Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD screenshot
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD screenshot

It's probably been quite a while since you sat down with the world's favourite skateboarder. After all, why would you have any reason these days? His latest video game iterations have been exercises in gimmicky crap, whilst the appearance and subsequent success of the Skate series has left old Tony trailing in its wake, likely having a mid-life crisis between kickflips and rail grinds.

So here we are with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, some 12 years since Pro Skater 2 was released on the dusty PSone you probably palmed off to a relative. Pro Skater HD isn't a direct jazzed-up port of the original two games, but rather a collection of some familiar levels that made those originals brilliant.

At first you'll find that, like the now 44-year-old pro skater, you're a little on the rusty side. This is an unforgiving game, and whilst it might look the part with its HD sheen giving legendary skating locations a new lease of life, the control scheme is not so accommodating. I struggled to nail the sweet spot on landings, became frustrated with the glitches that randomly sent me flying in to the air and cursed when my avatar collapsed limp at the knees without reason. The simple act of skating around feels stiff, rigid and often unpleasant, especially after a recent stint playing the smooth-as-a-baby's-left-cheek Skate. Worse than anything, it feels cheap.

That's how I felt, anyway. But once a couple of hours passed I completed the first few stages and my frustration levels slid back up to DEFCON 5. I regained my skating mojo (read: average competence) and lost that barrier between my controller and the virtual skateboard, though Pro Skater HD's myriad niggles never disappeared completely.

The campaign puts you through seven different stages, each with a two-minute window for you to complete objectives, whether it's collecting all the S-K-A-T-E letters, hitting score benchmarks or unearthing a hidden DVD. It's quick paced and frantic, and while it's relatively easy to hit the entry-level scores, the most hard-earned combos and trickiest discovery challenges are better left to when you've had a lot of practice.

Developer Robomodo (they of the ill-fated skateboard peripheral) adds new modes alongside the old favourites, too; the most entertaining addition being Big Head Survival, where you race to pull off the most rewarding combos to slow the rate of your head's expansion before its eventual and imminent explosion. Multiplayer is also fun, but bizarrely local 2-player is completely absent. This comes as a half-expected disappointment when you're expected to have digital friends rather than real ones, and it's an even bigger bummer when you realise the brilliant HORSE mode has also gone missing. Familiar modes like Graffiti and Trick Attack return, and Big Head Survival is turned into a multiplayer elimination game to see who can keep their combos alive and heads unexploded.

I grew up playing the originals, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a lot from Robomodo's third effort. Thankfully, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is fun for the most part, but infuriating control issues, crazy bugs and various omissions make you wonder why a game that isn't an untouched HD port wasn't bolstered and expanded upon in some way. Robomodo has successfully crafted an enjoyable way to revisit some of the most memorable levels in this once-prestigious franchise, but with only seven available it's certainly slim pickings. Whilst more wallet-sapping instalments will arrive in the future, this incarnation of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater left me wanting much, much more than just content.

Version tested: Xbox 360

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6 Comments

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thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand

I got to wait anyways for the PS3 version but if its only gettin a 6 it may be a skip anyways for me.
Posted 18:55 on 19 July 2012
AndySpence's Avatar

AndySpence

Personally I think this review is pretty harsh. Agreed it's ridiculous that the game is without HORSE mode and they could have put a few more stages in there (YAY PAID DLC) but I don't think the controls are particularly bad - if you've played the old Tony Hawk's games then you should be able to pick up and get back into it fairly quickly. The graphics look awesome and I haven't had a single lag or bug issue (I played for about 2 hours last night). Oh, also No Create a Skater is a bad move IMO

All in all I've been having a good time with it, i haven't had the control frustrations sam had. I'd recommend giving it a go!
Posted 14:40 on 19 July 2012
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ scaz2244

The answer to your offline 2 player question is in the review :)
Posted 14:18 on 19 July 2012
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

might wait for the DLC then buy it. Does it have offline 2 player?. what about free skate is that back on?
Posted 14:17 on 19 July 2012
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77

Hmmm, i too wanted so much more. I haven't played it yet but the review is a bit of a disappointment but hay-ho i'm still sure there's some good old nostalgic fun to be had. So when it arrives on ps3 ill bag myself a download. I'm gonna check to see if there's a trial on xbox for a quick sample, well if my machine works that is, i aint switched it on in months.
Posted 13:53 on 19 July 2012
Graboot's Avatar

Graboot

Insta-regret. As a big fan of THPS2 (100% on every format it's been released on - don't judge me) I am massively disappointed in this. It's no exaggeration to say the iPhone version of THPS2 controls better than this HD remix and the omission of local 2 player is borderline tragic.

As Sam rightly points out, this looks great and there is some fun to be had but I can't help but want to play the game this so easily could have been, rather than the one I downloaded. It reeks of missed opportunity and cut-corners. If they can patch the controls and introduce 2 player in a update further down the line (not even sure if that's possible) then this will go up in my (and I'm sure many others) estimation.
Posted 13:28 on 19 July 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
6
Out of 10
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
  • Big Head Survival is fun
  • Stages look good
  • Only 7 stages
  • Controls feel stiff and cheap
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 18/07/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: RoboModo
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Extreme Sports
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 2,692 279
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