Let me just get it off my chest, finally a step in the right direction for the Tony Hawk series. As a giant fan of the series, the last couple of games seemed to have aimed at destroying what everyone loved about the previous games. Luckily, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD provided a light at the end of the tunnel.
For those unaware, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a series that began in the late 90s, it soon found critical acclaim with high scores and many purchases. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a collection of seven levels found in the first to Pro Skater games. Instead of being a port, it is a completely remade game with a new engine and of course, updated HD graphics.
True to the original, Tony Hawk’s PS HD is obviously a skateboarding game, it features career mode, free skate and online multiplayer. In career mode you are given two minutes to skate around a level and complete objectives, such as find a hidden CD, grind certain rails and collect the letters of skate. By doing this you unlock cash that you can spend on upgrading your skater and in order to unlock new levels, you must complete at least five objectives. Free skate is where there is no time limit and no objectives, you are free to skate around any level that you’ve unlocked. You can use this mode to practice for career mode as it takes the pressure off.
Tony Hawk games have always had an arcade feel. Unlike other skateboarding games, Tony Hawk is all about big moves and high score. You’ll be able to grind for ages, transfer into a grab and manual your way up a half pipe and jump high in the air. Realism really isn’t a factor here and it’s better for it. You will be doing death defying moves that will push your score into the thousands. The controls are fluid and can only be hurt by the Xbox d-pad. You use the face buttons for ollies, grab, kick and grind tricks, while using the thumbstick to steer. You can use your other thumbstick or the d-pad to initiate moves, such as X+ D-pad/thumbstick left will make you do a kick-flip. If you have an old school Xbox controller without the twisting d-pad, this might cause concern. But you can easily perform the tricks with the thumbsticks.
Pro Skater HD comes with a few skateboarders, young and old. But, there is no Bob Burnquist. Yes, that upset me as well. If you turn out like me, a crying mess on the floor, do not fear as you can play with your Xbox avatar! Giant head and all, you can take him or her through the career mode and max out his/her stats and buy him a new deck. It adds to the customization as it this remake has no create a skater or park mode that the originals had.
For a remake, the game looks great. Shiny and bright visuals coupled with that soundtrack we all loved more than ten years ago. Some tracks are missing, but they kept the best ones for sure. New players might stumble at the beginning as there is no tutorial, but give it time and you’ll pick it up easily. Veterans of the series will have no trouble and should be able to pick up and play extremely easy.
The multiplayer mode has most of the original modes such as horse and free skate, but I took issue with no split screen or local multiplayer. That’s what made the original so fun, granted we had no internet back then but it seems like an opportunity missed. The multiplayer is fun and will see some fierce matchups between friend and foe.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a great download for anyone, but it caters to the fans of the original more than anyone else. I had an extreme nostalgia rush playing it and I’m sure you will as well. While it seems like seven levels isn’t enough, developer Robomodo has plans for future DLC, levels from Pro Skater 3. I recommend this highly for old players, but I hope newbies jump on board as well. I also hope that the powers that be take note, and perhaps we could have remakes of our other favourite Tony Hawk games, such as Underground and Underground 2.