Review: Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD (PC)
Title: Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD
Platform: PC, XBLA, PSN (reviewed on PC)
Tagline: A garish looking trip down memory lane
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Verdict: Wait for a Sale
The first time I ever played a Tony Hawk game, it was Pro Skater 2 on my PC back in 2000. It was an amazing experience that had me hooked from beginning to end. Other Tony Hawk games have come and gone since then and the recent state of the franchise has been one of disappointment. After the motion controlled disasters that were Ride and Shread, Robomoto was set to go back to the roots of the series, creating an HD version of Tony Hawk Pro Skater that would combine levels from both Tony Hawk 1 and 2. After some delay, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD has made its way to PC, and while the core gameplay is good, there is a hot mess of problems in its shadow.
Obviously, the basic concepts behind a classic Tony Hawk game are here, as you get several levels from both Tony Hawk 1 and 2, with a level from Tony Hawk Downhill Jam thrown in for good measure. Why Tony Hawk Downhill Jam? I would guess it was to show off some of the descents that were in that game considering it had a small, if faithful audience. Staring the game takes us back to the beginning, where we are in the Warehouse level, and we see all the different goals we can achieve and at that point, I zoned out.
It was like reliving a classic memory, untouched after the better part of a decade. The controls fell right into place as I used my Wireless 360 controller, and after an hour or two, muscle memory started to take over, and I stated to hit those huge tricks for the big score payoffs. And yet, with all of this nostalgia hitting me right in the sweet spot, I kept thinking that something was not quite right. And then I realized the game was running at a 1280×720 resolution. Of course, I think I am just going to change the graphical options, and here is where the aforementioned hot mess comes into play.
You see, there is no way to change the resolution. Or keymaps. Or much of any other option in the game. In this day and age on the PC, you expect the ability to at least change the resolution or remap your options in a game. No, instead, I had to resort to opening up the Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD folder on my PC and editing the ini file for the game, telling it to use a higher resolution. Since I was using a gamepad, I was not as worried about the keymaps, but you can set those manually in the same ini file as well. The idea that a user would have to edit an ini file for something like this is a gross misstep by Robomoto, but the missing choices continue beyond this feature.
If you were looking to enjoy multiplayer Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD with some friends, you will be waiting a long time. The multiplayer section that was in the console versions of the title were completely cut from the game. There is no multiplayer. In actuality, this might have been a good thing as the multiplayer was a bevy of problems, but it seemed weird that instead of trying to fix it, or take more flack for the poor implementation, the devs and publishers decided it was easier to just lop it out.
The most disappointing things about the entire game is that once you do get things set up properly, you can see that Robomoto has done all they can to capture the spirit of this classic title. Everything is there, right how you remember it when you first played all of these levels. It took about a half hour to an hour, but once I was in and I started to remember all the controls and the patterns, I zoned into the game and just had fun. It is that same game I played years ago, when I was looking to kill a half hour to an hour and see what ridiculous score I could unlock in that timeframe. And not to be undone by the normal objectives, there are new PROJectives that you can unlock, adding more difficulty and skill to each level.
Make no mistake about it, there are a lot of things that go wrong with this port of Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, but they are problems that can be fixed with a patch or two. Add the ability to tweak the graphics and the controls and that will alleviate most issues. The multiplayer things will be a hit or miss item depending on who is playing, but knowing how fussy it was on the consoles, I honestly do not miss it here. It just seems like Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD was sent to the PC to appease an audience and make a few extra sales, and the proof is in the cutting of corners. It can be fixed, but it might be too late to salvage the fanbase that has been waiting a long time for this game to come back.
- Plays like classic Tony Hawk games
- Easy to pick up and play
- Have to manually program resolution and keymaps via ini file
- A bit muddy for a graphical update
- Complete removal of Multiplayer
This new embodiment of Tony Hawk is pretty much the exact same thing we played 10+ years ago, and it has the same things that parents might not go for. There is some blood that splatters when you bailout or smash into the pavement, and there are some awkward looking limbs after those crashes as well. However, for the most part, it is an experience that is safe for most over the age of 10.