Review by northernlion
"Longer, Harder, and Better than any previous extreme sports game."
The fourth installment of Tony Hawk's acclaimed sports franchise is here, and it doesn't dissappoint. Right from the opening movie, the game oozes old school style. This feel continues through the entire game. Yet, the game also sports the best trick engine of all 4 games, and comes complete with 9 levels (7 unlocked with goals, 2 secret with cash). Not to mention the replayability of this game due to the astounding online play and unlockables.
These graphics are basically a moderate update from the ones featured in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The character models are excellent, as usual. The environments are also bright, not to mention huge. Some graphical quality is lost on the ps2 version, but not enough to be noticable. It's hard to say the graphics are top-notch though, with so many games out there sporting better visuals. Environments have a wide-variety of colours and textures. All-in-all, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 has very good player models and environments, but it lacks the needed finish to send it over the top.
This is where the game really shines. Numerous additions have been added and carried over from previous versions. For example, the manual (THPS2+3) make a return, as does the revert (THPS 3) that allows you to string together vert tricks. However, flatland tricks can now be performed (a first for the series). This allows for even more massive combos than before.
Trick execution is quick and easy. With the press of a directional button, and one of the shape buttons (on the ps2), a flip trick, grab trick, grind, or special trick can be executed. Also, some new moves have been added, ranging from the extremely cool-looking (Tony Hawk's Froggy Grind) to the absurdly amusing (Geoff Rowley whips out a guitar during a special grind).
The most obvious change in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is the lack of a two-minute time limit. This makes the game a lot less frustating to play, as you do not have to reload at the end of that two minutes. Certain goals, however, have time limits, ranging from 10 seconds, to 6 minutes.
The only thing that prevents this game from getting a 10 is the collision detection can be poor at times. Occaisonally, you can fall right through a vert ramp or wallride and be able to see the inside of a building. Fortunately, this does not hamper the gameplay a great deal, and is over in a split second.
Sound + Music- 10/10
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 features 35 music tracks from very well-known artists. As soon as you begin your first level you will hear some AC/DC, and that will eventually lead to a wide variety of Rap, Hip-hop, punk, and rock. Also, you can make your own playlist by choosing which songs you want to hear, and which you'd rather not. On the Xbox version, you can make your own soundtrack for the game, which should suit people who don't like the music in the game.
The sound effects in the game are also extremely well done. Whenever you grind, you are treated to a sound effect that (if you've ever heard a grind) sounds equal to the real thing. Falling is also where the sound effects show their worth. With a wide variety of grunts and screams coming from the players, depending on where you hurt yourself.
The Tony Hawk games have always prided themselves on having great sound and music, and 4 does not disappoint in either respect.
The replayability of this game is through the roof, which is the opposite to many games in this genre. First off, there are 190 goals to complete, many of which can not be unlocked until a certain number of goals are completed. Secondly, there are hundreds of cash icons to get in the game, many of which are nearly impossible to get. Finally, if you're a person who likes to fully complete your games, there are over 250 gaps in the game.
Also, earning cash throughout the game allows you to buy certain items. These items range from: secret characters, secret levels, clothing, and decks. Online play also adds a great deal to the replayability of this title, as you can only play certain types of multi-player online.
Finally, the two-player mode in the games is amazing. Featuring 10 modes (including new modes Combo Mambo, Score Challenge, Goal Attack, and Capture the Flag) , you and your friends will not tire of this game any time soon. Also, if you and your buddy both have a ps2, a tv, and an iLink cable, you can play in seperate rooms. This eliminates having to use the split screen.
In conclusion, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is the best game in the series by a significant margin. Featuring 14 pro skaters, 9 areas to skate in, and nearly unlimited replayability, fans of the genre will not tire of this game any time soon. Perfect sound and music add oomph to a game that should be treasured for many years to come.
Recommended: Buy Score: 9.26
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/01/03, Updated 07/01/03
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