Tony Hawk's Project 8 Hands-On

We rolled around suburbia grinding rails, causing mischief, and racking up a heck of a hospital bill in the Xbox 360 version of Tony Hawk's Project 8.

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LEIPZIG, Germany--At the 2006 Leipzig Games Convention Activision's booth takes up a prime piece of real estate right next to Konami, Nintendo, and Sega. The centerpiece of its grand display is a massive halfpipe skate ramp, around which are kiosks where visitors can get their hands on the latest games in Activision's long-running Tony Hawk series of skateboarding games. The most notable new title is Tony Hawk's Project 8, which is playable on the show floor. We decided to give the game a go to see just how differently it plays from the previous titles in the series.

We started out with a punk-type skateboarder with a blue mohawk. The area we explored was suburbia, and we skated through backyard pools, quiet cul-de-sacs, neighborhood parks, and quaint gardens. If you've played previous Tony Hawk games you'll be able to pick this one up and feel right at home. You move using the left analog stick, jump with the A button, grind with the Y button, perform flip tricks with the X button, and grabs with the B button. You can also pivot using the left and right triggers. The trick, of course, is to string together as many tricks as possible without falling. Doing so will earn you combo points, and you can still pull off a massive trick chain that could feasibly take you through an entire level.

The basic structure of the game is the same. You'll see highlighted people around the world, and you can get up close to talk to them. Each character will present you with a challenge. The first challenge we saw required us to grind around a curb in a cul-de-sac, passing over four colored spots in a row without stopping. By completing the challenges you'll increase your rank and get that much closer to placing in the coveted Project 8.

One of the new types of challenges will be tied into the new bail mode where you'll control your fall. The damage you take as you flop around is translated into a hospital bill. While you'll see this tally at all times while you play the game, the actual amount only comes into play during these new challenges. Though we weren't able to try them, the challenges appear to encourage some self-inflicted pain. You'll apparently be tasked to rack up a set amount of damage by controlling your bail to ensure maximum pain, and a suitably high hospital bill.

Tony Hawk's Project 8 looks good in action, although it's not much of a leap forward from the previous game in the series. For one thing, the frame rate isn't stable, and we noticed it dipping quite frequently. There were also the occasional jerky animations and odd collision-detection issues. Many times the skater didn't seem to actually make contact with objects in the environment, which looked weird. However, there's still plenty of time before the game releases, so hopefully these issues will be addressed. As for the rest of the graphics, there's a good level of detail in the environments and character models, and the skaters look appropriately awkward when bailing or doing elaborate tricks.

Tony Hawk's Project 8 is scheduled to be released this November. While you wait you can browse through all of the screenshots, previews, and movies coming from the Leipzig Games Convention.

Discussion

30 comments
AdMordem
AdMordem

Ill by this... and TH9 ... and TH10 and..........

Snowy_90
Snowy_90

thats wat ppl want in skateboarding games these days, they want fun and humouros challenges rather than realisitic ones that are just boring. lets face it, tony hawks games are in no way targeted at people who actually skateboard. by focusing on the more bam-style skateboarding they can attract a much greater crowd, quite often ppl just looking for a fun game who arent even interested in skateboarding that much. skateboarding cant be made into a realistic and fun game. and u say that stevie williams and tony hawk are big sellouts, well so will those guys u mentioned if they mo-cap them.

onthe_dl
onthe_dl

as a skateboarder, this game takes away so much from skateboarding. A game like the old thrasher skate and destroy game should be created where it's hard to even do kickflips. THAW was the dumbest game i have ever played and i couldn't believe people actually enjoyed that crappy game. This one looks a bit better and i'm appreciating the mo capping, but they mo cap all the wrong people. mo-cap pj ladd, chris haslam, mike mo. These guys are the deffinition of skateboarding, not stevie williams who along with tony hawk is a huuuuge sellout. the three first tony hawk games were great, it stayed true to skateboarding formula and didn't make skateboarders look like total idiots. underground 1 was decent, but the storyline was very unbelievable, but after that they started pumping out the most mindless games ever and made skateboarding look like a joke. i hope activision actually puts some authenticity in it such as respect for skateboarders and not some stupid destruction tour.

bern20
bern20

Same old same old.

VentureElf
VentureElf

Looking good...I'm hoping on getting it. THAW was pretty good so I think this one will be.

poykoman619
poykoman619

i honestly think that this game has massive amounts of potential to shine through as not only another fantastic adventure into the arts of extreme sports, however in the adventure to stay cool is where the games always fail... what they need to do is include a more home version to skating, add the unheard of scaters and give them the line light aswell as all the big names and put in proper or real events so that the true skaters amonst us believe the action that is going on within the game so real world relations can take place

zippyzee
zippyzee

i didn't like the last TH game. i played it on the 360 and it was dissapointing.

durial117
durial117

This looks sweet im getting it. Great graphics thats fo sure.

HACHET_MAN1
HACHET_MAN1

I GETING THIS GAME WHEN IT COMES OUT

vlsi0n2156
vlsi0n2156

I'm going to watch this and see what happens to decide if it's a buy title.

spatulasrule
spatulasrule

this is definetly going on my top 10 most wanted for christmas, im a THPS,THUG,THAW-head since game one as long as they fix the framerate issues...im EXCITED!!!

XtremePhsyco
XtremePhsyco

if it is just slightly better than american wasteland, im buying it

SecretWasianMan
SecretWasianMan

I like the new direction they have for the Tony Hawk series. I didn't like the whole, "lets make it look crazy and throw in Bam Margera!" I'm definetly buying this game.

Nintendo-Nerd
Nintendo-Nerd

Well im going to buy it anyway because I always buy the new tony hawk games so we will see how it turns all out in the end, I hope it will be a better cup of coffee then THAW.

kekejefferis
kekejefferis

Nice :) cant wait to get this game its at the top of my to buy list this christmas.

snoxxx13
snoxxx13

ill bett this tony hawk will be better than ever :P

hi_im_derek
hi_im_derek

Sweet. Hopefully those issues will be resolved by release, but it sounds pretty good so far.

SOLIDUS_SNAKE
SOLIDUS_SNAKE

this could be good as it is a return to the older style TH games. but the hospital stuff sounds annoying and a pretty bad idea

shasam712
shasam712

It sounds alright, I am not sure about paying money everytime I fall though, I like to go big when it comes to tricks. I am sure the issues will be sorted out too, although there are always the odd bit of clipping with objects Neversoft are usually very good.

FRoStYisGoD
FRoStYisGoD

yeh gunna be a great game none the less

playmynutz
playmynutz

Dont matter its just a new tony hawk added to my collection

skatefreak89
skatefreak89

Totally new from the ground built. So not gonna pass. I have about all the Tony Hawk's, just as this one is gonna be added in my collection. Great graphics have you seen that water damn like in Far Cry

living420
living420

spelling mistake in second last paragraph... this game sounds like just another TH, i think ill pass.