Tony Hawk Shreds Moderately Well With "Pro Skater HD" Game
Robert Workman, TechNewsDaily Contributor
July 18 2012 02:01 PM ET
CREDIT: Pro Skater HD
A few years back, Tony Hawk shredded into video game territory in style with the release of several "Pro Skater" games, which enabled players to grind, grab and kickflip like a champ, without the threat of skinning (or breaking) body parts.
The series was popular for some time, but took a wrong turn a couple of years back when Activision tried to introduce physics that resemble a real skateboarder with the failed "Tony Hawk Ride" and "Shred" games. Thankfully, the series has returned to form with the release of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD," now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
In the game, you'll choose from various famous skateboarders, including Hawk himself, as well as Rodney Mullen and Riley Hawk. You'll hit such grindable terrain as a school, a shopping mall and a warehouse, riding on rails and chaining together trick combos to achieve the best score possible. Each stage has a certain set of objectives, and you must meet a number of them before opening up new levels of the game.
"Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD" gives you plenty to do. Along with all the single player goals, you can hop online and challenge a friend to a skate-off and try to shoot to the top of the leaderboards. You're also able to partake in new bonus modes, including a coin-collecting Hawkman event and a humorous Big Head Survival mode, where you literally try to keep your ego from growing.
Robomodo, the game's developer, really pumped up the graphics for “Pro Skater HD”. They are the brightest the series has ever seen, with wonderfully high definition rendered levels from previous games, and boarders that look just like the real things.
For good measure, the team also brought back a number of classic songs from the original (like “Superman” and “When Worlds Collide”), as well as some decent new additions.
However, this isn't entirely a smooth ride. The physics are questionable at times, as sometimes you'll "bail" (crash) on a landing that you swore would be just right. Also, the online performance is iffy, thanks to lag and the continuous requirement of loading up new matches. Finally, some of the classic players in the game, namely Rune Glifberg and Bucky Lasek, didn't make the cut, probably due to licensing rights.
Despite these hang-ups, however, we're just happy to see "Tony Hawk" back on its wheels, especially after “Ride” and “Shred” hit the pavement. "Pro Skater HD" reminds us of a simpler time in gaming, when you could chain together million-point combos and show off to the point that you felt like you were better than Hawk can ever be. Of course, he knows better…
RATING: *** (out of 4)
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