Review by mark2k51

Reviewed: 01/05/03 | Updated: 01/05/03

This series just can't seem to go wrong

The Tony Hawk series has been a success for a few years now. It has breathed new life into an existing genre that had been losing that breath with a flood of shoddy snowboarding titles. You may be wondering if the fourth installment in the series is worth a pick-up, especially if you have any of the previous. In a word, ''yes'' is the answer.

Graphics: 10/10
I can't think of anything I didn't like in this game visually. Oh ya, Elissa looks a bit mannish, and the female Create-A-Skater option can be unrealistic when it comes to some organs, frighteningly so in fact. Those are really minor details though, don't get me wrong. Everyone ELSE looks very similar to their real-life counterparts. Tricks are smoothly animated and some specials are also artistically creative. Every level was excellent from a graphical standpoint, very fitting of their titles. The Zoo feels like a Zoo, the College feels like a College, etc. Excellent job as usual by Neversoft.

Sound: 8/10
In this installment, every character has gotten voice acting by..... themselves. These work very well, and you definitely will get a kick out of a few of them. Also as usual, effects are on the mark this year. Voice-Overs were also done for bails, and fit very well. Grinding, ollieing, vehicles, just skating around sounds exactly as it should. Grinding different things makes different noises, which is a nice touch. This category lost points due to the soundtrack. It just isn't the same as before. I like a lot of the songs, but the fact that they left out so many of the bands they've had in the previous games disappointed me. I was hoping to see CKY, Alien Ant Farm, and especially Rage Against The Machine return this year. While I did get newcomers NWA, The Offspring, AC/DC, and Run DMC, the soundtrack this year didn't seem as pleasing.

Controls: 10/10
If any game series is known for tight controls, this has got to be it, and there are no changes this year. You still have triangle for grinding/lip tricks, square for flip tricks, circle for grabs, and x for ollieing. L1 & R1 still make you spin faster, reverts return a la L2/R2. There really is nothing more to be said other than grrrreat!

Game Play: 10/10
This is where the game truly shines. If you hadn't already heard, this year's game has done away with the 2:00 time limit for completing goals on each level. Instead, you play free skate in the level until you find a person with a blue/red arrow above their heads. This indicates they have a goal for you to complete. To attempt the goal, skate up to any of these arrowed people and hit circle. Many goals from previous games return, including scores, SKATE, competitions, etc. However, many new goals enter the arena this year, such as COMBO (like SKATE, except you collect all of the letters in one Combo), and Trick Call-Outs (Various Flip/Grab/Lip tricks appear, and you perform them to clear the goal). Many other various zany goals come in THPS4, which are very, very entertaining. Of course, time limits apply to the goals (pretty easy to get a high score goal with all the time you want:), but only to the goals. Also new this year are the Pro Challenges. Each character has one (even Create-A-Skater) that has something to do with a outstanding achievement that pro is known for. I won't tell you any of them because it's more fun to find them out on your own, but they are just a blast. Collecting bills returns from the previous two games, as well as the gap checklist. Stat points come now just from doing goals, you receive one for achieving a character's first goal they give to you. All of the aforementioned award you cash, which you spend on Skaters, Levels, Create-A-Skater options, decks, cheats, and bonus movies (which are hilarious). 100%ing the game awards a special new Skater, a real surprise if you don't find out beforehand. New moves include Spine Transfers (Transferring from two Quarter Pipes that are back-to back)Skitchin' (Riding the back of a car, think Back to the Future)and Flatland Tricks (Two words: Be Mullen). This new Free-Skate career mode make the game even more exploration-oriented, which is a huge plus, and the new goals are fantastic, along with the trick additions, you'll have a blast with this game.

Replay value: 6/10
This is another weak point in the new game. Games have been getting shorter and shorter as the years go by, and this is no exception. Due to the massive amount of regular goals (176) and the Pro Challenges (14), their are 190 total goals (some of which are VERY difficult, and frustrating, and really fun:) So, this new system has done away with playing as a different character! {jaw drops} That's right you only have to change skaters to accomplish the Pro Challenges, otherwise regular goals are done once. How does this still get a 6 out of 10 then, you say? Well, You can still do all the goals as many times as you want to improve your record for speed/style(points) as many times as you like w/o starting another save file. I find myself doing this a lot too, but the motive to do so is all gone. This probably only took me 10 hours to finish, and while I like to consider myself a pro at this game, this is extremely naive, as my eyes have been opened to those whose best combos are 1,000 times better than mine (Check links on the message boards for the 1.1 billion pointer, not million billion). Also their's always the Create-A-Park, and online for everyone so inclined (be prepared to get beat though:) So overall no where near as replayable as THPS2 or 3, but still fun to do well after the first time through.

So, in conclusion:

Graphics 10/10
Sound 8/10
Controls 10/10
Game Play 10/10
Replay Value 7/10
Tilt 9/10

Rent or Buy: I'd say buy, rent if you haven't played THPS3,a s much is borrowed from that.


Seriously THPS5 is likely too far off for those who already finished THPS3, and this will more than tide you over, do yourself a favor get this game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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