Review: Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD
Title: Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD
Platform: XBLA, PC, PSN (reviewed on XBLA)
Tagline: Skateboard classic returns with some caviets
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Verdict: Wait for a Sale
Robomoto has traveled a rough road in regards to the Tony Hawk Franchise. The concept of trying to tie a skateboard peripheral to a skateboarding game probably sounded great on paper, but when it came to the actual product, it was a game no one wanted to play. Now on their third attempt with Tony Hawk, they have decided to listen to the constant chants on the Internet, clamoring for a Tony Hawk that recreates the fun of the original titles from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Not only have the recreated it, they have basically brought us an amalgam of the first two Tony Hawk games, complete with most of the features we remember from those games. Of course, when people ask for something and they finally get it, are they satisfied? In the case of Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, it will all depend on what exactly you are looking for from the game.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is exactly what it sounds like, as it is a HD recreation of the original Tony Hawk titles from the PlayStation One console. It takes some levels from each of the first two games (six to be precise) and adds in a level from Tony Hawk Downhill Jam to mix things up a bit. As with those Tony Hawk titles, you go through each course, unlocking new levels by finishing a set amount of goals within each level. Old pros will immediately remember these goals, like hitting all the letters in the word Skate, or getting specific score goals. Some of the goals are easy enough to hit, while some will require a lot of work, just like the original.
I am not going to go off on some bit of nostalgia of how great I was at Tony Hawk, because I was never as great as some were at the game. For me, it was more about sitting down and having a good time, and competing against my friends as we would hot seat in front of my computer monitor. Yes, I owned the games on my PC so go ahead and get that laugh out of your system now. Getting into the game was easy enough, and after several rounds, I started to feel some of my muscle memory kick back in, in how to hit the proper grind sequence, or how to string together some great tricks off of the half pipes and ramps. The controls felt good on the Xbox 360 controller, although I did feel it was a bit floaty at times. I also thought the timing was off a bit, but not enough that I could not get adjusted to the difference.
The new HD graphics look really good, although I think it makes the glaring emptiness of the environments stick out a little more. I did feel like the skateboard motions of the characters feels a bit more realistic, although that was never a huge issue in the original titles. I mean, as long as you can pull off the tricks, you probably did not care about the look of the skaters or their motions. The game does right by its new look and it could have been a big selling feature to get people in the door for this title.
The problem is that the looks cannot cover up the fact that you are only getting seven levels in total for this game, with more coming via DLC at a later date. Seven levels will not tie hard core fans over for very long once they 100% the included levels. You could point to couch multiplayer as a way to alleviate that problem, except there is no local multiplayer. You have to go online to play with your friends, so gone are my memories of taunting a friend on the couch when I school them at the school.
If the multiplayer was good, I could see it taking some of the sting out of the lack of local multiplayer, but it is okay, and only when it works. Sure, it has several modes of play, but most let you play for a few minutes, only to be dumped back to the menu when the match ends. Why not just let us have a rematch function, so we can continue to play at the end of each match.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the soundtrack, as that was just as big a component to the game as the gameplay itself. While we are not getting the entire soundtrack from those two classic Tony Hawk titles, we are getting a nice dose of classic songs along with new material from up and coming artists. Don’t worry fans, “Superman” is in there if you were wondering, but some of the new stuff does not quite work. Its not that the music is bad, but I just feel like there is something missing when I don’t hear something that should be in the rotation. Of course, I am sure that licensing issues preclude getting the entire soundtrack here, so I feel I can look past that.
And yet, I have had fun with Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, even with its faults. It still stokes those memories of sitting down and killing time trying to beat my previous high score. If you can live within the limitations of no local multiplayer and the overall lack of levels, then you will probably be fine. But for most hardcore fans will probably be disappointed with the remake that they got here instead of the one they have been dreaming of for years. It is not that Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is bad, but it just feels a bit incomplete.
- Soundtrack has a good selection of classic tracks
- Gameplay controls feel true to the original
- New HD Graphics make the game look great
- Small selection of levels
- Online multiplayer needs work
- Complete lack of local multiplayer
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD has the same issues that parents may have had with the games many years ago. There is blood when you hit the pavement in a painful way but your skater is never permanently injured. He always springs up from any injury. There is also a decent learning curve for younger players, but I think overall, most should be fine with the game.