OXCGN’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review
Will you be ‘board’ stiff?
by Chris Fox
© 2012 Chris Fox
Of all the HD re-releases announced recently, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is one that stirred a special kind of excitement in certain gamers.
For many including myself, skateboarding was something only various “radical dudes” undertook in Saturday morning cartoons. Then 1999 arrived and along with it came Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, a game that was not only brilliantly evil in it’s addictiveness but one that also catapulted skateboarding into the mainstream consciousness of gamers, hardcore and casual alike.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD promises to mash up the best elements of these two games all wrapped up in glorious 1080p visuals.
Thankfully, it delivers on this promise. Mostly.
Skate or Die
Neversoft got absolutely everything right in the first game; addictive score attacks, fun exploration objectives, various multiplayer modes, levels, real life skaters and a dynamite soundtrack.
Then, they unbelievably improved on all of this for number 2.
Single player is as thrilling as we all remember it. Within seconds of booting the game I was pulling off a 360º stalefish over the half pipe at the warehouse playing as The Bird Man himself to Goldfinger’s Superman. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Because of this, the game is beautiful.
The old stages have never looked so good and the visuals deliver exactly what an HD upgrade should. There are some minor texture pop ins, such as at the skater select screen, but I believe this has deliberately left in by Robomondo to faithfully recreate the skater select screen we remember from the late nineties.
There is frustration to be had such as clipping an unexpected snag which causes your skater to bail horrendously over and over, but again this is my THPS experience recaptured brilliantly.
I am terrible at this game but it has never hampered my love for it.
A great new feature here is that scores can instantly be uploaded to Facebook.
The selection of stages is solid and includes undisputed classics such as Warehouse and Hangar as well as cult favourite Downhill Jam.
The choice of skaters has some glaring omissions, however. Yeah, we’ve got Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen to choose from, but where’s Bucky Lasek, Bob Burnquist and Chad Muska? The absence of these guys is somewhat alleviated as you can play as your avatar (360 only) and since mine just happens to be dressed as Batman, I’m a happy skater once more.
Bring the noise
I already mentioned Superman by Goldfinger (arguably the anthem of THPS) makes a very welcome return. Other all time bangers like Bring The Noise (Anthrax & Public Enemy) and No Cigar (Millencolin) are also back this time around, but so many tracks are missing.
The new tracks are great and certainly aren’t out place in the game’s aesthetic, but they can never replace Jerry Was A Race Car Driver (Primus) or Guerilla Radio (Rage Against The Machine).
Come skate with me
For starters, there is no local multiplayer whatsoever.
I still find this fact hard to believe as I type this. Why would split screen not be included? THPS was as much a fantastic multiplayer party game as it was a single player experience.
Hours, days and weeks of my teenage life were lost to trick attack, graffitti and horse with groups of friends. This isn’t the only recent HD release to omit local multiplayer and it seems as if developers don’t think there is any interest for splitscreen anymore, but there definitely is.
For one thing, televisions are bigger than they ever have been, leaving plenty of room for the screen to be split into two. This desperately needs to be patched in or, at the very least, bundled in the upcoming DLC including THPS 3 stages.
There is online mulitplayer, but it isn’t very robust.
All that’s on offer is Trick Attack, Graffiti, Big Head Elimination and Free Skate. That’s right, there is no sign of Horse.
This is such a tragedy really, as I was excitedly imagining four player online horse with everyone trashing the current score setter over headsets. This is especially disappointing as Big Head Elimination, a mode we have been given in Horse’s stead, is nothing to write home about what so ever.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is largely a success, but it also feels like a missed opportunity.
If you are recreating a beloved title such as the first two THPS games, why not go all out?
Give us all the classic skaters and tracks, after all it isn’t as if Activision don’t have the cash to spring for the licenses.
Give us tons of multiplayer modes that we can also play with friends in a our living room to keep us coming back long after we’ve finished single player.
Give us deeper customisation and a track editor.
For 1,200 Microsoft points, this isn’t asking too much, just look at Trials Evolution.
The outstanding single player mode is well worth the purchase, but Robomondo could have given us way more band for our buck.
© 2012 Chris Fox
Filed under: Console gaming, Downloadable Game reviews, Game Impressions, New Game Information, New Xbox 360 Games, PC Reviews, PS3 Reviews, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Game Reviews Tagged: | Tony Hawk, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD review, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD review