Since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD was released on PSN yesterday I decided to treat myself to a new game for the first time in a while. THPSHD is a remastering of the first two Pro Skaters combined. Playing this game I felt like I had gone through a time and landed in my childhood. I’m not one to get excited about HD remasters, but this game is BEAUTIFUL. I think my eyes had an orgasm when I saw how crisp and detailed the Warehouse was. Plus it’s not just the looks that were improved. I was just blown away by how much depth there is in the sound effects, especially when you bust through the glass window in Warehouse. THUG 2 might as well have been on the Playstation One compared to this. I never get excited about graphics but… just wow, to see a beloved childhood game so clear is overwhelming. Also let’s not forget the soundtrack. Even if you haven’t heard any of these songs before, you’ll feel right at home with them. Just like the levels they included the best songs from the first two games. My favorite out of the set is Goldfinger’s Superman. If you don’t feel better about yourself after hearing that song then that you have just realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to sell your soul.
Now that I’m done gushing about the graphics and audio it’s time to talk about the most important thing: gameplay. Apparently there were some major game mechanic changes during the Pro Skater series, and seeing how the games I played the most were Pro Skater 4 and THUG 2, the earlier mechanics took some getting used to. If you haven’t played Pro Skater 1 or 2 in a while, be warned: you cannot change tricks once you start a grind, manual, or lip move. Also you can’t level out so if you go up on a pipe you need to come down on one or else you’ll wipeout. Included in the game are seven levels from the first two Pro Skaters where you can play the classic Graffitti and Trick Attack. New to the franchise is Big Head Survival, where the players’ heads start to inflate and can only be deflated by completing tricks and combos. Go too long without relieving pressure and BOOM you get confetti and blood. Another thing that’s pretty cool about this mode is that if you’re in multiplayer you get to skate around with no head while you’re waiting for the rest to finish.
To tell you the truth, there isn’t much about this game I really disliked. If I had to nitpick they could have given the options to skip songs or at least see the the title of which one is playing. But that’s not to say that there isn’t a lot left to be desired. There are only a couple of gameplay modes and I wish they would have included Horse. Even though this game is intentionally only remastering the first two Pro Skaters, I still miss later features such as Create-a-Park/Skater and acid drops. It was nessecary to keep this game slim seeing as it’s only a $15 downloadable title and it’s testing the waters to see if a Tony Hawk game can do well in today’s market. Despite that you can really tell that Robomodo put a lot of effort into this game. They didn’t just port parts of the first two games into HD, they built the entire thing from scratch. From the physics to the character models this game is brand new. Hopefully the game does well and they make larger games. With any luck I’ll finally get that sequel to Underground 2 I’ve always wanted. Whether you’re a fan from way back or just looking for a good game for $15 without leaving your house I fully recommend downloading this.
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