Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix - PSP - Preview
Can one have too much of a good thing?
If you pay attention to Shaba Games, Neversoft and Activision, the answer is a resounding no.
On Wednesday, in the Santa Monica offices of Activision, a group of game journalists gathered to take a look at Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix, a title ported to the PSP.
When one thinks of a “port,” one imagines a game that is the same as on another platform, more or less. Since the THUG series has, more or less, defied convention before, why should moving the game onto Sony’s handheld entry, the PSP, be any different.
You want the THUG 2 experience? It’s here.
You want the classic Tony Hawk mode? It’s here.
You want face mapping to create your own skater in your image? It’s here.
How about wi-fi connectivity for up to four players to participate in up to 10 different games? It’s here.
But wait, that isn’t enough …
Exclusive to the PSP are four new levels – Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Kyoto and Atlanta.
Wait a minute, 10 different multiplayer games? That’s right, there is a multiplayer HORSE hot-seat game exclusive to the PSP, plus all the kicking tunes from THUG 2, plus the exceptional graphics and high-flying aerial animations that make this skateboarding title both incredibly challenging and a visual treat.
Some adjustments had to be made in the control scheme because the PSP only has two shoulder buttons (as opposed to the four on the console controllers), but this still works well and the controls are easy to become accustomed to, if you have experience with other THUG titles.
As in THUG 2, the game begins in an underground skate ground, with the chance to work out skills and become accustomed to the controls. But Tony is standing off to the side with an offer. Finish a trick in focus mode and you can get out of there quicker. You have to fill the special bar and then with the flick of the PSP analog stick can enter the slow-motion of focus mode. Pull a trick (like a face trick in a manual) and hold it for five seconds, then land it and you have accomplished the task. That is when you are presented with your first options of which city you want to journey to.
In THUG 2, you went to Boston for the first real level of the game. In the PSP version, you are given the choice of Boston or Santa Cruz. Just as in THUG 2, the new levels have hidden areas that you can unlock with the right tricks, surprise guests with unique skateboarding tricks, and several challenges to add to the adventure.
Graphically this game is as tight as its console counterparts. If there were a drawback it would be the screen size is a little small to allow players that full-blown look at the intense and rapidly paced action the game has to offer. But considering what has been packed into this format, it just doesn’t get much better in terms of skateboarding action.
Scheduled to be ready for the PSP launch on March 24, THUG 2 Remix is a terrific portable skateboarding videogaming experience. It has all the punch and attitude of its bigger console brothers packed into the powerhouse unit that is the PSP.