Jason grinds the 360 version of Mr Hawk's latest game
Wed, 14 February 2007
Tony Hawk, "the birdman", "the chairman of the board" - call him what you will the man does know his way around a skateboard and with this, the eighth installment in probably one of the most accessible and recognized games in the industry, one would hope he knows his way around a videogame as well.
The Premise is simple(as well as virtually unchanged from the rest of the series) - Tony is putting together a group of the top up and coming skaters called, you guessed it Project 8 and its up to you to climb from nobody to skating legend.
One of the first things you will notice is that the create-a-skater section of the game has been trimmed down considerably, no more can you spend hours setting up your character to resemble you in every detail; instead you can slightly customize a selection of 5 premade personas (none of which really grabbed me). Its then on to the tutorial section, Hawk veterans will breeze through this with their eyes shut and others will be given a good grounding in skills to start on.
|Is that Brodie? Nah, I think his name is Earl. Or it could be "Pickle F*#ker" |
Probably one of the main features of this latest incarnation is the "nail the trick mode" which basically gives the control scheme a big boot in the arse, you find yourself a picture of a nail on the ground, rail, ramp etc once you leave the ground the viewpoint shifts to a close up of your feet and time slows slightly now your left analogue stick controls your left foot and vice versa with moving of the feet rotating or spinning your skateboard. Now this is probably screaming gimmick right about now but by clicking both analogue sticks you can incorporate "nail the trick" into normal tricks and combos.
Now we take a, trip back in time about 12 months give or take a little game called Tony Hawk's American Wasteland came out and made a big promise; NO LOADING SCREENS. Partially this was true, true in the sense that there were no screens with LOADING on them instead we had the innovation of "loading tunnels" i.e.: a tunnel that allowed access from one area to the next.
This time around it is true, seamless transitions from one level to the next, well I use the term level very loosely as the whole game is basically one level with areas being locked off to begin with and only opening when you have created some true Tony Hawk style destruction i.e.: knocking stuff over, blowing shit up (not something you would expect to happen in a skateboarding game but trust me it happens).
|Dope trick. Wait...do people still say "dope"? Man, I'm getting old. Not as old as Tony Hawk though. |
Sound wise I feel that the series has taken a bit of a nose dive. Don't get me wrong, the actual effects sound great but the music, in my opinion, is a bit of a letdown with more obscure bands you've never heard of (although I'm fairly sure there's a Wolfmother track in there somewhere, much like every second game released lately). Although, as always with the white box of joy that is the 360, you can soon dump some tunes off a CD onto your hard drive. Graphics wise the game looks great but it's not a stunning visual masterpiece. Still if you want art, go to the museum.
The bottom line is if you're looking for a skateboarding game for your 360... well, you don't have a lot of options. It is either Tony, or learn to ride a real skateboard. However Activision and Neversoft really have their shit together, so if you're bored of killing anything that moves, or saving the world or driving really fast then tie your fingers in knots pulling off massive combos in this. Its definitely one of those games that will have you swearing and throwing controllers one minute and pumping the fist yelling "YES!!!" the next.
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Same shit different day, but on the other hand, as a wise man once said "if it aint broke don't fix it". This series just goes from strength to strength (just forget about that second "underground" one). Go forth and play!