Review by redfox1187

"Ultimately, a disappointment"

When I first popped in the disk, I was excited. I really enjoyed the previous two games in the series. Once I heard about the new tricks and extra things they added, I really was eager to play the game.

First, I played the story mode. I was brought to a screen to pick one of four idiotic-looking, dork skaters. I was disappointed already, since you couldn't have a custom skater in the story mode, that was a really fun addition to the previous games. Anyway, I continued. Soon after, you can buy new things to customize the look of your skater, but that uses up hard earned cash that you have to earn in the game. I ended up leaving my skater with some basic changes, wanting to save money for when the game's goals need you to fork over some cash.

The actual skating is a bit annoying at first, if you had gotten used to the previous two games' skating, since you have to run around and unlock all the tricks first. It is useful for the new tricks, especially since some of them seem a little unresponsive. Mostly everything you do on foot seems buggy and odd. Just the walking around itself can get annoying in tight spots, but then you have to run up walls and grab ledges. Something as simple as running up a wall and grabbing the ledge on top shouldn't be that hard. (Maybe I'm just too used to Prince of Persia's wall run system.)

The gameplay itself is alright, but not great. A lot of the same, with a bit of new. Do lines, combos, and build your score. I have noticed there is a lot less competition missions, where you compete against other skaters, which was something I enjoyed about the previous two games. In fact, a lot of the game is running around and doing tricks just right on things to break them. It was kind of fun and okay at first, but it got boring pretty quick. However, a few of the missions were quite annoying. Having to jump just perfect while executing a trick right when the camera changes angles on you is very aggravating.

They also threw in a BMX bike to ride, but it seems very last minute. It seems a lot of the tricks I don't land, should land, and a lot of the tricks I shouldn't land, I do land. It's moderately fun, but can get annoying. Also, it's not too different than just riding the skateboard, which I think is a bad thing. The bike seems to be mostly a slightly touched up skateboard system.

While the addition of the new tricks are cool, some of them are too unrealistic and almost cheap. For example, you can stop a grind on a rail, then mash buttons like mad to get tons of points. I think it's a bit stupid that you can get 40,000 points doing that (or manualing and mashing buttons in a similar way) but then when you do one plain manual all the way down a ramp and turning around a wall (which takes about 5/6 seconds) gets you less than 1000 points. They did have this similar problem in the first two games, but they should have fixed it somehow by now. Instead, they made it worse.

Overall, I'd say that the game's okay. However, the game can get extremely frustrating for stupid reasons. The main challenge in a game should not just be trying to work through the shoddy controls or the glitches. Still, it can be fun if you don't get too into it, or are able to easily shrug off the annoyances. I would say, if you haven't played the previous two, (Tony Hawk's Underground 1 & 2) go for them. Somehow, this game loses a certain charm that made me like the earlier ones. If there was any other decent skateboard game franchise around, the Tony Hawk series might have lost their hold on the video game skateboarding crowd.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/23/06

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