Review by KenshinKatamari
"If originality isn't a major point in your grading system, this is the game for you."
It's hard to believe that it has been almost eight years since Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was released for the Playstation. Since then there has been five other iterations, none really improving upon the original formula. Sure, there has been manuals and free-roaming environments, but the more recent games still find a way to incorporate 'Classic Mode' in. But nonetheless, how does this game stack up to the rest? Let's take a look:
Since THPS3 was released early in the Xbox/PS2/Gamecube 's lives, the graphics on Tony Hawk games haven't improved much. There are the occasional tweaks, but nothing that is mind blowing, which describes THAW's graphics perfectly. The character models look nice, and you are able to customize more than any previous game. However, the major casualty was something that was supposed to help: No loading screens. The player was said to be able to maneuver through a living Los Angeles with no loading whatsoever. What replaces them, however, are long, boring hallways worthy of 'ten minute slapped-together user-designed levels' in any previous Tony Hawk game. You can take buses to one of the five main regions of the game, but it's too easy to see the stitches in this game's design.
The sound is great. The songs are a great mix, and the dialogue is well scripted and acted. Nothing much else to say. They went the extra mile in this area.
This is where the game starts to show it's age. The off-board running is still glitchy, and your jump is nearly worthless. The off-board camera also whips around you quickly, and seems to have Spiderman-like attributes - sticking to walls whenever it gets the chance. The on-board and -bike controls are much better, but still don't justify for the rest. The goals are clear, but the areas you run around in aren't as large as you would hope them to be. Think five levels all spliced together, and you have THAW.
This area starts at a fault. The 'Pro Skateboarding' has been removed from the title, but for good reason. You spend just as long talking to Pro bikers, graffiti artists, and other of this type while playing THAW, and it derives from what this series was at it's roots. The game is still enjoyable as always, but with the inclusion of a new story and areas, there isn't much else to see here.
So does this mean you shouldn't pick it up? Well, it's entirely up to you. The main game ranges from 6-8 hours in length, and the two-player leaves much to be desired. If you're not a hardened Tony Hawk fan, you might just want to leave this one for rent.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/04/05
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