Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Impressions

Activision shows off a trailer of its upcoming "World Destruction Tour."

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When Tony Hawk's Underground was released last year, it changed a lot of the basic concepts found in previous Tony Hawk games. Everything from the way you earned stat points to the game's story mode was switched around. Now, Activision and Neversoft are once again reworking the Tony Hawk franchise a bit with their next game, Tony Hawk's Underground 2.

The trailer for THUG2 being shown at E3 bills the product as two games in one. The first is a full-fledged story mode that seems like it will be at least somewhat similar to the original THUG, but the story sounds much more involved. THUG2's story mode will pit Team Hawk against Team Margera in a world destruction tour. Most of the footage showed created skaters hanging out with Bam Margera's team, which appears to include Mike Vallely; Bam's dad, Phil; and a character model that looked like one of Bam's Viva La Bam buddies, Ryan Dunn. You'll be able to skate as yourself, just like in the last game, but you'll also be able to switch over to any one of your team members on the fly. So if you've ever wanted to skate as Phil--clad only in his underwear--THUG2 has exactly what you've been looking for.

A lot of the new features shown in the demo play up the world-destruction-tour aspect of the game. You'll be able to slap stickers onto objects as you do wallplants, you'll be able to throw projectiles at nearby pedestrians, and you'll be able to get off of your board and tag up walls with graffiti. On the skating side of things, you'll have access to something called "slo-mo focus control," which appears to let you slow down the action to give yourself a better chance of landing a trick.

You'll be able to recruit pedestrians for your skate team, and this will result in 20 characters to find and enlist. So if you've ever wanted to skate as a hot dog vendor, complete with umbrella and hot dogs, or Ben Franklin, complete with a kite, now's your chance. The game also appears to have a collection of costumes. One costume had a skater looking like he was straight out of Oktoberfest. Tony Hawk was spotted rocking a matador outfit, much like he does on the cover of a skate video called The End. Vehicles will also return to the series. One clip showed a person riding on a tricked-out Segway-like scooter with flames and pipes.

In addition to the story mode, the game will also have classic mode, which looks like it brings back the two-minute run timer. There will be around 100 unique goals in classic mode, and some of the levels here will be taken from previous games in the series. For example, we noticed the Canada level from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 at one point.

Like Tony Hawk's Underground, THUG2 will allow for plenty of customization. You'll be able to create a skater, goals, parks, tricks, and, with the addition of graffiti, your tag. The tag editor appears to work much like the other graphical editors in place for creating your own deck, in that you work with a collection of premade graphics and have the ability to layer them as you see fit.

No release or platform information for THUG2 has been made available at this time. We'll have more on THUG2 as it becomes available.

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