Hands-onDave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2

Read our hands-on impressions of Acclaim's Dave Mirra sequel.

Acclaim showed off the PlayStation 2 follow-up to last year's PSOne BMX freestyle game today, and it appears to be heading in a promising direction. Taking the core of the original's appeal, the company is expanding and reworking the game, based on consumer feedback to the original. The roster of riders has been bumped up to 14, including Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Mike Laird, and Collin MacKay. The game's eight levels, which include the infamous Woodward Camp, Highway 47, Train Yard, and Commercial District Devil's Peak, are now four times bigger than before. The level environments now offer vehicle traffic systems such as moving cars, trucks, trains, construction equipment, and other riders to talk to and compete against. The trick system, with its unique modifier system, now offers more than 1,500 tricks with the inclusion of new grind, wallride, manual, and lip-trick modifiers. New modes that let players create their own rider and their own courses offer gamers much more to sink their teeth into as well. The game's graphics have received a definite upgrade with rider models sporting 3,000 polygons and a good amount of detail. The Skeletal Dynamics System from the first game is on tap again for realistic crash animations.

While the core gameplay is the same--as it pertains to handling improvements and trick enhancements--the basic flow of the game is a bit different. Players will still go through levels pulling off as many tricks as they can without mishap, but this time out they will interact with nonplayable characters as well. Each level will have four NPC riders for players to interact with, three of which will offer tips. The last rider will offer players a challenge. As players go through levels and complete the various challenges, they will earn respect points, which will unlock features in the game. For the original riders that players create, the points will let them increase their rider's stats and pick sponsors.

So far the game looks solid--the pre-beta build we saw was already running near 60 frames per second. The developer's goal is a constant 60 fps by the game's release. The handling felt a bit different--grinding was a bit more challenging, but felt a bit tighter overall. If things keep on track, it's looking like the game will be a good improvement over the original when it ships in September.

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