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Review

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Review

  • Game release: July 18, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • X360
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD just about nails the feel of vintage Tony Hawk, but it's a lean package that fails to capitalize on that foundation.

For better or worse, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD makes for an awfully appropriate encapsulation of the series as a whole. Activision's seminal skateboarding franchise came charging out of the gate, inspiring a generation of virtual skaters before a yearly onslaught of sequels ultimately drained the series of all its momentum. Likewise, Robomodo's remake of levels from the first two THPS games impresses early on with its modernized visuals and convincing approximation of vintage Tony Hawk action. But once that initial hit of nostalgia wears off, the faults begin to emerge: a lean selection of levels, entire game modes missing in action, and wipeout animations best described as eccentric. There's a great foundation here, but precious little beyond that.

At its core, Pro Skater HD works quite well as a remake of early-era Tony Hawk. Grabs, flip tricks, and grinds all have the same basic feel as they did in those first few games, while the career mode structure of completing various goals within a two-minute window is one that works just as well 13 years later. The controls can get a little finicky when it comes to performing specific types of grinds, and you'll occasionally find yourself coming to a dead stop when you lightly graze a wall, but for the most part Robomodo's done a solid job of porting the high-flying, exaggerated feel of Tony Hawk-style skateboarding to a modern engine.

Unfortunately, things get ugly when you fall off your board--and not in the usual blood-splattered parade of injuries you'd usually associate with skateboarding. When bailing, you'll often see your character twitch as though possessed by demons, fail to tumble downward when wiping out at the top of a half-pipe, or simply disappear right through the ground. Other, more subtle, visual hiccups litter the game as well, including frequent instances of your skateboard clipping through the very handrail you're supposed to be grinding. It's unfortunate to see so many visual quirks bouncing around the game, because they really distract from a solid HD upgrade that adds all sorts of improvements ranging from better textures to improved lighting.

As a greatest hits collection of levels from the first two Tony Hawks, Pro Skater HD reflects some spotty taste. On the one hand, some of the greatest levels from THPS2 are present and accounted for, including School II, Venice, and Marseilles. However, the levels pulled from the first THPS are more questionable. These include two downhill tracks in the form of Mall and Downhill Jam. Returning to these levels now, it's all too clear why Neversoft abandoned the idea of downhill courses after that first game: missing an objective by a hair and having to go all the way back to the start simply isn't much fun.

Oddities like clipping through rails distract from a solid HD upgrade.

It's a shame better stages from the first game didn't make the cut, because Pro Skater HD features only seven levels in total--three fewer than THPS2 shipped with 12 years ago. It's symptomatic of a larger problem facing the game, which is a lack of content to support its solid foundation. Features from THPS2 like create-a-skater and create-a-park are missing entirely, as is local multiplayer. There is online multiplayer, but you'll only find three game modes and not a single one of them is HORSE, the classic turn-based duel of one player matching another's trick.

One exception to the lack of additional content is Pro Skater HD's collection of unlockables. As you progress through career mode, you're rewarded with a fairly regular stream of cheats and new characters including series stalwart Officer Dick. This stuff doesn't add a tremendous amount of content to the overall package, but it does nicely mimic the goofy sense of humor displayed in those early Tony Hawk games, that sense that the developers always had some silly joke waiting for you behind the curtains.

But for every moment you feel like you're being swept back to the beginning of the millenium, there are one or two harsh reminders of the compromises made to the passing of time. Roughly half the soundtrack consists of new songs, and beyond that the game's roster of skaters is dominated by relative newcomers. Names like Bob Burnquist and Kareem Campbell have been replaced by the likes of Jake Harrison and Emily Westlund. These are the types of changes you could excuse in a more robust package, but here they serve as yet another reminder that this just isn't the Tony Hawk you remember.

If the roster of newer skaters isn't up your alley, you can always play as your Xbox avatar.

And that's too bad, because the core of Pro Skater HD is Tony Hawk through and through. The skateboarding is nearly identical to that of the first few games, and the career mode remains every bit as playable as it was when those games first came out. But the essence of a franchise doesn't make a complete game, and Pro Skater HD's overall package is a modest and meager one that fails to capitalize on that foundation. Tony Hawk may yet return to form, but this won't be the game that takes him there.

The Good
Plays like classic Tony Hawk
Nicely detailed HD visuals
Plenty of unlockables
The Bad
Meager and questionable choice of levels
Awkward bail animations and numerous visual quirks
Missing several game modes from THPS2
6
Fair
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0 comments
Enther
Enther

Totally disagree with the review, this crap DOES NOT feels anything like a THPS game. I played & keep playing all of them and this is something you would get for free on the AppStore. The movement feels incredibly sluggish, tricks don't pop like you would expect, it is far easier to make huge scores and worst of all (let alone the lack of content, dedication and respect to the series and their own job)... 

Do you remember those diagonal + pressing twice flip, grab or grind/manual button? Well... those don't exist here. The most complex trick you can do is presing twice the same direction plus any face button. WOW.

