Platform: Xbox - XBLA
Release Date: 18/07/2012
Download on XBLA
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review
There are a few things you can always count on in this world; death, taxes and the fact that every gamer loves the old Tony Hawks games. From the combo-riffic arcade style to the utterly inspired soundtrack, Activision’s breakout extreme sports title offered something a little different for the people tired of the standardised sports sim experience back in the early 2000’s. Although the series may have petered out towards the middle of its existence before eventually dying on its arse at the end of is life cycle due to some impressively ill informed peripheral gimmicks, you can still bet your bottom doller that no one has a bad word to say about the first two Tony Hawks games.
Now that EA appear to have stopped making the seminal SKATE series, some bright sparks up at Activison HQ have decided that it would be a great time to turn back the clock and give the fans of this dying genre something that will get their pants stirring more than a copy of Fifty Shades read by Danny DeVito by releasing a HD remake of the best bits of the first two Tony Hawk titles. As much as I would like to think that this move has come along as an amazing breath of fresh air that relates souly to fan service, I can’t help but feel ol’ Tony and his mates have simply run out of ideas to remain relevant whilst simultaneously realising just how little people want to stand on a piece of shit plastic skateboard to play a video game. Regardless I, like many others, have been positively frothing at the mouth as soon as the news broke that this remake was happening.
So, how does it do it feel to sit down with an out and out classic video game that musically inspired a generation of crusty greebs to listen to ska and shit metal? Well first up all I can say is that it delivers a nigh on perfect updated representation of the 10+ year old games. It stays true to original titles in such a way that that as soon as you reach the menu screen you want to run into town, grab a pair of Criminal Damage jeans and get a shit 50 quid tribal tattoo on your face.
… It delivers a nigh on perfect updated representation of the 10+ year old games.
The amazing soundtrack consisting of classic gems by Bad Religion, Millincolin, Public Enemy and Goldfinger aside, all of the original two games’ core functions are alive and kicking in this combined remake. The old striped-down controls have been implemented to perfection and feel incredibly natural to use with a thumbstick. The later title’s million billion gimmicky tricks have been removed, so we are left with a very welcome toned down, easy to use trick scheme consisting of flips, grabs, manuals, grinds and stalls. The only issue I have is the lack of reverts but they are to be implemented in the soon to be released Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 DLC, so that isn’t too bad.
All of the old customary gameplay challenges used to unlock new levels are also present, such as collecting SKATE letters, hidden DVDs and high score runs. This is great for combo nuts or collectors but for someone like me who has been skateboarding for ten years it can get annoying if you just want to play the next level, especially as the last level of the game is the skate park mecca that is Marseilles. Sadly this is where some of my gripes with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD really start to come through.
When I was young I was just happy to play a decent game that featured one of my favorite sports. Grabbing letters and maxing scores didn’t seem nearly as tedious to progress to the point where I could unlock all levels, turn down all the stats, turn off automatic push and play as realistically as possible. These days I am old and spoilt; Tony Hawks games do nothing to appease my want for realism in a skating sim, thus myself and many others moved towards the SKATE franchise while Tony was left to flounder by the wayside. It’s through this this point I am unsure if anyone truly knows who the Tony Hawk games are marketing themselves to?
Is it actual skateboarders who know all the names of the tricks? No way, we hate arcade skaters and ridiculous hyper-realism. So it must be the combo grabbing high scoring head cases out there? Well I’m not sure if those kinds of people really exist these days or at least provide big money sales, just ask Shaun White and his doomed franchises.
Although Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a great remake there is sadly no escaping the fact that it is an old game. Despite the pretty sharp Unreal 3 graphics system the skateboarding genre has gone through some pretty radical changes throughout the years that at times makes this game feel a little empty, even boring. Add to this my only one true non-personal gameplay issue that the in-game camera feels a little isolated and you have nothing more than a pretty game showing its age… like a gilf. In short, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a well presented if slightly dated feeling game, it just may be worth ignoring it for now and remember the good times.
Fantastic sound track
Adventure to nostalgia town
It has Chris Cole in it
What next for the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise?
If this game was any more expensive I would give it a 5, but due to the 1200msp price range you really cant complain about anything… but I cant really highlight anything either.