Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
"There's a place where everybody can be happy, it's the most beautiful place in the whole fuckin world..."
Bad Religion may not have been thinking of video games when they came up with those lines, but nevertheless they ring true as we return to the origins of the Tony Hawk series.
The question hovered in the air, much like Tony Hawk hovers in the midst of performing a 900 high above the ground. How does the pinnacle of the Tony Hawk series hold up ten years after its release? The answer is that it holds up tremendously well.
To those of us who played the game back in 1999 until our thumbs were bleeding, perfecting runs as we collected the letters that made out SKATE, or chaining combos together for as long as we possibly could; the button combinations have been magically kept in our memories and it's both a beautiful and nostalgic experience to venture back. However, more importantly, it still holds up in this day and age, and a good effort has been made to adapt the experience.
The stars of that era have been aged in-game. Tony Hawk sports wrinkles, Rodney Mullen looks well past his best, but in order not to give the kids of today a scare, some younger and more current heroes including Nyjah Huston, Chris Cole, and Tony's son, Riley Hawk, have been included. The option of playing with your avatar is also there, and it actually works wonderfully well as the avatar is a surprising fit in the Tony Hawk world.
The career mode spans seven locations, with twelve skaters as well as your own, dollars to earn and levels to achieve. Naturally there is also an online leaderboard to climb, and without maxing out your skater you'll only have half the fun with the game.
In addition to the career, there are free skating and individual sessions as well as the brand new Hawkman and Big Head Survival modes. Hawkman is a not very exciting collect mode, where we are tasked with picking up coloured balls. It's a good place to learn about the best lines through the levels, but that is really all it's good for. Big Head Survival Mode on the other hand, is highly entertaining. In this mode you have to keep on performing big tricks and keep your combo running as your head grows, time keeps ticking down and it's a very unforgiving and challenging mode.
There is also a Big Head Elimination mode in the online multiplayer. Or we could just skate to see who scores the most points, or battle for turf in Graffiti mode where you tag certain ramps or rails by scoring a trick with more points than your opponent. Great multiplayer fun that hasn't aged a bit. Sadly, however, there is no splitscreen option for local multiplayer. A nice modern addition is the inclusion of Facebook integration, which will no doubt be welcomed if you have a few friends who are into the game as much as you. Posting scores and creating a bit of real-world rivalry.
The visuals are decent by today's standards. The old levels have been pimped out subtly, while retaining the layout. In essence they have kept things as close to the original experience as possible, and frankly, that's not a bad thing at all. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is a great package of fun, even if the selection of tricks and the locations sometimes come across as a bit antiquated. And if you're a veteran of the series you will no doubt dig the soundtrack.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD provides us with the same addictive rush of a button pushing skateboarding game as it did back in the day. And while this game doesn't rival the visual or technical provess of the Skate series, it has aged remarkably well. This is just simply Tony Hawk...
- System:PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Release date:18 July 2012
- Skate PS3/Xbox 360
- Tony Hawk's Project 8 Multi
- Turbo Super Stunt Squad Multi
- Shaun White Skateboarding Multi
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