I really don't get why Shaun says "The skateboarding is nearly identical to that of the first few games". Do yourself a favor and undust your PSONE/2 copies of THPS and let this shit dead as it is right now.

Inferi-Fang
Inferi-Fang

This game feels nothing like the original THPS games. It plays like crap.

vujacicdoinw0rk
vujacicdoinw0rk

I don't know why you are all crying about split screen, this game isn't even good enough to play.  Why would you want to play a horrible game and make a friend sit through the awful experience.

will3k3
will3k3

i love tony hawk pro skater 2, by far the best one made to date. this is just a tease of the golden days. i love the graphics but they left so much out. the great soundtrack and other great levels. the lack of split screen made me hope i could buy a digital fire and burn this game. they had something great and they dropped the ball

korn62586
korn62586

No split-screen play?!?!?!?!?!   that's a little ridiculous 

veggie530
veggie530

The game is too thin, I agree. There's no San Francisco level from THPS... so sad.

onixevil
onixevil

Everything with Underground is:D

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

This was my exact impression of the game.  It definitely feels stripped.  I don't remember every detail about the original games, but I do remember many of the things that this game seems to lack.  What about music options and stuff?  Why not just port the game how it was?  Why not port the more popular and better games, like Tony Hawk's Underground?  I played that game for forever

teknic1200
teknic1200

I don't think it's fair to drop the game down so far on bail animations and a thin selection of levels.   I will say more levels would have been nice, but those are put aside to generate additional revenue.

 

Maybe I'm an acceptation to to the rule, I played the heck out of these games when they launched and HD feels just like the originals so far as gameplay is concerned.

 

I just wanna do reverts, thps3 levels come out!

THE_DRUGGIE
THE_DRUGGIE

Good thing I still have my copies of the old Tony Hawk games.

 

At least I can play with my friends in those.

Bane_09
Bane_09

Activision ruins everything they get their hands on

farhad2690
farhad2690

6 point is not enough for a EA game

PC-RUL3S
PC-RUL3S

I was going to purchase this game when I first heard about it because I actually thought they were going to make a game with everything from THPS & THPS 2 included but this wasn't the case it doesn't include half the modes that were fun back in the day and most importantly there is NO F**KING SPLIT SCREEN.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

Maybe Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x is backwards compatible with Xbox 360?

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

Hey, this is Activision we're talking about here. Them and EA form the Destruction of Childhood Memories Organization, or DCMO for short.

Subgogo
Subgogo

I don't care what anybody thinks, this review is BS and Tony Hawk HD is at least a 7.5

ZziVaderZz
ZziVaderZz

Tony Hawks Project 8 and underground 2 were my favorites, but every skate game was better than tony hawks. Skate 2=Best skating game.

Eldridge00
Eldridge00

Played at a friends house, gotta say the review is pretty spot on for a change.  Really fun in the first 2 levels, then the problems start.  No Local Multiplayer is ridiculous.  Bails that used to be funny and gruesome, which eased some of the frustration of falling, are now boring and glitchy.  General glitches and bail recovery spots are frustrating at best and make you think you are playing the original game, not a remake.

gim5555
gim5555

Thps2 and Thp8 are the best in series!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But this is also pretty good ;)

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

No local multiplayer? Yeah, I think I'll just stick with my American Wasteland.

Fossil-
Fossil-

I was kind of pumped for this, but somehow they found a way to screw it up.

-No Splitscreen

-No HORSE

-Only 7 levels and not even the best choices

While the 3rd point is arguable, the first two make the game a complete FAIL

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

So this morning when I purchased the game, I had to download a 23mb update. Since I haven't noticed any of the bail animation glitches that are stated in the review, I believe they've been fixed.

ck02623
ck02623

The frame rate is kind of iffy too.

TRAVISTOUCHD0WN
TRAVISTOUCHD0WN

old car with new paint..... fail......( unless its metal gear or zelda:)

TRAVISTOUCHD0WN
TRAVISTOUCHD0WN

old car with new paint= fail unless its metal gear or zelda

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

The gameplay video is so boring! Do some tricks!!

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Questionable levels? These are some of the very best in both THPS, although my complaint would be too few levels, could have had at least 10.

Sw1tched
Sw1tched

This would of been sweet in 2001

teknic1200
teknic1200

just loving thps hd, but I played 2 and 3 for years.   I haven't had grind clipping yet, however.

 

specials are a snap is you use up,down or down,up and left right, right left.

 

getting your player leveled up a bit helps pull stuff off, I'm not getting the "clunky" controls folks are complaining of. it plays true to the original.

RiverCityRandom
RiverCityRandom

Man, the haters are out. I bought the game and I'm having fun with it. 

