Tony Hawk's Project 8 Review
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A solid entry in the Tony Hawk series, though some lingering technical issues hold it back from greatness.
- New Nail the Trick feature is awesome.
- Tons of goals with different difficulty levels to accomplish.
- The framerate stutters quite often.
- The sixaxis controls are fairly impracticable.
- There is no online play (this has been a staple for Tony Hawk since the fourth entry on PS2).
The legendary Tony Hawk is riding again in the eighth installment of the popular skating franchise. Neversoft has taken it upon itself to put the popular series on the next-gen systems. This has resulted in the same familiar Tony Hawk gameplay but with far better visuals.
What’s In a Name?
The name Project 8 sets up your characters main goal. Tony Hawk is looking for the top eight amateur skaters in the world. It’s your job to take your skater from being ranked number 200 all the way to the top and make Tony’s list. To go about improving your rank all you have to do is play the game. Everything you do affects your rank such as helping random citizens, finding hidden items, or doing tasks for some of the pro skaters. It’s a pretty neat story that will keep you trying to claw your way up the ranks for a long time.
A really interesting aspect of Projects 8 is how the difficulty is setup. Rather than having easy, medium, and hard modes the difficulty is built into the game. When skating around you will find different goal areas that need to be accomplished. These goal areas tell you what tricks you have to do to accomplish that particular goal but each goal has three separate tricks that have to be performed for that particular section. Once you perform the trick successfully you will receive an amateur, pro or sick rating.
The competitions work the same way. First you are to perform a seeding run which places you into one of three tournaments of varying skill levels, and then you need to win the tournament you were placed in to finish the goal.
Being the Best
The new way to upgrade your character’s stats in Project 8 is simply just by playing. To upgrade your grind you have to grind everywhere you go, to upgrade your air you have to go off of lots of jumps and so on. This is a well implemented system but the fact that your character starts out so underpowered means you have to do a lot of backtracking to accomplish some of the harder goals located at the beginning. In past Tony Hawk games your character earned stat points by performing enough rotations in a trick or grinding a certain distance. So there is a slight difference on how the stats are dished out to your character. What’s different about the stats in this game is the fact that they dropped the speed skill. This is frustrating as in past games that would be the statistic I’d always level up first as I liked to dart around everywhere I went. This slows the game down tremendously and most of the skill challenges are timed making you feel really rushed throughout most of the game.
To be the best you will have to perform something that’s entirely new to the series called Spot Challenges. You’ll find markers throughout the game in various locations where you will have to perform your stunt at the designated marker. There’s nothing that really indicates where they are located;you just start the challenge by simply doing it. Finding these can difficult but I seemed to find most of them by complete accident just by skating around.
Another unique feature that was added to Project 8 is Nail a Trick. To perform this just press down on both of the analog sticks and the camera will then zoom in on your board. Then you use both of the analog sticks to control your feet and the board will move whatever way you tap the controller. This is a bit hard to learn but once you get the timing sorted you’ll be using it a lot to perform tricks that were previously too hard. The only bad thing about this feature is the somewhat annoying camera angles. When in this mode it’s hard to determine what way is up and how close you are to landing your trick.
Create a Huh?!?
One of the great modes of the past Tony Hawk games has always been the ‘create a park’ mode but unfortunately this has been removed from Project 8 entirely. There are certain spots in career mode where you get to rearrange some benches and tables but you never really get the opportunity to build an actual park. Some of the ... (continued on next page)
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