To fill some of the vast amounts of time we find ourselves with at University yesterday my attention turned to the reboot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, available for download on the Playstation Store or Xbox Marketplace the blurb boasted that the game takes all the best elements of the previous pro skater releases and combines them to create one nostalgic package. Tony Hawk’s games were a permanent fixture of my childhood and I’ve spent many a night longing to go back to the days were you could string together a ridiculous combo and make your mate the donkey.
So does HD, live up to the old legacy? Yes and no. The gameplay is actually rather a lot harder than I remember you have to land your skater perfect or he’s gonna bail, and there’s no button that you can press to straighten up say if your jump has veered you away from a pipe. But there is the factor of having to buy tricks and stats to make your skater better so this might get quite a lot easier eventually and ultimately this adds a nice challenge to work through. The maps are all taken from old games and it’s cool remembering the old days. The music package is pretty good as well, again bringing the nostalgia. However there is one major, major problem here. There is no fucking split screen. On Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater there is no FUCKING SPLIT SCREEN. I don’t know what more to say other than fuck to be honest. My fondest memories of those old games were easily battling against my friends at home, there’s an online feature that I’m yet to try but online is never the same as having a few mates over and trying to terrorise each other. If they release another one of these this is something I expect to be changed, surely people must be annoyed about this.
That aside the game is just as fun and challenging as when I first played when I was younger, the goals can be infuriating but also so addictive playing the same level hundreds of times is easily done. And overall its just good to have Tony Hawk back, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an Underground HD so come campaign with me for it.
While staying at the girlfriends house and consuming very little media I thought it time I added to my extensive collection of game reviews. To be honest I’m yet to really justify even having game reviews as a section, but I will attempt to improve it in the coming weeks. So this week I thought I’d rewind back a few months to the reboot of snowboarding juggernaut SSX. Now back in my GameCubing days I was a big fan of SSX3 which I bought pre-owned and probably because it was the only thing I could afford at the time, I became mildly addicted, it must be said, however I never really fell in love with the franchise the same way I had with, say, Need for Speed Underground or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater; so when the re-boot of SSX was announced I wasn’t really that bothered.
But then upon a hazy evening of gaming in a friends uni dorm room playing the demo made me rather excited. I still umm-ed and arr-ed about buying it upon release day but after a few days I could no longer resist its temptation. Playing through the deadly descents campaign I found that the franchise had really found it’s own style for the first time. The graphics can actually compliment the breathtaking views they’re trying to re-create, the tricks remain as ridiculous as they ever have been and with the absence of a decent Tony Hawk or Need for Speed game in about five years means the game fills a hole that hasn’t been filled in a long time. The gameplay is a real triumph here.
On the other hand, though, after a while, it ends up becoming mundane. There is far too much emphasis in all EA games at the moment on making everything online based. Enjoy the campaign while you can because before you know it it’s over and then you’re left with global events and the world tour mode. First off you will love it, as I did, for a good few weeks I was happily entertained jumping from drop to drop setting times, scoring points and surviving without the required safety gear, it does provide a great amount of fun for your money. But the problem is only one person can be the best, only one person can top the leaderboards and anyone that’s ever seen me play will know it can never be me and that fact, in the end, leads to you giving up. While it is fun competing against friends it doesn’t provide you with quite the same satisfaction of completing a lengthy single player story, and this is where SSX’s biggest flaws lie. Let’s hope EA can realise that people want a combination of both single player and multiplayer in their titles and stop swaying to the emphasis on online competition in future.