Tony Hawk video games have been around forever, with versions created for just about every major console within the last 8 years. After so many sequels and different versions, it can be a little hard to come up with something new to make the franchise entertaining for long time fans of the series. While Neversoft created a game that fans will most likely appreciate, new comers will be immediately be turned off by the specific and touchy control scheme.
The term Project 8 refers to the quest to find the top eight skaters in the world. The main focus of the game is to upstage professionals and partake in mini games and challenges to increase your skill and reputation. However, this fact is easier said than done due to the game’s incredibly harsh learning curve.
In all honesty, I have only sporadically played Tony Hawk games. Because I can be considered a n00b to the T Hawk series, I was immediately turned off by this game’s unforgiving and overwhelming control scheme. Because I wanted to adjust my bearings, I was looking forward to the tutorial to teach me all the game’s simple to high tech maneuvers. But even the tutorial is much too difficult as they have the player performing high tech combos within the first couple minutes of gameplay. I was so frustrated with the game’s control scheme and gameplay setup, Project 8 was initially shut off within the first dozen minutes it was in my system.
This game was designed under the assumption that everyone has played a Tony Hawk game before. But not only just played a T Hawk game, but also has mastered at least a good majority of them.
For those of you who are veterans, gameplay structure will seem familiar as you travel around a city performing certain tricks and tasks to advance the story and your score. Classic mission mode has made a return, where players are tasked to complete certain tricks or gather a hidden item within a 2 minute time frame.
The Xbox Live online mode is structured a little bit differently than most games. Instead of just hopping into an online match, the game places the players on a central city hub. Here, the player can randomly stake around and perform tricks or even knock other players to the ground. Guilty pleasure aside, a competitive mission will then pop up in the city hub. All the players are then tasked to compete in this mission. This “always moving” lobby experience is pretty entertaining and eliminated the usual boring menu structure of most games.
The new nail the trick mode will most likely appeal to fans while newcomers might be left feeling intimidated. Clicking in both analog sticks send the game into a slow motion effect where the player is free to craft their own trick. This is a great way to link chains together and boost that score a little more, that is, if you manage to take the time to learn how to use this complicated system.
Even after a while, I am sure veteran Tony Hawkers are sure to be frustrated at some point as the difficult can quickly sky-rocket, causing players to jam on the retry button more times than they should.
The graphics are what you would expect from a 360 game, crisp and clean. Each of the game’s characters are voiced by their real life counterpart, but the lip synching is done pretty poorly. Plus, each voice is performed by a real life skater, not an actor. Therefore, some conversations may seem a little on the hokey side. And games like Tony Hawk are the reason why the developers of the 360 hardware implemented a custom soundtrack option. Players will probably want to play their own music instead listening to the game’s rather typical soundtrack.
If you have been playing Tony Hawk games since their inception on the PSOne or Dreamcast, then you will enjoy your time spent with this latest edition. However, newbies will feel constantly overwhelmed and will dismiss this game in a heartbeat due to its high learning curve. But with this series licensed for several more years to come, it will be a wonder if the developers can create new material for a series that is rapidly growing stagnant.