Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 – It’s not as bad as they say

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Last year saw the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, the 5th, and likely final installment in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series.  This series was originally made famous back in 1999 when the first game was released on the original PlayStation.

Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5’s release came at the very end of Activision’s license agreement to use the Tony Hawk name in the game and according the stories about this game, its part of the reason the game was so rushed. On launch day the disc apparently only had a tutorial on it and to unlock the game users must download a 7GB patch, and now that the license has expired Activision cannot even ship reprinted discs with the full game. Needless to say the rushed release pissed a lot of people off, as they received a broken game and if you believe everything you read on the internet “an unplayable mess”. Now enough of long winded yarn! I picked up a copy, let’s see how terrible it is…

When I first heard about the release of Pro Skater 5 I was excited that a franchise I grew up playing was making a come back, even after the first reviews came out that completely buried the game, I was still quietly excited and intrigued. I watched every video showing all the horrible bugs, read every article, yet I still wasn’t deterred. My hope for Pro Skater 5 was a combo driven game that i could pick up and play for 10 or so minutes and have fun (in fact before writing this, I had a ‘quick jam’ that turned into a 2hour sit down).

After installing Pro Skater 5 (and the patches) on the first boot the game didn’t load past the Robomodo screen and would then throw me back to the Xbox one dashboard, the problem went away after about 15 or so attempts, and I haven’t had it since.

It reminded me of the days that I use to have to blow into a cartridge like a hot pie to try get it going.

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Once I got into the game I found myself in what felt like familiar territory, I selected my character and away I went, The game play feels good, it really feels like playing the old Pro Skater games.

The controls are very much like the old games with the same button layout, with the addition of a ‘slam’ button that allows you to try land a combo that’s about to go tits up. Rather than the old school 2 minute run, each level is open plan and you can skate around until you want to attempt a mission, I liked this because it allowed me to become familiar with my surroundings before setting out to attempt the high score mission etc. What they also have right in this game is the size of the levels, they are big enough to feel expansive, but also not so big that you get lost. at times though it does feel a little bare.

There are some very random missions during a level which include – popping beach balls and firing fireworks at targets, although they are a fun little challenge in each stage, I feel they should have focused more in other areas of the game.

Yes, he's shooting fireworks out of his skateboard to hit targets. What?!.

Yes, he’s shooting fireworks out of his skateboard to hit targets.

The graphics have also had a bad wrap in other reviews but I really don’t have a problem with them. The graphics suit the fun style of game play  and anyone that still wants to rag on them probably should go back and try out the first Pro Skater game and see how their eyes feel after 15 minutes.

I also liked the addition of the extra characters, given I haven’t played enough to unlock others but felt the Ninja Turtles was a cool touch… probably unnecessary, but still cool.

Fun Fact - Ninja Turtles make everything better.

Fun Fact – Ninja Turtles make everything better.

The game also has a build your own park section which is very fun and you can also play other users levels, some clever people have even recreated old Pro Skater levels. Building levels is not my strong point and I end up just making stupid half pipes everywhere. This section of the game also uncovers another one of Pro Skaters flaws, the game often doesn’t load user created levels, even when selecting private match, lame!.

 

Overall this game does have some problems, but I really feel they have been over blown by all the previous reviews. I tired breaking the game and tried to get some screen shots of the game breaking but none of that happened for me (apart from the start up issue). I figure my love for the series outweighs any negatives and It still has the same combo driven game play that I grew up with. I have already had hours of fun with this game, and find myself going to it more often for a quick jam that often turns into a few hours. The game has been out for a while now and is reasonably cheap to pick up, I recommend it.

Angus Westgarth

Author: Angus Westgarth

Proud Timaruvian. Dabbler in many things. Tired.

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