Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD

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The concept is simple: bring a previously successful game franchise back into the spotlight with a remake of its original, successful game’s, and maybe in the process, making some improvements. The final product, however, can’t even match the original, let alone improve on it. If it weren’t for the new graphics, you’d think it was a lame knock-off, or something much worse. Yes, let’s take a brief look at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, a remake of a few THPS1 and 2 levels, that’s just arrived on Xbox Live Arcade.

  • Score:

    4.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Graphics seem better than the original.

    They got rid of the gimmicky motion accessory

  • The Bad:

    Horrible animations.

    Bad controls and overall weird feeling of weight and physics.

    The originals are better in every other way.

    No split-screen and online multiplayer was worthless.

     

  • Bottom Line:

    A cheap, crappy look back at a great game. The original has much, much better gameplay than this. The first time in a long time that I’ve been this disappointed in a game.

Don’t buy this game. Nostalgia is a strong, strong feeling, but don’t do it. You’re wasting your money. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is literally one of the most disappointing, annoying game’s I’ve played in a long, long time. Not only does it destroy any element that made the original games good, but it’ll make you wonder why it wasn’t delayed. Or why it was released at all, despite the obvious answer which is to make money.

Announced last year, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD was meant to be a fresh slate, with a new Tony Hawk game that didn’t use the unsuccessful RIDE motion-gaming accessory. And I was, personally, excited. I had forgotten that a good Tony Hawk game hadn’t been made for a long time, probably the last one I’ve really enjoyed being Underground 1 or 2. But, despite my excitement, this isn’t a good game. The developer’s have cut corner’s, probably at no fault of their own, and made a game that I wouldn’t recommend to even the most hardcore Tony Hawk fans.

Yes, that negativity a little over the top, but I truly felt sad playing this. I know the original’s aren’t seen as amazing, but I still played the crap out of Tony Hawk: Skateboarding on the original PlayStation. And after abandoning my attempts to re-enter the world of the franchise after Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground on the PS3, I thought this might finally be a good Tony Hawk game. Something that at least feels like Underground or the Pro Skater series. But it isn’t. It’s unpolished.

Don’t get me wrong, it works. But not well.

Built with the newer Tony Hawk engine, there is a distinctly different weight to the player. You don’t feel like you’re a great skater (like in the original), but instead feel you’re fighting against the game. As you fall, choppy, awkward ragdoll animation’s kick in, and if  you’re lucky, you will only slightly fall through the rail, wall or floor, clipping the skater’s model. Even on the first level, Warehouse, as you go off the ramp over a quarter-pipe (sorry any real skateboarders for my lack of lingo) there’s a room that sits above the gap. And as you fly over gap, you’re body bumps along through the floor of the room, as if you don’t have legs. The overall feeling of skating is a massive part of this game, yet it’s so terrible. And, while it may sound like I just don’t like change, the new way you skate just feels clumsy at best. I dream of a day when we get the pre-’next gen’ physics or controls back.

The level recreations, apart from the horrid collision detection, aren’t bad. In-fact, they’re the only redeeming factor of the remake. Fairly nice textures, apart from a slight blur with textures on the ground that are just a little length away, but that’s just nitpicking. If this was the original game on these levels, it’d be a solid improvement. However, for 1200 points there are only 7 levels, which is a little disappointing, especially since more will be added as DLC. Also, no Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 levels until the DLC drops, which again makes me wish that at least one or two levels of these levels replaced something else.

Multiplayer is online-only, despite the fun of playing this game with friends in the same room through split-screen, and for such a fast-paced game, the online multiplayer, for me, felt laggy and frustrating. It may be some day-one trouble, maybe it’s better if you live in the US, but I doubt it’ll improve for Australian’s. Basically, it’s a pointless option. Maybe if I’m lucky they’ll DLC it in, but that’s unlikely.

So overall, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD just seems half-baked, and even then, the whole new way the game feels is inferior to the old system, especially in these classic environments. If you really want some nostalgia and quality, either buy Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on the iPhone or grab an old version of an original game, if you can somehow find one. Don’t bother with this. You’re going to have a bad time. And that’s coming from a Tony Hawk apologist.

Now excuse me while I dust off my PS1 copy of the Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and enjoy a good Tony Hawk game.

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