Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Hands-On

We get a demo build of THPS2 with a more complete version of the game's park editor, two skaters, and a final level.

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 has been getting a lot of hype lately, and for good reason. The original THPS revolutionized skateboarding video games, and while THPS2 won't re-invent the skateboarding genre, it successfully builds upon the foundation laid by the first Tony Hawk.

The feature that's going to change the whole game for Tony Hawk players is the manual. Basically, a manual is akin to popping a wheelie, and is the starting point for several different skateboarding tricks. You can perform a manual at any time, as long as you're on the ground. This means that on your way into a trick and on your way out of a trick are prime places for manuals, as they can string two tricks together. The manual is incredibly easy to do - hit up-down or down-up quickly and you're in one. So now anyone with any bit of skill can string an endless series of grinds and kick-tricks together with manuals. Grind a rail, jump to another rail, jump back, jump off and manual before you hit the ground, coast your way to another rail and start it all over again. In the demo alone I've been able to use that method to score myself up to 50,000 points in just one trick.

Another big feature in Tony Hawk is the park editor. The layout and design of the park editor is very, very cool, but actually skating the park makes you realize that you're not as good a designer as you may have thought. It's somewhat difficult to plan out anything more than a few half-pipes, and getting good rails together is pretty tough. Another problem I had with the park editor is that there aren't any sloped low-laying rails, like those found in the original Tony Hawk. All of the sloped rails found in the track editor are high rails, making them impossible to ollie to.

From what I could see, THPS2 is another dose of that awesome Tony Hawk gameplay combined with cleaner graphics, new tricks, and tons of revisions and additions. I can't wait to get my hands on a full build of the game.

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