mode lets you configure your rider and bike and compete in - yep, you guessed it - race or trick contests.
"The race modes are unnecessarily difficult for a number of reasons, the biggest and most important being illogical track design."
But if for some reason that sounds appealing, the jumps and tricks will change your mind. Gaining air will increase your adrenaline meter which can then be used for a temporary speed boost. This in turn enables higher jumps and more trick combos. Sounds good, but after performing trick after trick you will more often than not find yourself crashing and burning due to slamming into a wall thanks once again to the poor track design.
"You're not told how long you have to complete the event - not even a countdown for the last 10 or 15 seconds.."
Trick contests are not much better. The events take place in the same arena as the races so basically you race around performing as many tricks as you can. Which coincidently is exactly what you do in race mode, only without racers to compete against. Where's the variety? You're not told how long you have to complete the event - not even a countdown for the last 10 or 15 seconds.
When your arbitrary time limit is up, your total points are compared against another three riders and - like with the race mode - you must come in the top three to unlock the next level. Even though there are no opponents on screen, you are still competing against them. The track design does not help much in this mode either - you'll often find yourself grinding a ledge one second only to reach the end and be dumped in the ocean.
Not even stabilisers will keep this fundamentally flawed title going for long. Are there any plus points then? Well, the use of a fish-eye camera allows for some good perspective effects particularly when using a half-pipe to get big air. There's also plenty of tricks to learn and master - if you have the patience and dedication. And whilst the tracks are large and open, they are difficult to navigate for the aforementioned reasons.
Unfortunately there's not much here to recommend. Not even stabilisers will keep this fundamentally flawed title going for long.