Z-Axis is no stranger to the Dave Mirra series. It developed the Dreamcast, PlayStation, and PC versions of last year's Freestyle BMX. While all three versions were given less-than-favorable reviews by critics, their Pro Skater-influenced gameplay was enough to score a hit with consumers. Acclaim is betting on a repeat performance with the impending release of Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 for the launch of the Xbox in the fall.
In last year's effort, the proquest mode was definitely the main attraction. Not surprisingly, Z-Axis is planning some tweaks to this mode for Dave Mirra 2 on the Xbox. The proquest mode found in last year's Dave Mirra is similar to the career mode in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series in that you complete several challenges in each level before moving on to the next. But for Freestyle BMX 2, the object is to climb the rankings of the BMX circuit and knock Dave Mirra off his roost at the top. Gaining licensed sponsors plays a major role in advancing through Dave Mirra's inaugural outing, and Acclaim has stated that it will play an equally vital role in the sequel. As you start placing high on the leader board, companies will approach you with improved bikes and new gear. Freestyle BMX 2 will include several real-world BMX stars, but the only riders announced thus far are Ryan Nyquist and Mr. Mirra. If you'd rather get by on your own abilities, a create-a-rider mode will also be included--that way, you may place yourself in the game.
Another of the original Freestyle BMX's highlights is its extensive multiplayer mode, and Dave Mirra 2 picks up where it left off. There will be 10 multiplayer games to choose from, including a bikathalon that combines all the multiplayer games into one competition. No word has been given regarding whether the multiplayer mode will be playable online, though we expect announcements to be made at E3 regarding the matter. As is customary with any extreme sports game, the free-ride and session modes from last year's game should make a repeat appearance in the Xbox sequel. Performing tricks in Dave Mirra is as easy as pushing the analog stick and a button at the same time, but tricks may be linked together for combos or tweaked and rotated to receive modifier bonus points. Acclaim has already stated that this same combo system will return for Dave Mirra 2 and that it will facilitate 1,500 possible tricks.
There will be eight different environments in which to ride, and reportedly, each level will be four times the size of the courses in the original. Hopefully, they will be designed with smooth lines that let you transfer from one object to another. This was one aspect of the original game that some critics found faulty. If last year's game is anything to go by, there should be a nice variety of courses to attack, including indoor parks, outdoor dirt tracks, and urban environments full of transitions to boost from and power lines to grind. And if you grow tired of the courses that Z-Axis designed, you will be able to create your own with the game's course editor. It should be possible to download created courses with the Xbox's built-in hard drive and broadband support, though no official confirmation has been given.
The original Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX includes plenty of Easter eggs to discover, and its addictive combo system formed a solid foundation upon which to build a franchise. With this follow-up for the Xbox, Acclaim is hoping to do just that. While concrete information on Dave Mirra 2 is hard to come by at the moment, we should learn a lot more about the game at E3 this week. Stay tuned for hands-on updates in the coming days.