Kos1c
Kos1c

Omg, that UI layout is fucking horrible. I knew not to get this. The days Tony Hawks pro skater ruled the gaming world for skateboarding was the days arcade gaming was accepted more often. You guys remember the WWF In the house? If you do, you know what I mean. As soon as EA released their first skateboarding title, they did it right from the get go. Realistic skateboarding, and tricks that required skill and felt rewarding when landed. I still play my copies of Skate 2 and 3, just because they are great games, and it helps keep my mind on skateboarding on those rainy days. Btw, this is all from a skateboarders opinion (since I skate, and have done for almost 10 years). Sorry Tony Hawk/Activision you can't bring life back to your franchise, just face it.

MxAa
MxAa

 @will3k3 Incorrect, if you are a PRO player then THPS 3 PC is the best to date...

dovonob
dovonob

 @Bane_09  erm........don't take this wrong way I'm not having a go but they published the originals so I'm not sure you can blame them, i would blame them for letting Robomodo do this crappy attempt though. Did they even offer it to Neversoft who actually made the game in the first place?

 

 

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

 @Subgogo Wow, if a 1.5 point deviation constitutes "BS" I'd hate to see what would happen if I was a whole 2 points off!

veggie530
veggie530

 @ZziVaderZz Disagree. Underground was great, Underground 2 was all right... THPS 1-4 were all very good. I still think THPS1 was the best ever.

gamekingpin
gamekingpin

Agree...

I had skate 2 a long while back and traded it in but just this past weekend I got it on demand and I played it all day yesterday like non stop.  I dont think I could play another kind of skating game.  I used to love the Tony Hawk games but, I just cannot go back to it.

Greyfeld
Greyfeld

 @RiverCityRandom That just means you can enjoy the game despite its flaws.  Congratulations.  But please, continue to tell people that they don't know what they're talking about, as if admitting that a game isn't perfect means you can't enjoy it.

veggie530
veggie530

 @Kos1c THPS was an awesome game and paved the way. It wasn't about "realistic" skating, it was about a great arcade experience for skaters and non-skaters alike.

 

I can still go back on my PSX and play THPS and THPS2 and have an absolute blast. Timeless games.

teknic1200
teknic1200

 @Kos1c I know, spending all that time skating in the UI is such a drag...

teknic1200
teknic1200

 @Kos1c THPS =/= skate.  totally different beasts.  thps 3 peaked for the series and it went down from there.  not two games worth comparing.  sim vs. arcade.

RiverCityRandom
RiverCityRandom

 @Greyfeld Son, I don't know where to begin. If your implying that I'm telling people how to enjoy their game, you're wrong. If I'm not allowed to acknowledge that there are a lot of people that don't like this game (but I do), then I guess I'm on the wrong site.

Kos1c
Kos1c

 @teknic1200 Yeah, I agree it's hard to compare the two, since it's apples and oranges in this case (Arcade vs Sim).But THPS and EA skate are the only two skateboarding games in this modern time for gaming.THPS is still trying to take the open market, since EA have cut back on making their Skate since Skate3 was a flop for profits.But they haven't really changed their formula since the first Tony Hawk's game.I honestly, thought the THPS Ride/Shred game would've been the thing that pushed THPS forward. Since it removes the whole arcade aspect, and makes it a bit more 'real.'But as soon as the gameplay was on the screen (I never tried the game only seen the trailers), you knew it was just the same old crap with a big old motion fail board.If they had spent more time on fixing this board, and took a realistic look at skateboarding and video games, they could've made every skateboarders wet dream. A video game where you could have fun skating indoors on a rainy day. They would've of needed it to be insanely close to the real thing. But close enough that you felt that it took some skill/movement to do advance tricks, but easy enough for anyone to use.

huerito323
huerito323

 @teknic1200 Actually THUG was awesome. I'd say that was the last greatest Tony Hawk game. 3 was my fav though.

Kos1c
Kos1c

 @teknic1200 Don't get me wrong. THPS 1, 2 and 3, were amazing games. But they were good for their time, which was what ?8-10 years or so ago. It's just that over the course of the Tony Hawk's franchise, it hasn't really changed. It was still pretty basic to what a skateboarding game could've been. That's when EA did it right with Skate. But, they tried to go all arcadey in #2 and 3, with the whole bail points system. Those missions were a drag in that game. I don't see myself playing THPS anymore. I had gotten a copy of #4 for the Pc the other year, and the whole Ollie + left on D-pad + flick button to do kickflips, felt a little too simple to enjoy.I'll stick with the whole skateboarding sim of EA. :DI've not tried the balance board and EA skate (I'm assuming for the Wii?). But I've put countless hours into Skate 3, since the park builder is fun, but honestly the park system in THPS2 or 3 was way better.

teknic1200
teknic1200

 @Kos1c I'll agree, but I'm 40 and I played the **** outta THPS 2 & 3.

 

That said, EA's Skate It on the balance board is an amazing experience.  I have about 300 hours put into it and it's a fantastic skate sim!

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD returns to controllers and focuses on the satisfaction of linking sick tricks for maximum points.
    6.8
    Average User RatingOut of 151 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
    Developed by:
    Robomodo
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genres:
    Sports, Skateboarding/Skating
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence