Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review
I will not become obsessed again. I will not become obsessed again. I will not………..
Activision released the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the Playstation in 1999 and I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve put in to it, and many of its sequels over the years since. After a few failed attempts at revitalizing the franchise, Activision enlisted Robomodo to take it back to a time when it was one of the premier game franchises around by creating a remake of the early games in the series. The question is whether or not they can create a faithful remake for two of the best skateboarding games ever made.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a compilation of levels from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, which include Warehouse, School 2, The Hangar, Mall, Venice Beach, Downhill Jam and Marseille, with a nice new coat of paint. Each level is pretty much exactly as you remember it, although much nicer looking, with all of the original goals as well. For those who may not have played the original Tony Hawk games, the way it works is that you have two minutes on the clock to try to complete as many of the goals as you can. The goals include getting the High, Pro and Sick scores, collecting the letters S-K-A-T-E, finding the secret DVD (instead of the secret tape), collecting the floating cash and other tasks that vary per level. It’s the way Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was meant to be played and I’ve missed it dearly.
As you work your way through the Career levels you will earn cash for completing goals, which can be spent on upgrading your skater’s stats and buying new boards and special tricks. Each skater on the roster, which includes Tony Hawk, his son Riley Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Eric Koston, Nyjah Huston and more, have their own career progress to complete, which helps give you reason to keep playing. You’ll have to complete 100% of the goals and collect all of the cash on each level to unlock all of the extra goodies, which include new modes, new and much harder Projectives, cheats and secret skaters. There are only seven levels in the game at launch, which is fairly light, with Robomodo stating that there is DLC in the works which will include the revert and new levels from THPS3, but it would have been nice to see a few of them make it into the game at launch instead of as DLC.
Technically speaking, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is fairly solid, with no major glitches or issues that I could find. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t run into anything major that made me have less fun or ruined the experience. There are a few little things like skater physics when they bail, which can cause them to fly across the level from a minor wipe out, but in the end I just found it to be funny more than anything. As soon as your skater bails, you can press X to get them back up quicker, so it’s not the end of the world if they take too long to get up on their own. Robomodo built the game from the ground up and if you ask me they did a pretty good job of recreating what Neversoft made so great back in the day.
New to the game is a map of each level, which you can view at any time to get some help finding where the goals are located. It has different icons for each goal, which will help those having a hard time completing each level 100%. On the flip side, missing from the game are both level and character editors, which was a great part of THPS 2 and is missed in this remake. Having those editors would have been an easy way to increase the replay value and help justify the 1200 MS Point price tag, but then it would be harder to sell DLC, and this is Activision we are talking about.
On the Single Player side, after you are done with the Career mode there are also classic modes such as Free Skate and Single Session, and then new modes Hawkman and Big Head Survival, which was my personal favorite, to keep you busy. As you play Big Head Survival, your head will start to grow as time passes and you have to complete tricks to shrink it back down, with the goal being to see how long you can go before your head gets too big and explodes. It’s a great way to kill an afternoon. In Hawkman you have to collect lines of pellets while grinding, manualing and jumping through the line in the quickest time you can. It’s fun, but I preferred Big Head Survival more.
Last, but certainly not least is the soundtrack, which in a Tony Hawk game has become almost as important as doing tricks. Long time fans will be happy to know that “Superman” by Goldfinger has made its way back, along with “May 16″ by Lagwagon, “Heavy Metal Winner” by Consumed and four others from the original two games. Then there are seven new songs from bands such as Telekinesis, Apex Manor, Pigeon John and more. I can’t say I am a fan of all of the new songs, but overall it’s a good mix of new and old. Sadly the game doesn’t feature any kind of music player so you can’t select certain songs to play, or skip a song, which would have been nice.
While Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD does allow you to go online and battle it out in modes such as Free Skate, Trick Attack, Big Head Elimination and my favorite mode, Graffiti, it does not however let you play offline multiplayer, which is a very odd choice. Normally I’m not too concerned with a lack of local co-op, but Tony Hawk is one of the games I really wanted to have it.
As fun as it is to play online, which I would have been equally disappointed if it was not there, Tony Hawk is a game I grew up playing offline and having a ton of fun in the process and it’s a shame that for whatever reason, Robomodo left it out. I’ve heard of other players experiencing problems with the online modes, such as lag and general connectivity issues, but I didn’t have any issues myself. It always found a game to join and I didn’t notice any lag during my online sessions.
Long time fans of the Tony Hawk franchise who have been disappointed with the recent entries in the series will love going back to its roots, even with the lack of local co-op and park and character editors. It would be fair to say that there isn’t enough content to justify the $15 price, but being able to go back and replay some of my favorite levels with an HD upgrade was worth it in my opinion. The question now is whether or not the fun will last as long as it did before. Now that you know what you know, you can always go check out the trial version and see for yourself.