Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was one of the biggest highlights back in its original outing on the Playstation 1. I can remember playing the first 2-3 games for days on end. I would learn every inch of the levels, every gap, every trick combination and learn to create some of the longest combos possible. I truly loved the series and was so happy to hear that they were going to release an HD collection for the Playstation 3.The title retails on the PSN store for £11.99 which is a fairly high price for a title of this type in my opinion but with such fond memories in my head I couldn’t resist the temptation and bought it. I couldn’t wait to jump on my board and relive some amazing levels and recreate some intense combos.
Gameplay wise the idea is to complete a series of challenges on each level. These challenges range from gaining a certain score in the two-minute time or collecting a series of icons, finding a secret dvd and other such challenges. These on the most part feel just like the old original games and even for the most part the icons are in the same places so you almost instinctively know where to go to get them right away. To unlock the next level you need to complete a set amount of these challenges. With each level these challenges get somewhat tougher, mainly the high score challenges becoming higher and higher. Other gameplay modes include the Hawkman challenge which involves you collecting a set amount of dots in as quick a time as possible and ideally doing so in one long combo. Another addition is the Big Head Survival mode. This involves you lasting as long as possible on a level while pulling as many tricks as possible, all the while your head is growing bigger and bigger untill it explodes. The only way to shrink your head is to pull off the tricks and land them safely. One fall could spell disaster.
During the career mode you gain money for completing challenges and this money is used to unlock new tricks as well as to improve your chosen character with progression points. This is fine and very similar to the original games but one thing that needed to be in this title and is lacking for no good reason is the ability to create your own character. This was a great part of the original games where you could create yourself or anyone you wanted and skate around with them. Sorely lacking and no good reason why. Fail!
The chosen levels for this HD collection are a bit of a mish mash from the original titles. Some are essential levels such as warehouse, school II and the hanger while others I could have done without such as the downhill jam. I can understand why they added that level to the title as it changes up the style of that you are doing slightly but I feel that both that level and the mall level break up the gaming flow that you would want to have when playing this game. I know that they couldn’t fit everyone’s favorite levels in but im sure they could have added others or at the very least give the gamer the option to choose the level they wish to unlock during the career progression. I also felt that a lot of the levels felt less occupied than i remember them. In some places they actually feel empty. Now this could be just memory playing tricks on me from the originals but these levels in the HD collection don’t feel quite right somehow. Venice beach is my biggest example of this. It feels like there is hardly anything there at all. I can’t tell if this is due to things being removed from the layout or the graphics playing tricks but whatever it is, the original feel isn’t there.
Graphically this game isn’t perfect. Its ment to be an HD upgrade to the originals but from playing the game and looking at it I feel that its been less of an HD upgrade and more of a filter thrown on top. Somehow it feels more sparse, the colours feel somewhat muted and almost dull in places. I felt that where time should have been taken to really make this game feel clean and crisp has been used elsewhere but I struggle to find where that is.
There is a multiplayer aspect to this game but it is extremely limited. You have the choice of doing a two-minute score run, the big head survival mode or the graffiti challenge where you need to pull off the biggest and best tricks on as many pieces of the level to turn them into your colour. If you pull off a better trick on your opponents coloured piece then it becomes your colour. The winner is the skater at the end of the time with the most coloured objects in the level. I spent an hour online looking for games and in that hour I only managed to find 2 other players for 2 matches. That’s 4 mins of online gameplay for 1 hour of waiting. It’s safe to say that the online community for this game is nowhere near is as big as it could be.
Now comes one of the biggest failings in the game. There is a complete lack of offline multiplayer. Back on the originals many a day was spent with friends battling it out on the sofa for the top scores. Days went by playing score chase, Horse and graffiti. This should have been an absolute essential addition to the HD Collection but for some absolutely unknown reason it is completely missing from the title. This lack of offline multiplayer really feels as though you have lost half of the intended game and the woeful inclusion of mundane online multiplayer is no substitute. Epic fail no. 1.
To add insult to gaming injury, the online leaderboards only record the top 1000 scores, even if you switch it to your friends list scoreboards it still wont record any of the scores if they aren’t in the top 1000 scores. This is absolutely terrible. It is pointless to add online leaderboards and not have it so any score can be added to the boards. This in my opinion is an epic fail for a game that basis itself on score chasing and competitive play with your friends. This is probably one of the biggest fundamental flaws in a game I have seen in a very long time. Epic fail no. 2.
The original Tony Hawk Pro Skater games were amazing. This title sadly isnt. I really wanted this to be a fun re-creation of the originals but it let me down. It lets the name of the series down dramatically and will quickly fall into the same avoidance bin as the Tony Hawk skateboard peripheral and forgotten about. If you want to play the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series then I highly suggest finding the originals on PS1 and play them there as there are absolutely no benefits to having them on the Playstation 3, only negative points which makes me feel very annoyed that some people will try this and quickly drop it never to of known the immense fun that was to be had with the original Pro Skater games.
Score = 50%
Buy it/Rent it = Avoid It
Will You Be Playing In 12 Months = No Not At All!