Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 Review
If you have halfway decent reflexes and a gamepad, then you need to check out Tony Hawk 3. And if you don't have a gamepad, get one for it.
If ever a game were truly as good as its namesake, it would be Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Borrowing the moniker and drawing inspiration from the legendary skateboarder, the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater effectively redefined the extreme sports game genre by utterly transcending its material. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater wasn't just a skateboarding game--its incredible gameplay and imaginative level design made it quite unlike any game before. The inevitable sequel somehow proved even better than the original, and in turn, last year's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 somehow managed to be even better than that. The new PC version is mostly just a straight port of the original PlayStation 2 version of Tony Hawk 3, though its graphics have been enhanced to take advantage of current PC hardware. More importantly, it almost perfectly captures the gameplay of the PS2 version.
Tony Hawk 3 is easy to pick up and start playing--you don't even need to know the first thing about skateboarding, though you do need a good gamepad. Getting proficient at the game takes time and practice, though. Fortunately, experimentation is a huge part of the fun, and the learning curve in Tony Hawk 3 offers limitless room for improvement. Like many of the best action games, Tony Hawk 3 is a game of pure skill. As with its predecessors, the gameplay revolves around performing long, complex trick combinations. There are a number of different types of tricks: flip tricks, grab tricks, lip tricks, landing tricks, grinds, and manuals (essentially skateboard wheelies). All these can be linked together, almost indefinitely, to rack up huge points, reach incredible heights, and exceed reasonable speeds. The game has hundreds of different tricks in it, and they're all done by using simple motions on the directional pad. They also all look great.
Pulling a trick and linking it to the next one is where the challenge comes in. Tony Hawk 2 players will need to learn to use the revert, an essential new ability used for linking air tricks to ground tricks, and may also learn to master changing between different grinds and manuals without breaking their rhythm. Whatever you do, you can't land sideways--you'll bail if your landing is off, yet no matter how brutal the bail, you'll get right back up, ready for more. Keeping your balance during grinds, manuals, and lip tricks also requires care and precision, more and more so the longer you keep your combo going. Tony Hawk 3 is an extremely fast-paced game--it moves much faster than its predecessor--so it'll keep you on the edge of your seat, primed and ready with the best your reflexes have to offer. If your reflexes can't handle a first-person shooter, then Tony Hawk 3 isn't your game.
What secretly provides much of the incentive for becoming good at Tony Hawk 3 is the game's scoring system, a complex and well-balanced system based on multipliers and diminishing returns. The more types of tricks you perform in continuous sequence, the better. The more times you repeat a trick during a run, the fewer points you get from it. The longer a trick keeps going, the more points you get, but the tougher it is to keep your balance. If you bail, you lose all the points you could have gotten--you'll see them drip down off the screen, taunting you. You'll constantly be enticed to push yourself beyond your limits to earn a high score, and when you do, you'll generally take a spill for it, all because you got greedy. For a game that's all about pulling off unbelievable stunts, Tony Hawk 3 surprisingly demands restraint--another of its impressive achievements.
Though the core gameplay is incredibly fun, it's Tony Hawk 3's career mode that provides much more tangible rewards for your skills. Initially, you'll be able to play in only one of the game's nine main levels. You'll then have two minutes to try to complete as many goals as possible. Each level has a number of different goals, several of which require you to score enough points, as well as others that are much less obvious. You might have to stop a car chase. You might have to squash pumpkins scattered around the level. You might have to deliver a couple of plane tickets to your anxious buddies. In each level, you'll have to find a secret tape, usually hidden on some tiny precipice way high up off the ground. Accomplishing some of these goals will seem impossible at first. You'll be elated once you figure out what to do and manage to do it.
Completing a certain number of goals unlocks the next level, and you can either then proceed to that level or stick around and try to solve every goal in the level you're on. For what's essentially an action game, Tony Hawk 3 is extremely open-ended. Midway through a run, you might change your mind and try to accomplish another goal than the one you had set out to do. At any point in a run, you can either end it or restart it. Considering each run lasts merely two minutes, you wouldn't expect Tony Hawk 3 to be able to hold your interest for hours on end. But that's exactly what it does. You can play it how you want, but what's practically certain is that you'll want to keep playing until you solve just one more goal.
- Player Reviews: 8
- Game Universe:
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (DC, N64, PS, GBC, NGE),
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PS, PC, DC, GBC, N64, GBA, MAC, IP),
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, PS, GBC, PC, GBA, N64, MAC),
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (MAC, PS2, GC, XBOX, GBA, PS, PC, ZOD, MOBILE),
- Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2, XBOX, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PC),
- Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (MOBILE, PS2, XBOX, GC, PC, PSP, GBA),
- Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (XBOX, GC, PS2, X360, PC),
- Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (DS, GBA),
- Tony Hawk's Project 8 (X360, PS3, PSP, XBOX, PS2),
- Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (PS2, WII, DS, GBA)
- Number of Players: