Return of the Birdman
Here we go again, another year, another Tony Hawks game, so is this as good as the rest. Well with Project 8, the guys at Neversoft decided to mess about with the control method and produced a return to form. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground does in fact follow off where P8 left off. The ?Nail the Trick? dynamic is back with a vengeance. This time we have ?Nail the Manual? and ?Nail the Grab?, along with a better use of the camera so it’s easier to see what’s going on.
it seems to be missing one important ingredient… Fun
Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground is set in 3 different cities, namely, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Baltimore. I know this time its all about gritty realism but do the cities have to look this bland and depressing? It is as if someone has said, one of the problems with Project 8 was that the colours were too bright & so that made them unrealistic- lets make the colour palette all wishy washy to reflect the industrial look of the cities. Whilst in these colour deficient locations the gamer is given 3 direct choices in the gameplay. The first is the one that we all recognise, the career mode is the one we all know and love?with the help of various pro’s you can climb the ladder to fame and fortune in the pro skateboarding world- lots of ?Nail the Tricks? needed and lots of photo’s taken while showing off your well honed skating skills.
The second mode of play we have is the ?Hardcore? option, this uses a new trick called ?Aggro? where you tap a button rhythm style to gain a speed boost allowing you to gain extra air for jumps. The third and final mode of play is one designed for all the budding skate park builders out there. It’s called ?Rigger?, and has you picking up various bits of junk from your garage to make your own jumps and utilising items around maps to create your own makeshift skate park. Out of all the modes this seems the weakest and most gimmicky.
There is something about this latest incarnation of Tony Hawks that doesn’t feel right from the start. It should, in theory, be awesome as it improves on the excellent Project 8, but it seems to be missing one important ingredient… Fun. THPG is just no fun to play, it’s just TH by the numbers, and the grey hue that covers everything certainly doesn’t help matters. Neither does the fact that EA’s stab at a skateboarding game-Skate, absolutely rocked and breathed new life into the genre.
If the Birdman wants to regain his crown as top dog in the gaming world, then Neversoft need to sit down and reinvent the franchise yet again. There is enough room in the market to have 2 games that let you ollie all over town, but only if they are of the best quality, I wait for the next instalment with bated breath?and fingers crossed.
The Bad: Depressing,bland graphics and just no fun to play.
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