Release Date: July 18th, 2012
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360] XBLA, PSN
Genre: Extreme Sports
Rated: T for Teen
Tony Hawk games have certainly hit rock bottom as of late. For whatever reason it might be, anything over exerted tends to fizzle out among the infinite cosmos of lost game franchises. Sometimes you just have to sit down and start traveling back to your roots ; discover what works and contrast that with what doesn’t. We would not be the first to say that the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was the golden era of sport and skateboarding games of it’s time. Robomodo’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is the anticipated remake we all have been waiting for, and just for your information, the nostalgia within itself makes this game worth checking out.
The redesign and re-imaging of the maps leave a stellar impression. While most of the maps stay true to the feel of Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2, there were definitely some great face lifts and modifications from the original that really set the tone. Lighting and color pallets fit well with each map and the best part of all, no more distance fog! The absence of distance fog in itself really makes this game sparkle over its predecessor. Character models look really good and do a good job to resemble the actual skaters they were modeled after. If you want a quick comparison of graphics, there is a picture below for your viewing pleasure.
It was mostly to be expected but they did mess with the soundtrack. Seven new songs were added to the Pro Skater series, where as seven are taken from the first two Pro Skater games; one from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and six from Pro Skater 2. The good news is that all the songs actually fit really good with the game. There is nothing like a good soundtrack to listen to while shredding on the concrete playground. In game sound effects sound very crisp if anyone cares but mostly you wont even notice because of the awesome soundtrack.
- Public Enemy featuring Anthrax – “Bring the Noise”
- Goldfinger – “Superman”
- Powerman 5000 – “When Worlds Collide”
- Consumed – “Heavy Metal Winner”
- Lagwagon – “May 16”
- Millencolin – “No Cigar”
- Bad Religion – “You”
- Pigeon John – “The Bomb”
- Lateef the Truthspeaker – “We the People”
- Pegasuses-XL – “Marathon Mansion!”
- Apex Manor – “Teenage Blood”
- Telekinesis – “Please Ask for Help”
- El-P featuring Trent Reznor – “Flyentology (Cassettes Won’t Listen Remix)”
- Middle Class Rut – “USA”
So what about gameplay? Can you expect a great Tony Hawk experience? Yes.Yes you can.
Some have argued that gravity and physics aspects have been fiddled with but to be honest, there is no 100% way to tell how spot on it is from the original. With this game being completely redone in the Unreal Engine, it would be logical to assume there are some discrepancies. Tricks are still easy to pull off and the control scheme feels really natural. While we are on the topic of tricks, expect a whole bag of them in Tony Hawk PS HD. The more you play with one character in Career Mode, the more cash you acquire to unlock new moves, skateboards, and even new skill points. There are still plenty of goals to complete in each level and as simple as they are, you will be burning several hours trying to complete them all.
Free Skate mode makes a return along with Single Session. New modes like Hawkman and Big Head Survival are also included in Tony Hawk PS HD. In Hawkman you must travel the map and collect different colored pellets while in Big Head Survival you need to keep landing tricks to stop your head from exploding. Trick Attack and Graffitti make a return but stay exclusive to Xbox Live multiplayer. A lot of you readers are going to cringe but there is no split-screen play. If you want to play mutiplayer you better hope your brother, sister, friend, or other relative has their own console and copy. This reduction from the game wont set well with a lot of people but its not all together unexpected. It does seem like a lot of games are straying from split-screen all together but if you were expecting the roster to remain 100% in-tact and untouched then you are in for a slight disappointment.
Just like changes in the soundtrack, the re-imaging of the roster seems to be aimed at steering the game into a more modern state. Playable skaters in Tony Hawk PS HD are Tony Hawk, Chris Cole, Eric Koston, Nyjah Huston, Andrew Reynolds, Rodney Mullen, Lyn-z Adams Hawkins (Pastrana), Jake Harrison, Emily Westlund, and Tony’s son Riley Hawk. This won’t rest easy with hardcore fans but personally speaking, the roster update does seem like a good idea on the part of the developers.
More content is set to release for this game in the form of Pro Skater 3 DLC which includes reverts. For some reason, Robomodo decided to opt out reverts from the main game. While the new DLC will take use of reverts no updates will be applied to the existing maps. Love it or hate it, that is the way it goes.
So, what’s the bottom line? Well, the classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater series is just as addictive now as it was 10+ years ago when the original’s came out. This reboot is a big turn in the right direction and we as gamers can only hope that Activision will embrace it. The nostalgia is unprecedented when you travel back to the good old days in Pro Skater HD. Don’t sit on the fence any longer, especially if you grew up on the originals. Yes there are some big changes and some things we might have liked to have seen that didn’t make it in. When it comes down to it, this game is what the Tony Hawk games have been needing for a long time. It’s not a perfect “port” but the game is still just as fun now as it was back then. If you want Pro Skater for verbatim, go back to your old PS One or Nintendo 64. If you want a solid experience, albeit it changed slightly, pick up this latest rendition. For just 1200 Microsoft points and $15 PSN you can have some of the best fun this side of any arcade library.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5