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PS2 Reviews: Downhill Domination


Downhill Domination screenshots


The Final Say!


Downhill Domination
reviewed by Tory Favro 
Review Date: March 2004
Review Score 7.5/10 
Distributed By:

"Make sure you're wearing your helmet as this is one hell of a ride"

One thing we don't see enough of these days is a fresh take on a sport that has been done before. Downhill Domination is such a title, bring the sport of Downhill Mountainbike racing to a somewhat different level.

Different? That's right, there are a number of things that make this title different from what gamers would be expecting in both the fact that there is an element of combat in knocking each other off bikes and a grudge system. Wait a second, didn't we do this in the SSX series? Yes is the answer, however Downhill Domination is sufficiently different enough that this can be overlooked and forgiven.

There are a number of riders to choose from and in fact I thought this part to be the most annoying part of the game as of course I chose the Aussie, and to hear the crappy accent and Ockerisms (Aussie Slang) that came out of her head was enough to really tick me off. So all I can suggest is maybe stick to whoever the default rider is unless you are not from Australia and have no idea what we sound like when we speak, like Incog has clearly shown here.

That's better, rant out of the way. This game is gorgeous to look at and the level of detail constantly bombarding you will have gamers very very pleased indeed. Everything from moss on the sides of boulders down to detail on the animals who are invariably in your way is included and provide yet another hazard to the playing field as you crash and bash your way down the hill.

I'd have to say that it was fun to have the trick system the way it was too, as you manipulated your ride through a series of shoulder button presses that also helped you with your speed. Combat also helps and you get to pick up powerups as you fly along the track whether this be in the form of of bottles and sticks, or maybe even a combat move such as a more aggressive punch or kick. Such moves can also be taken away from you though so make sure that you don't ride over a powerup that you don't want, as it negates the one that you are currently carrying if it is the same class of powerup.

There are a number of game modes to keep this interesting for quite some time as well some really cool unlockable features that will make it worth your while sticking with the title for a while such as Mosh Pit, Super Jump, even more courses for you to fly along. There are in addition to the characters you can choose from, four real life riders that you can unlock.. only if you are good enough.

Sometimes you might notice in the game that the physics are a little weird when coming down the side of a canyon. Your bike can be on an angle that is guaranteed to crash and you can't correct it. It's usually not the difference between a win and a loss but I've experienced it being the difference between first and third.

The game features a solid framerate that is a blessing in terms of making you feel like you are speeding along very nicely in a way that only a bike or motorcycle can make you feel. It's all a sense of perception and also how close you are to making yourself become mince meat on the road or track that will change the way you feel about the title!

A great audio track is in place to make you get into the spirit of things and the multiplayer is a lot of fun as well with enough things in place to get some really competitive gameplay happening between you and your mates. I must admit that I was surprised by this title considering Incog are well known for their crazy Twisted Metal games and I was apprehensive when I saw their logo on this title.

Fans of tweaking their rides are in for a lot of fun as well as real life manufacturers have loaned themselves to the game and as you progress you can upgrade parts of your bike to make sure that you have the goods to assist your already superb riding skills! The bike will handle better and you will find that it will loan itself to this games ability to instantly react to the decisions you make that lets players pull off fast paced combos and some surreal combat moves.

I really can't finish up this review without having a quick mention of the occasional snag that you will get with the game. It is so rare that you may never come across it, but the bike sometimes gets caught on outcroppings of rock and the like.

It's an odd title to classify and despite myself, I would still say to have a rent of this before buying it. Whilst a title I did enjoy, there were some issues with the game that left me unable to commit to fully endorsing it. Bike enthusiasts will love it and I think that all fans of extreme sports and fantasy sports will enjoy it as well. It's a game with a lot of potential and good enough that I think potentially Incog might find it worthwhile to do another in the series. Good stuff.

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2004 www.impulsegamer.com