Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam - WII - Preview
E3 2006 First Look Preview
Tony Hawk has been a staple in the extreme sports genre for going on seven years now. While the series has gone through a few changes here and there, none have quite been as drastic as in the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. Coming exclusively to the Wii, the DS and the GBA this fall, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam brings the series into head-to-head downhill racing. Taking a nod from similar downhill racers like SSX, Downhill Jam features fast-paced racing action as well as the deep trick system that the Birdman’s fans have come to know and love through the series.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is a downhill racer that will take players through a variety of real world locales like Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu and Hong Kong. The courses will have a balance of trick lines and race lines (secret paths that you can exploit to take the lead), so whether you want to play the game through doing tricks or by finding shortcuts, you’ll be able play the way you want. You can play as Tony Hawk himself or one of nine other characters as you compete through one of three gameplay modes: race, trick and slalom.
The version of the game displayed at Activision’s press event was the Wii version, and they showcased how the game would make use of the unique control scheme. Basically, you have to wield the controller sideways and turn it to make your skater lean into a turn. The controller is very responsive, so the harder you turn, the sharper your character turns and so on. If you jolt the controller forward, you’ll turn on the boosters and speed down the track.
Graphically, the game has a great sense of speed and moves at a great framerate, even on unfinished Wii hardware. The character models were nicely rendered and well animated.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam represents a shift in the franchise, appearing to be more of a spin-off than an actual entry to the series. However, fans of the series or other downhill racing games looking for a good launch game for their new Wii should keep their eyes open for this one.