Review by Wlokos
"Worth playing, but not amazing."
This is the first Tony Hawk game that I've picked up since Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, and I loved Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. I was hoping that this would be as good as, if not better than, THPS4. However, my hopes were ripped apart and thrown aside as I quickly learned that this one was nowhere near as good. Mind you, it's not bad, but it's far from amazing.
There's plenty of tricks to do in this game. Not only can you do some grabs, flips, grinds, and freestyle tricks, but you can also run around (and even do some wall-running and flipping tricks while doing so), freak out (when you crash, you get the chance to have your guy get very angry and destroy his board before another one appears), and even do some BMX. Yeah, that's right, BMX. Now, I could be alone here, but when I bought this game, I bought it for a skating game. Not a biking one. I don't really think it makes sense to have the occasional BMX challenge amongst all the skating. I wouldn't have minded the BMX challenges, but they make you find a bike before you can do the challenge. If you just talk to the person with the challenge and don't have the bike, then you gotta find it. I think you should just get the bike when you talk to him for the challenge, because finding it is annoying.
Something that will help you find it, though, is the bar on top of the screen. This is a bar that helps you find people with missions and stuff by showing a symbol representing a person/bike/shop/etc when you're heading towards it. It's also very useful when you're finding that last mission in the skate-area, rather than searching for a while because you can't seem to find it.
I did notice, unfortunately, that that no loading stuff they talk about isn't completely true. It's not like you'd expect, because there's really just long tunnels in between levels you gotta skate through, and as you're doing that the game loads the next level. It's definitely better than just waiting, but don't think that it'll just instantly go from one level to the next as you choose them from a list. Also, I did occasionally have everything freeze for a second while a little silver star appeared in the corner (symbolizing something loading) while I was playing. However, that only lasts for a second and it was very rare, so it didn't really make a difference.
As far as the actual game modes go, the main one was story mode, where you go through a story involving a skater who meets some new friends and so on (I won't spoil the story for you). It was ok, though I didn't like the fact that you had to learn the moves before you could use them in story mode, but I'll go into that a bit more later in the review.
One thing that was very cool was that in addition to story mode, there's classic mode. Classic mode is done in THPS 1-3 fashion: You get a 2 minute run and a list of goals, and can do the run as many times as you want to get all the goals done. It's a great bit of nostalgia and involves plenty of challenges that are much more like the older games than the new one. I think I enjoyed classic mode more than the story mode in this game, to be honest.
I don't really have too much to say about the graphics. They aren't the most amazing thing I've ever seen, but they're pretty good. There was certainly enough effort put into them, and they never became annoying. However, don't expect anything spectacular.
Well, that perhaps isn't fair. The sound is fine, so this is mainly just rating the music. This game has the worst soundtrack that I have ever heard, to be honest. I have to turn off the music volume whenever I play. It's a shame that the music's so bad, but you can just turn it off so it's no big deal.
The story's better than I expected in a Tony Hawk game. Obviously, it's not something that will leave you shocked by massive plot twists, because this isn't the sort of game that lends itself to that; but it isn't bad, and there is a good plot twist at one point. One thing I didn't like was that they made you have to learn the moves before you could use them, because in the story it's not realistic to have someone just know them all as a young and unexperienced skater. I know, it makes more sense, but it was annoying, and it really didn't add to the realism of the story.That's because in the story all your character would have to do was watch someone do a trick/move to learn it. I think that rather than incorporating learning everything into the story, there should just be a tutorial mode you can do before you play.
Replay Value: 8/10
There's plenty of replay here, but I don't think it's in the story mode or the classic mode. I think that the majority of the replay value in this game will be in the multiplayer mode, where you can challenge one of your friends in various modes. There's the trick attack one, where you just see who can score more, graffiti (my favorite) where you tag objects that you skate on (by doing tricks on them), and can steal them by doing a better combo on your opponent's tagged quarterpipe/pole/whatever; and plenty of others. The most bizarre one is probably the one where you shoot fireballs at your friend from your skateboard until you or him dies. There's plenty of other odd stuff too, whether you're finding a pot of gold before you can score or have to grab a crown and run from your opponent. Overall, the multiplayer in this game proves to be as fun as ever.
Overall Score: 7/10
All things considered, this is a game that is worth buying and worth playing. You may want to rent it first to be sure it's worth the cash, though.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/04/05
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