Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (PC) review
The common practice of remastering old games from generations past and bringing it to the current generation is something of both a blessing and a curse. On one hand the game is a big nostalgia to those that have played it and it gives an opportunity for younger players to check out some of the greater games of generations past. However, at the same time it might also mean that the game hasn’t aged well and will end up with poor results. Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is one example of this exemplifying how one of the greatest games two generations ago can easily become outdated.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD throws you into a large map filled with various objects such as half pipes, ramps, and rails for you to practice and hone your skating skills. There are tons of maps to choose from and you unlock each one by fulfilling objectives. Performing tricks and killer moves will net you points and tallying these points up at the end might fulfill one of the objectives of the map. In addition, littered throughout the map are collectibles that also contribute to your objective count. Once a certain amount has been met then the next map is unlocked. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t return for some fun.
Some of the maps in Pro Skater are excellently designed leaving the players with loads of areas to have fun. It’s also designed so people who like to perform certain tricks have a map dedicated to themselves. One map might feature an abundance of half pipes while another will have various connecting rails for constant grinding. The map design is extremely clever and it never gets old as a result. In addition to the actual design the various locales that the game takes you is a nice change. Whether its a bright colorful school campus or a sunsetting mountain, it’s excellently implemented.
Unfortunately, the graphics don’t support the locations well. Textures looks extremely flat and lack any detail. Colors are bland and fail to visually intrigue leaving a somewhat distasteful feeling. Even so, this doesn’t mean that the game looks horrendous visually. It’s still solid and everything looks rather polished, however, this is easily one of the blander looking HD remasters in a while.
Gameplay was one of the greatest aspects of the original game and it’s a bit disappointing to know that it hasn’t aged very well. The idea of gliding through various maps and trying out sick skills is rewarding, however, the lack of variety and the ability to easily pull off tricks once you’ve gotten hang of the somewhat unresponsive controls is a bit disappointing. You’ll soon find that you’ll end up grinding points by doing the same tricks at one specific spot on the map in order to clear the tougher objectives of the maps. You have the ability to do holds, grinds, flips, and such but it’s so relatively easy to mix and match without being easily punished creates a somewhat monotonous game. Add the inability to see the various moves you can actually do, it seems like experimentation and luck is the only way to see the entire move list.
The actual skating isn’t all that bad though. It’s cool to see all the amazing tricks you pull off and sometimes you’ll wonder if you can really pull off that infamous 900. It’s pretty sweet. To mix things up, the game also has various skaters you can unlock and customize. Each skater has different strengths and disadvantages so you can choose a skater that is tailored to your preference. In addition you can also deck out your skateboard with customizable parts. It’s this customization aspect that gives you the ability to fine tune your tricks and giving you specialization. This neat aspect carries throughout the entire game so you’re constantly working towards unlocking new ways to specialize your skater or working towards generalizing him so he’s good in everything.
Of course, skating around and and customizing your skaters isn’t that entertaining if the game was monotonous. There’s an interesting set of tracks for you to listen to while you explore the various maps and while it’s most of the time entertaining, some tracks are just uninteresting. Most of the music is a bit of rock and hip hop with a variety of mixes from other genres. It’s diverse and it changes up the pace of the game but nothing stands out.
A controller is highly recommended when playing the PC version. While it’s definitely feasible to play with a keyboard, the game feels much more smoother and precise when using a controller. Not that it helps due to the unresponsiveness of the game sometimes to do a trick on a half pipe or grinding on rails.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is a dated game and it really shows. The game is extremely simple and plays virtually like a title you would play at an arcade. Each map gives you a time limit to play around with and while the customization features feel deep, it can sometimes feel like it makes no difference. However, despite the flaws the game has with its gameplay, the game is still a blast to go through just for the heck of it.