Playing Tony Hawk games on Dreamcast and GameCube are some of my greatest childhood gaming memories. Shred! 2 doesn’t quite scratch that itch, but it sure comes close.
Shred! 2 is Trials’ more down-to-earth sibling. You’re not gonna see any explosions, tornados, and car chases here. This game is all about mastering the fundamentals of mountain biking. In Shred! 2 you flip and trick through numerous jumps and obstacles as world-famous freerider Sam Pilgrim. It’s a marvelous journey that has its ups and downs yet manages to stick the landing.
Inspiration to Innovation
The two franchises that seem to most influence Shred! 2 are Tony Hawk and Trials. This isn’t to say that it’s by any means just a cheap knock-off of either. Despite its much simpler presentation, Shred! 2 takes the best parts of both of those franchises and creates something wholly unique.
From the start it feels almost identical to a Trials game with a mountain bike instead of a motorbike. The massive dirt hills and deep valleys ground Shred! 2 firmly in reality. Some jumps are a bit over the top. I’m looking at you, jump over two houses in the snow level. However, most tricks and trails offer a surprising amount of realism for a mountain biking game that originated on mobile devices.
The Tony Hawk comparison took a couple hours to click in my head. Once I realized it then the reason why I was having so much fun became clear. Shred! 2 gave me a similar feeling where I wanted to keep trying levels over and over to get a higher score and do more insane tricks and combos. Even though each level is on-rails, the use of missions makes me want to keep coming back. They’re simple things like get a certain score or manual (aka wheelie) on the hay bales. In the end it’s that simplicity that makes these goals feel achievable.
Not the Prettiest Landing…
Clearly, as a game that started on mobile devices, Shred! 2 isn’t going to have the prettiest graphics. There are even a few times where my front wheel would clip into the ground, causing me to crash on certain landings. To be fair, if anybody came down on their front bike tire the way I did, you would get impaled by your handlebars. However, the game is passable graphically, but it very clearly isn’t up to the standards of the current generation (even for Switch).
I was also incredibly let down by the soundtrack. One of my favorite things about most extreme sports games are the accompanying music. An eclectic mix of rock, punk, hip hop, and more is what I have come to expect. While I shouldn’t knock the game for not being exactly what I want it to be, these tracks are just not good. One of the worst offenders is a metal song that’s reminiscent of royalty-free wrestler entrance music WCW used to keep costs low.
…But It Gets the Job Done
Despite the lack of impressive graphics and a memorable soundtrack, the gameplay shreds. The tracks may be based in reality, but that doesn’t stop you from getting ridiculous air to whip out 720 Superman triple backflips. The rush of adrenaline you get from speeding down a slope, launching off that lip, then landing an insane trick is incredibly intense. The freedom of being able to attack any course in any way you desire is so liberating. If you really want to, you can ride fakie (backwards) through entire courses. If you can think it chance are you can do it.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Shred! 2 was provided by the publisher.