It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. Can the new horsepower make decade-old gameplay worth another visit, or does Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD ultimately fail to achieve the trip down memory lane it’s attempting? Given the recent decline that the Tony Hawk license has experienced, the decision to remake as opposed to innovate is a tough one to judge. The original Pro Skater took the world by surprise, and single-handedly made skateboarding titles a successful genre.
Sadly, the full experience of the remake is still focused on meeting the expectations of games published two console generations prior. Challenge and achievements are all well and good, but honest Pro Skater fans will recall that replaying the same stages in a race against the clock, just to unlock a stage you actually want to play was only fun for so long. For starters, you really can’t undervalue the rush of memories that accompany the first skate into the Warehouse, School, or Venice Beach stages. At the current price (1200 Microsoft Points or $15), seven maps and mostly singleplayer gameplay that fails to take advantage of the past thirteen years of innovation in even minor ways is a hard sell.
Besides being a lacking launch of the Summer of Arcade, anyone but the most devoted of fans would be wise to save their money and time, and dig out their PlayStation or Dreamcast if some nostalgia is needed. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is available now via Xbox Live, with a PC and PlayStation 3 release coming soon.
Some of my fondest gaming memories at the turn of the century are of passing a controller back and forth with some friends and trying to score the highest score possible in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
Outside of the new visuals, THPS HD pretty much leaves everything about the previous game untouched. After picking up the controller and actually playing the game I couldn’t help but be let down. Game Insider is a digitally dedicated video game publication developed by passionate enthusiasts that are driven to represent our readers with accurate and engaging gaming news, reviews, videos, and updates. If you would like to engage us, have suggestions, or just want to give us a shout please send us a message! The developers at Robomodo haven’t just increased the graphical polish of the original game, but rebuilt skaters and stages from the first two entries in the series in a brand new engine. Instead of a new peripheral or contrived gameplay mechanic, Activision has decided to return to the series’ roots. That being said, it was a product of a design philosophy that placed inspired mechanics over actual depth of experience.

The challenge posed to the player is the same as it always was: earn high scores, find hidden items, and complete random challenges to advance to the next map.
The lack of two-player local play means that group sessions will be a return to the old days of passing around a controller, and eagerly awaiting the next run. Unfortunately, this commitment to old school gaming only brings back the worst aspects of a single-screen experience.
The maps have been lovingly recreated, hidden areas and all, with graphics that hold up to the fidelity that fans still swear was there in the original (it wasn’t). Sure to cause immediate frustration among those used to the gravity-defying ollies and auto-rotation that has come to define modern snowboarding and skateboarding titles, the controls in place are, ironically, more realistic than they have since become. For diehard fans who know exactly what they’re getting, having the chance to skate through some updated maps is a terrific proposition.
With the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network offerings getting better and better by the month, that price for this shallow of an experience is a bit mind-boggling. The developers are open to DLC in the future, so who knows what else might be in the pipeline to make a purchase more worthwhile.
At that time there was nothing like it on the consoles and overnight it revolutionized the skateboard genre and officially made Tony Hawk a household name. At the start of your career you are forced to meet certain objectives in each course to unlock the next one. Trick Attack pits players together and task them with trying to achieve the highest score total before the timer expires. The revert was a move that was introduced in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 that enabled players to chain together tricks much easier and create some insanely high scores. It is definitely a competent remake of a game that is too often held up as one of the highlights of a previous generation. In 1999, when gamers huddled around their PlayStations, the chance to shred in digital form was enough to make the time worthwhile.
With gameplay nowhere near as entertaining or visually impressive as SSX, those not mashing buttons are unlikely to enjoy the experience.
Impressive character modeling and even the chance to play as one’s Xbox Live Avatar testify to the time spent building the new engine.
Having not played in years I was both excited and worried about Activision’s decision to remake this gaming classic. Robomodo has done a great job at recreating the levels created by Neversoft and have pretty much left them untouched.
Objectives range from meeting certain high scores, collecting S-K-A-T-E throughout the level, or even performing certain tricks.

I admit that my expectations were derived more from the experiences I had with the game those many years ago and not necessarily from the game itself. Big Head Elimination gives every player Big Heads that continually grow and are only shrunken when tricks and combos are performed. Since its use became critical in the series later additions, its absence here is definitely felt. Since then, the maps, movesets, and game modes have grown exponentially to earn the player’s time and investment.
In a sidenote: THPS HD is unquestionably one of the best looking and polished gameplay experiences players will ever see their Avatar star in.
Sometimes the nostalgia overtakes expectations and in this case nothing could be more true. The character models also look much better in HD with wrecks looking more brutal then ever. In terms of gameplay it pretty much plays the same but when compared to games in the genre that have come out since, like the Skate series, I can’t help but see its simplicity.
Robomodo has promised to deliver it as well as some courses from THPS3 in the form of DLC, but unfortunately I’m not sure that its addition would be something that would help make this game a better experience overall.
If you’ve never played the series you may find some value in the $15 price tag because at that price it may still be worth it for the bit of fun factor alone.
The game even gives you the opportunity to skate as your XBLA Avatar which is actually pretty entertaining.
If you’re a veteran of the series download the demo and curb your nostalgia because though the big air on the half pipe is still thrilling, the gameplay itself often becomes nothing more than a grind.
Comparing screenshots of the old games are not only eye opening but as with any game from that time period it is amazing to think about how great we thought it looked at the time.
I would have loved to have been there while the discussion was being made to make this change. All the modes are definitely fun and fit the series but finding players to play with has been a bit of an issue because shortly after launch there were not many people playing online.

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