Published on September 6th, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD PlayStation 3 Review
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed] and PC
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012
Review Notes: A game token was received for review purposes.
There are just a handful of games that define the era in which I was raised. One of these games was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. During a time when skateboarding games were rising in popularity, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 stood out from all the rest due to its strive for realism, and included a great collection of pro skaters, real-world levels, authentic clothing/boards and sponsors and excellent song selections for its soundtrack.
Twelve years later I still enjoy playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, and I have a copy of the game on almost every system I own.
With the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD on the Xbox 360 earlier, I was disappointed with the lack of detail; the game is filled with bugs and physics mishaps. Read our Xbox 360 review here for the full skinny.
With the PlayStation 3 and PC version of the game being released over a month later, I expected these ports to be polished.
Sadly, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD bails again.
The PlayStation 3 version of the game is not as buggy as the Xbox 360 port, but the glitches and physics mishaps still greatly interfere with the gameplay.
Much like the Xbox 360 port, you will experience going through walls, rails and ceilings causing you to bail and lose combo strings, or, more importantly, failing to land gaps. This is often seen in levels where you have a lot of ramps and rely on air combos. On Downhill Jam, I bailed inside the larger rock with water pouring down. The game tried to continue my run by respawning me inside the rock. In fact, I “respawned-bailed” seven times before I ever reached the bottom.
Another example came from The Mall. It became repeatedly frustrating when trying to accomplish the Going Up and Going Down gaps. You are often met with an invisible wall, or you’re automatically respawned in the middle of the jump or you’re bailing on top of the elevator which will result to a cycle of bails until you reach the floor. But the biggest problem with the game is not the bugs, it’s the broken physics.
With gameplay mirroring that of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, I expected THPS HD to play the same. Not quite. In THPS 2, When starting a run, your ollie would not be as high or effective compared to an ollie after going down a ramp and picking up speed or getting a good combo string. You would gradually gain speed as you successfully land each trick. This resulted to performing combo strings before being able to accomplish certain gaps–bail and you would have to start from square one.
The ollie in THPS HD has a an unrealistic hangtime resulting in a floating feeling. On top of this, skaters feel like they only travel at max speed.
The long hangtime and max speed makes it easier to get gaps, letters and collectables on the first try. This is good for gamers who never picked up a Tony Hawk game before, but it simply feels awkward and uncomfortable to those veteran players. These physics can cause a number of headaches during your gaming session and are often the cause of the bugs. When you bail you will often see your skater being launched into the air or floating in what seems like slow motion.
The game is also filled with invisible corners that will not only cause you to lose your combo string, but launch your character into the air for no reason.
Apart from the gameplay, THPS HD is graphically beautiful. Every level is the exactly the same as you remember but with gorgeous HD graphics makeover. See paper in the air, birds flying and sparks shooting out of the damaged light post. All the letters, collectibles and DVDs (VHS tapes) are in the exact same spots. The details on the skaters are just as impressive. The skaters clothing reacts accurately with the skaters body movements. It is satisfying to see the hood and pull strings react appropriately to every jump, trick or bail.
The soundtrack of the game has also taken a back step from the original games. Most if the sound effects are still in the game, but the ones that gave Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater its charm are nowhere to be heard. For example, in the level School II, you do not hear the lovable horn of the golf cart until it’s about to run you over, or the sweet sounds of flatulence while skating by the bathrooms. Robomodo decided to mix the in game music. Six tracks come from first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater titles while the other six tracks are new to the series. The old and new music does not blend well and often leaves you wanting to skip tracks. The problem, of course, is that there is no “skip track” option in the menus.
The Final Truth
Very little improvements have been made between the Xbox 360 release and this one. The bugs are not as prevalent, but they are still there. Plus the game’s physics makes the skaters feel like they are floating during ollies and tricks.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is not a bad game in any means. For newcomers, the game will be enjoyable, fun and challenging. In addition, newcomers may find the bugs more forgivable. However, the game feels like a rushed remake and the bugs and physics mishaps are really inexcusable for an HD game, considering the original titles performed better 12 years ago.
As a fan of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise, I would have preferred the original PSOne releases on the PSN at $5.99 over this HD remake. In terms of better performance for the HD remake, so far the PlayStation 3 version is less buggy than the Xbox 360 version. Let’s hope a patch will be released that would fix a number of these issues.
– Graphical bugs and physic mishaps