Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
When I was your age, it was called a secret tape. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was my go-to game for years. I sunk countless hours into each one before I gave up somewhere around American Wasteland. Since then, the franchise has been stuck behind that ridiculous motion controller and it seemed like the Tony Hawk games were long in the past. This title takes you back to the roots of the franchise, if only for a few hours.
You get a mash-up of only 7 levels (amazing how the warehouse is still everyone’s favorite) from the first two games with the abilities of only the first two games as well. For those wondering, it’s: Warehouse, Mall, and Downhill Jam from THPS1 and School II, Hangar, Venice Beach, and Marseille from THPS2. Each level is unlocked by doing a certain amount of goals in the level prior. The levels are cleaned up for HD but still have quite the barren look to them. Another note on graphics, the character models don’t seem to look right either on the select screen. It’s something about the shadows on their faces. Goals consist of getting High, Pro, and Sick Scores, collecting SKATE, and location based objectives such as kickflipping over a gap.
I had difficulty reverting back to THPS2 rules. So while you can manual to link tricks together, there isn’t any revert or caveman support. I’m still adjusting to it and am having a slightly harder time getting those savant-esque high scores I used to be able to get blindfolded. The first pack of DLC will include 3 levels from THPS3 (Airport, LA, and Canada) and those will include the revert which will be nice. The sloppy and perfect system for grab moves is also enabled for extra points, but seems to only ever be used on every few spin tricks. For a mash-up of the previous games, the roster of skaters is lacking. There are ten skaters, and only 4-5 of them were in the previous games. I miss Chad Muska’s backpack, but at least Eric Koston is still there. Who in the blue hell are Emily Westlund and Jake Harrison? Contest winners to get in the game… great. You don’t get a Create-a-Skater in this one which would have added an extra level of replay value I suppose.
The playlist of music has Goldfinger and Powerman 5000 so I was already sold. There are 14 tracks in the game and eventually some of the songs wear thin on you. This title uses music like THPS 4 and on did. Music will play and will keep playing instead of changing every time you finish your run. The music kicks in during the opening credits, and I love the effect. Strangely there was not skip track button. There is custom soundtrack support once you get sick of the playlist which is always a good feature. Maybe I should add the old THPS soundtracks onto my PS3…
You can unlock all the levels in just an hour or two, but that’s probably because I’ve played them once or twice and know where everything is. If you’re a newcomer you’ll probably get more miles out of this title. As a veteran, this installment left me wanting a whole lot more. There is online multiplayer which I was having a tough time connecting too, but when it worked, you’d really run into some top quality players. When you beat all the challenges in one level you can score chase it which is pretty cool. At the time of writing this, the Warehouse’s 99th high score is 1.5 million and it’s been going up every day. There’s also some Facebook functionality if you’re into that sort of thing too.
It’s great coming back to the basics of this franchise. Still, only having 7 levels really detracts from the longevity of the title. I’m looking forward to going back to the Airport, LA, and Canada, as well as the revert and (maybe) the caveman again, but those are only table scraps. Sure would have been nice of them to just add it into the game in the first place. This is a fun distraction, but leaves you wanting much, much more.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Familiar levels
What I Dislike:
- No Revert
- Wimpy Roster
- Hit or miss online