Mountain bike games are few and far between, but last years Downhill Supreme breathed new life into a genre that had been stagnant since the legendary PS2 release Downhill Domination.
It is noticeably easier to hold a manual in the new Downhill Supreme 2 game
The new game picks up where the last chapter in the mountain bike themed physics puzzler left off. The graphics are still refreshingly simple, although somewhat less cheesy, and gameplay is now more complex.
Out of the starting gate the most obvious change is the addition of a new “hop” feature and two new indicators for impact and stamina. The stamina bar is the first indicator that this sequel will be decidedly different. Rather than the always to the lock approach of Downhill Supreme, it’s new counterpart demands finesse. Hold the pedal down at a constant and your little downhill racers lack of Enduro fitness will soon become painfully obvious. Instead, you’ll need to balance pedaling and what the terrain dictates or risk burning out. This becomes particularly important in later stages of the game were steep hill climbs are prevalent, even if they feel out of place in a downhill game.We’re being a bit dramatic in this screenshot, but it really is either nose heavy or dead
If the pedaling uphill part didn’t leave you unsettled, the updated physics will. The original game rewarded the huck & smash style of Bender, but this remake requires a more calculated approach. As you near terminal velocity, careful attention to the terrain map and impact bars are required to avoid over taxing your suspension. In the original game, we complained of whacky rebound and poor damping from all of the different shock options, and it seems suspension tuning has continued to evolve in the Downhill Supreme Universe at an astonishingly poor rate.
Our JR DH Champ seems to favor a super stiff fork but has a disastrously undersprung shock equipped with a blown out compression shim stack, which necessitates a very nose heavy landing style. If our avatar makes it past the first two race series, he will have done insurmountable damage to the cartilage and joints in his knees. What’s more, is that even the smallest of impacts are often enough to cause crashes that would leave him with certain brain damage. We’re not sure why the daring racer can easily launch the gnarliest of rock gardens, only to be stymied by the most insignificant of drops.
Overall, the feel of the game is very reminiscent of Dirt 3 – right down to the menus and encouraging voice overs. The new menus now include additional information such as the times necessary for a 3 star run and the current KOM. In addition to that, you can also watch a replay of your personal record or view the runs of those on the current leader board.
Unfortunately, the new menu system also introduced a new upgrades system. For each race you earn between 1 and 3 stars, which can then be used to unlock products. This differs from the old system where you unlocked new toys as you beat certain stages. For some reason the old system felt more rewarding, which is likely because I’m a star hoarding miser.
The new game also offers more customization in the form of gear, but it’s all euro crap so we don’t really care. TLD or bust!
In the end, we found ourselves missing the old smash and grabs physics generator and the delightfully cheesy graphics of the original game, but loving several of the new features such as the online leader board. Downhill Supreme 2 simply takes it self too seriously. Where as the old game allowed for Need for Speed style antics, this newest release fancies the easy on the throttle and use the brakes approach of serious racing simulators like Forza. Furthermore, gameplay is seriously hampered by glitches. During certain levels we noticed that regardless of device, the balance buttons had a habit of getting stuck, which caused traumatic injury to our DH dreams. Despite all the moments we’ve left wanting to smash our smartphones into the wall, the game does keep sucking us back in for more. We’ve only finished the first two races and are still waiting for Tyler to turn his back so we can finish the next few…