Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review- Grinding to a Halt?
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: Xbox 360: July 18th, 2012 PS3: TBC
ESRB: T – Teen
Nostalgia isn’t always a good thing. Take Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD for instance. Robomodo have been charged with making gamers relive some of the most popular games of the late 90s and early 2000s yet, whilst the formula is as fun and frantic as ever, the whole thing feels a little sterile with yet more proof that a HD remake doesn’t necessarily equal the same amount of fun you enjoyed years ago.
The Tony Hawk games have come a long way since grinding and kickflipping in the Warehouse way back in 1999/2000. The ability to get off your board, whilst controversial, added an extra layer to levels that became sprawling towns and cities rather than confined areas. In that respect, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD fails to shine, it is held back by what came after it and it is overshadowed by bigger and better games- although that is no fault of its own. What does grate, however, is the sheer lack of features and options present in a game that costs 1200 Microsoft Points.
A meagre seven levels make up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, less than half of the 19 levels that graced the first two games. It smacks of sheer laziness of Robomodo’s part that only seven levels (I understand there is a memory limit but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD clocks in at under 500MB) were included. Levels such as the Bullring, Skater Heaven and Philadelphia wouldn’t have required too much effort yet would at least have added to the replayability. The lack of a level or character editor is yet another annoying gripe; the possibilities that could have been concocted by the community a la Trials Evolution would have been enough to warrant an inclusion but, alas, we’re stuck with a sparse offering that could have been so much more.
There are things the game does get right: the gameplay is as addictive as ever. The 2-minute time limit encourages repeated plays and there is enough to do to tide even the most insanely good player over for at least a weekend. The controls feel exactly as they were twelve (!) years ago, for better or worse. There is nothing more sweet than hitting a heelflip into a kiss the rail then grabbing the secret DVD (updated from the VHS) in Mall, for example, but there are time when you wish the controls would be a little more fluid as some bails are excruciatingly annoying and sometimes glitchy. The soundtrack adds another string to the bow of this package. The classics are present- you’ll be rocking out to “Superman” and “When Worlds Collide” long into the night and there are also some new tracks, specifically “The Bomb” by Pigeon John which adds a new edge to proceedings.
The online mode is indicative of the game as a whole. It is fun in short bursts and the inclusion of friends to a ‘classic’ Tony Hawk game is certainly welcome but the lack of modes such as HORSE shows that things have been overlooked that probably should have been included. Whether the lack of an extensive budget or other factors played a part is unclear but several choices in this game could have been made differently to satiate the audience that is likely to buy this game in the first place. A lower price point may have helped gloss over a package as bare as this one but with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 DLC incoming it is plain to see that this game could have been far better. The inclusion of the DLC with the package would have (presumably) pushed the levels onto 12 and- given an extra month or so (maybe Robomodo were rushed by Microsoft’s demand for this to be the flagship for the Summer of Arcade) they could have added in a level or two from the fourth game in the series as a little thank you gift.
As a whole, what could have been a love letter to the Tony Hawk series has ended in a bitter disappointment. The lack of levels from the third and fourth games in the series is slightly baffling when taking into account only three levels were taken from the first game. A total of 15 would have at least provided more scope for replaying levels as well as being worth the 1200 Microsoft Points. This game probably is worth your time if you are a big Tony Hawk fan and want a quick fix now and again, especially with the online features, but the lack of features leaves the game feeling a little shallow.
Take off the rose-tinted glasses, it’s not as good as it used to be.
+Online mode promises longevity
-Game feels sparse (7 levels)- DLC should have been included with package
-Antiquated features overshadowed by developments in later games
-Controls are hit-and-miss
-Laziness overall- lack of features
2.5 out of 5 stars