Review by DEUStantus

"Tony still has pizazz."

OVERVIEW:
Will the series ever end? If it continues to be this good then I hope not. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 (THPS4) gives us a fresh new outlook on the series. There are a lot of improvements over THPS3 that really enable this game to go further. The biggest is probably the ability to explore a level and choose when you want to complete a challenge. I found this to be an ingenious breakthrough in that you can take your time and not worry about a short time limit. It also enables them to make larger levels without worrying about the game player having to rush around.

The games goodness doesn’t end there, there’s also the ‘tons of fun’ 2-player mode where you can get yours hands on about five games. Some of the available games are: King of the hill, Slap!, Combo Mambo, Graffiti and others. The multi-player goodness doesn’t end there either, because if you have net access then you can take it into online mode and skate against other.

THPS4 is without doubt the best of the series, and I hope for the gamers sake that the developers don’t slack off now. Who knows how far they can go if they continue to push themselves?

GRAPHICS:
(9/10):
The graphics have even been tweaked from the last game, and although slightly grainy at times they are done well.
Even with all the improvements it seems that there are some jaggies and other blemishes that should be worked out in THPS5. Another thing that really got my attention was the birds in one level that seem very “cardboard cutout” like. It’s only when you actually hit them that they fly off, and even then it looks like they have two frames of animation to fly with. After all this complaining though, THPS4 does show a lot of detail improvement over the last games.

SOUND:
(10/10):
The sounds of THPS4 are outstanding. After playing several times I found no problems and still found the music very fun to skate to. More and more PS2 games are taking advantage of the ability to play actual songs through games, and THPS4 is no different. When in menus and playing the game you’ll hear from such artists as Run DMC. Even the voices of characters is well done, and just listening to some of the characters who offer you challenges is funny. Overall the sounds of THPS4 are done extremely well and I can only hope the developers continue to raise the bar.

CONTROLS:
(9/10):
Although the controls of THPS4 aren’t difficult to understand, at times you may be attempting a certain combo and become confused in mid-air creating a lethal combo for your character. This is understandable for a game with so many possible combinations, but it seems like the controls could have been made easier to remember. I know what a lot of you may be thinking right now, but honestly, a 9 isn’t a bad score at all. I think the controls are responsive and well done, but can get kind of confusing at times. Ultimately the game is enjoyable either way as you can simply get up from crashing and skate more, skate on!

REPLAY:
(10/10):
Another game that offers close to infinite replay value. Not only are there tons of secrets to unlock, but also the challenges to beat and the multi-player (both offline and online). THPS4 definitely will fulfill your gaming need to get more for your money as I’m certain most will get a lot of playing time from this game.

WHAT ELSE?
With all the improvements in THPS4 I think the series is starting to lose its pizzazz. With all good games come spawns of it that try to offer improvement. A lot of these spawns and sequels will achieve somewhat improvement, but how long can a game of skateboarding entertain? I know in a time when games are done to death, this may seem weird for the developers to hear, but sooner or later they should put the series to rest. I just hope it’s before the series becomes bland and boring.

RENT OR BUY?
A great game that will keep you entertained for months. I suggest buying this beautiful game.

SCORE SUMMARY:
Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Controls: 9
Replay: 10
Average: 9.5
Overall: 10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/02, Updated 12/02/02


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