It’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by nostalgia when booting up this game. It’s a combination of the music (“Aye, Iggy F**kin Pop” – can anyone name that quote? ) and the familiarity of a game you played to death, well over a decade ago. The soundtrack features tracks from Suicidal Tendencies, Iggy Pop, LL Cool J, Bad Brains, NERD, Fugazi, Eric B. & Rakim, Gang of Four, Swollen Members and quite a few more…..
It’s time to remove the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia and get stuck in. A good game is a combination of level design, visuals, gameplay and controls. The 15 years that have passed have not been kind to Hoffman 2. The level design, or lack there of, is pretty awful. The levels are constructed with the sole aim of collecting a series of letters and performing tricks on arbitrary obstacles. The focus on these tasks comes at the cost of the riding experience. There is no sense of flow to the levels and no real continuity between ramps, ledges and rails.
Visually the game hasn’t aged too well either. It looks somewhat better due to me running it on my PC via a Playstation 2 emulator. With some tweaking I’m able to upscale the resolution from the native 440p to 1080p and bump the frame rate up to 60 fps. However, improved visual don’t count for much when the gameplay and controls feel poor.
The ability to pull flatland tricks during manuals was a great addition in this game, and I’ll still dig it, but the rest of the gameplay feels as stale as a 15 year old baguette. The bike control has a really linear and unresponsive feel, it literally feels like you are on a rail and very rigid. Riding is all about the flow and feel of fluidity and it’s just not found here. The trick list is standard fare and pretty comprehensive, but the animations are robotic and gross.
After spending a while playing Hoffman 2 the nostalgia soon wore off. It’s just not aged well and its gameplay is pretty awful.
Check back soon for part 3 of the series, where I’ll be replaying Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland and deciding once and for all which game really was the best…