Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD – Review
Not quite the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater experience that you grew up with.
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
The first Tony Hawk game captured a mood. It was as much about music as it was about skating, a brilliant party game with an addictive single player mode that cleverly laced its skate parks and playgrounds with challenges and secrets. The series might have fallen into disrepair in recent times, but those first two games were shining examples of how to do extreme sports right.
And so, almost inevitably, there comes the HD remake. It’s not a direct port, rather a mash up of content from Pro Skater 1 and its sequel, with some new skaters thrown in to the mix too. An exercise in nostalgic good will, complete with points which capture the thrill and excitement of rolling around on a little plank. Tellingly though, it can’t sustain its rose-tinted entertainment for all that long.
If you’ve never played a Tony Hawk game before, the aim is simple: score as many points as you can, and complete the challenges the game sets you to move on. Levels are small and enclosed, but tightly designed, with transitions and rails thrown in to let you continue giant trick combos for longer than is, strictly speaking, humanly possible. The face buttons control your flips, grabs and grinds, and combinations of direction presses and buttons pull off the different moves.
It’s a system that feels a little old fashioned when compared to the stick flicking majesty of Skate, a series which all but ended the dominance of the Tony Hawk games. But, if you’ve ever played any of the levels included, the moves and manipulations required to succeed come back pretty quickly.
The problem is that the physics at the core of the game don’t feel as fair as they did the first time round. Sometimes you’ll fall over for no apparent reason, other times the game will send you crashing to the ground when you should have rolled smoothly down a ramp or other obstacle. In a game that should be about experimentation and expression, that’s just not good enough.
Then there are the omissions. There’s no split screen multiplayer, which is an almost unforgivable crime. The trick challenges and Donkey-style competitive modes of the original provided hours of entertainment before, and the fact they’re missing here acts as proof that the real spirit of those PlayStation originals has been lost. There’s no way to skip songs or create playlists either which is a crying shame.
Don’t get me wrong, there are moments that will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear, while spinning over the rotors of a helicopter for example, or grinding over set of rails in an American high school all the time pulling off manuals to keep your chain going. It’s at such times that the game feels just right, but such times just don’t seem as common as they used to.
Ultimately the package fails to capture the atmosphere of cool that surrounded the games it’s based on, and for all of its extra polygons, new tracks, and up to date roster of skating talent, it feels like the beating heart of the experience is missing. This isn’t the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you grew up with, but it occasionally does an OK job of imitating it.
Format: Xbox 360 via XBLA
Price: £10.28 (1200 MS points)
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Microsoft Gold partner, our c...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Internal Sales Executive ...
£15 per hour: Ashdown Group: IT Analyst / Helpdesk - 2 Month Contract - £15ph ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This group is the world's secon...