Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (PS3)

Title: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Format: PlayStation Network Download (394 MB)
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Robomodo
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is also available on Xbox 360 and PC.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.

I love reminiscing about past experiences. I do it with my friends all the time. We talk about sports we played together, classes took, and above all games we used to play together. We were infatuated about gaming together. We would play plenty of games from Perfect Dark to Madden to Halo together and talk trash the whole time. One of the games that we had an absolute fun trash talking about high scoring was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. This was the game that had all of us so interested in skateboarding that we went out and bought our own skateboards. Granted, I could never pull off a 50-50 grind or even Ollie over a piece of wood, but I was the master at Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

That game holds a special place in my heart. When it was announced a remake of the series first two games was going to be made, I was extremely excited to get back to “The Warehouse” and set some new high scores. From all indications, this is the game that I loved but it does show its age.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is the same game that fans remember. You gain points by completing tricks with a higher score being given by the difficulty of the trick or by stringing combos together through grinds or manuals. The main meat of the game is the career mode. There are tons of goals you need to accomplish to open up new levels, equipment, and skaters. You will have to collect the iconic S-K-A-T-E letters, find the Hidden DVD, gain specific high scores, etc. All of these goals are fun throwbacks to the great games of the 90s. Don’t let anyone foul you in thinking though that this game is one of exploration and adventure. To me, this game is all about getting high scores. I can’t tell you how many times I would replay levels just to see how many more points I could get! It is an addiction of sorts and Robomodo nailed it! The only knock I can give it is that the Big Head, Hawkman, and Grafitti modes seem too simple. All of them involve either maintaining or getting a high score. The developer could have used some creative ways to keep me coming back.

Big Head Mode is one of the new modes that makes an addition. It is fun, but nothing ground breaking. You have to keep doing tricks or else your head grows and explodes!

In terms of levels, there are seven from both Tony Hawk 1 & 2. Some of the fan favorites like The School or The Warehouse make a return and feel just as great as before. What does not feel as great as I remember is the skating aspect. There were many times were the collision detection was too touchy. I would be going through the course, graze the wall and lose all of my momentum. It was always a bug of the Tony Hawk games as the skating had bugs to it. By no means is it broke, but there will be times where you will touch something while skating and it totally slows you down. Along with the collision detection, the controls have many flaws. Many times I tried to skate the wall or manual, and the controls were not corresponding. I would do the same control input again, and my skater would do it! It was frustrating as many of the goals can only be done with certain moves. I definitely said some strong verbiage about this game after some of the late nights due to these issues.

The control issues along with the collision detections do not ruin the experience. Performing tricks, grinds, manuals, etc. are still fun and exciting. When you nail your first 900, the rush to get more points explodes. I will keep beating the drum about this, but Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD has the same thrills as the past games, which is a great thing! Those score chasers will keep the game very relevant for years to come.

Many games that are remade in HD do not always turn out so well. The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection comes to mind. They take the existing game and up the resolution. The developers did not follow that trend. They built the game from the ground up and it shows in the graphics department. The skater models look great with good detail and the stages are what stand out most. They are the icons of this series. The attention to detail that has been paid is great. The stages look just like what you will remember except better. The interactivity that the stages offer is also a staple of the series. The first time that you see the police officer in his golf cart at The School, you will giggle. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD keeps the visual flare of old, but updates it to modern standards.

All the graphics have been updated to HD goodness! It shows how much effort the developers have put in.

Have you ever listened to a CD like a hundred times, not listen to it for a couple of years, then listen to it and rock out? Yep, that is how I felt with this game! The first time the game started and I heard Superman by Goldfinger, it brought a huge smile to my face. The soundtrack makes Tony Hawk, Tony Hawk! The sound effects are done well too. It is a very simple game, but the soundtrack is what makes the game. It is top notch just like all of the previous games!

Online play has the distinction of being where I had the most fun. Instead of going over to my friends and playing, we were able to jump online and have some free skating action. We were also able to play any of the game modes from Big Head to Trick Attack. Let’s just say, I have not lost anything in terms of being the trick master. The online play was smooth with no lag, and talking trash seems like a norm on there. All of the seven maps can be played in online matches. You are also able make private matches so no one else joins. The knock I will say is the lack of split screen. I do love having my own screen to play, but this can be a great party game as your friends come over to challenge you. They did miss a great opportunity with that.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a blast from the past. It offers the same thrills without innovating anywhere. The modes are a lot of fun but tire out quickly. What will keep gamers like me coming back for more is gaining higher and higher scores on each level. That is what these games were always about, and it does it in diamonds.

I still cannot give this game an 9, but an 8 is still a good score. The replay value is where this game will hold up, and I dare anyone to challenge my high scores!


Written by Nathan Hensler

Follow me on twitter, or play a game with me on PS3.
Xbox is also an option: Chili16, or maybe Steam, wait no my computer sucks 🙁

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