Review by GreyTech
"Another Great THPS Sequel"
The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is as excellent as its prior sequels. Neversoft has yet to produce a THPS game inferior to its earlier predecessors. THPS4's gameplay now offers the most variety out of the entire series due to a new goal format and the addition of minigames. The change is definitely for the best since the old format of a goal list and a two minute time limit is now cliche' thanks to many pale imitations.
THPS4's gameplay is essentially the same solid controls and moves as THPS3's with the addition of the spine transfer which allows the player to transfer over a ''spine'' (two quarter-pipe ramps placed back to back) by pressing R2 when launching off of one side of the spine. Another addition is ''Skitchin'' cars by grabbing a car's back bumper so it can pull you forward. (Like what Marty McFly does in the Back to the Future movies.) The game also includes some new moves and specials as well. If you've been playing this series since its inception you should be very familiar with its controls. However, this means that if you have never played any of the earlier THPS games you will face a bit of a learning curve.
During Career Mode, instead of 2 minute runs, you are in a free-skate mode throughout every level and receive your goals from the characters that inhabit it. For example: in the College level when you speak to the Professor, you will be given a minute and a half to collect all 5 letters of the word S-K-A-T-E. (a level goal in all 4 THPS games.) Some of the goals are very new such as spelling out C-O-M-B-O by collecting all the letters in one combo, and performing moves when called out by spectators. Some are unique to the level such as dunking 30 tourists into the water in the Alcatraz level. These new goals fit in perfectly with the series and are a great addition. There is also minigames such as tennis, baseball, and street luge. Most of the minigames play well and are an all right diversion from regular play. After you complete any goal in the game, you can replay them to try for a better time, score, or medal if you wish as well. Completing goals will earn you money to use to unlock new levels, boards, movies, clothes, and characters much like in THPS2 and Pro Points. Earn enough Pro Points and you will be able to play the Pro Challenges for each of the game's initial 13 pro skaters. The challenges are all different and worth the effort to complete.
THPS4's graphics are similar to THPS3- great animation, silky smooth framerate, and large well detailed levels. However, the characters are definitely not as detailed as they were in THPS3, especially the facial features. Still, THPS4 looks great for the most part. So if you played THPS3 you should know what to expect. I was hoping that it would adapt a new visual style to set itself apart from other sequels
One area in which this new THPS game excels in is sound. The sound effects are as high quality as the previous games and probably 3 times more voice-overs. Now each skater has their own voice-over when they bail- Bob Burnquist does not yell AAAAHGH! like Elisa Streamer or Rune Glifberg. Some of the voice-overs have a comical slant like those of Ollie the Magic Bum, and Kenny the Koala. THPS4 offers a PHENOMENAL soundtrack like usual. It contains 34 full tracks with lots of punk, (both current and old school)and rap (current and old school as well) with a few metal tracks. Most of it is very good stuff, and if you don't like a specific song, you can just take it off the game's playlist.
Like the other THPS games, this game has unlimited replay value. After you finish unlocking everything in career mode you can play the classic Single Session 2 minute run in any of the levels to try to get high scores, or play any of its multiplayer modes. Like the other THPS titles, you can play against another player in HORSE, Trick Attack, Graffiti, King of the Hill, Slap!, or one of the two new modes Combo Mambo and Score Challenge. Score Challenge gives you unlimited time and the winner is the player that reaches a certain total score first. In Combo Mambo, the player with the biggest combo after time expires wins. Combo Mambo is my particular favorite between the two new multiplayer games. Like in the previous THPS games, these games (especially HORSE) are great for parties. You can also play online if you have a network adapter.
Overall THPS4 may sound like another re-hash, but its improved play structure new challenges sets this THPS game above the rest. If you've been playing THPS since the first title, this game is definitely worth buying because it contains the same great addictive gameplay and expands on it, and if you are new to the series it is definitely worth the rental to try it out.
Gameplay: 9 (Excellent as always, but it has a bit of a learning curve if you've missed the earlier THPS games
Graphics: 8 (Well done, but not too different then THPS3 and lacks more detailed character models.)
Sound: 10 (Absolutely top notch)
Replay Value: 9 (nearly unlimited, but you will probably put it down when THPS5 is inevitably released next year.)
Enjoyment: 9 (This game can eat up your social life if you let it.)
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/26/02, Updated 10/26/02
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