SONY HOLIDAY PRESS EVENT 09: A casual analysis.
So then, let’s talk about the Sony holiday press event
You really don’t care about my well being do you? >. < anyways, What did you think?
Where do I begin, I loved the fact that the entire event was held in such an inconspicuous place and just felt like a modern art gallery.
I know! It looked like an empty building and right on the upper floor was the event. Like some secret organization having a meeting or something!!! Read more…
People who Pre-ordered Tony Hawk Ride from Gamestop/EB games will now recieve a code for unlockable content on the games launch. The content is open for anyone who pre-ordered in-store or online at http://www.gamestop.com between now and Nov. 17 will receive an exclusive code on release day to unlock the brand new Quiksilver All ’80s All Day Level in the game.
The unlockable level was inspired by a real quicksilver event and promises to drop players in an authentic 80s skater feel complete with a retro wardrobe and 80′s Tony Hawk. Also unlocked will be Legendary skater Christian Hosoi.
Get ready for Tony Hawk: RIDE, the newest and freshest skateboarding game we’ve seen in some time. It’s hitting the shelves in November, and will be debuting an innovative controller that is nothing less than a skateboard simulator. It looks like a snowboard, although I wouldn’t recommend taking that simile to any extreme.
So for all you skaters who will be packing away the legit boards in November, you may want to think about swapping them in for these. Except, for RIDE. Not for snowboarding. Ever.
November 17th, get ready.
Let me start off by making this perfectly clear. To me, the last great boarding game was Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the Tony Hawk series, but once you were able to step off the board in-game, it just seemed to go downhill (no pun intended with Tony Hawk Downhill Jam). For this reason, I was a little weary of reviewing the latest installment of Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground for the Xbox 360.
Set in the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground is the largest and deepest Hawk title to date. From choosing your brands in custom player creation to reaching for your ideal style of skating, this title has so much in it that once you beat the game you’re not even scratching the surface. A slew of features such as a full featured video editor, your own online customizable skating lounge, seamless online connectivity, Nail the Trick custom combos and even new methods of gaining speed, showing that Proving Ground is a step up from previous titles.
The title puts you, a custom created player wearing your favourite skater brand apparel into the streets of Philly. As a new up and coming star, you try to make a name for yourself by performing tricks and stunts in front of pro boarders who just happen to be in the neighborhood at the time. For the first few hours of the game it feels like an extremely long and in depth tutorial, but after a while the goals turn into more of a competition with feats like winning a demo show, beating down thugs, or getting a shoe sponsor. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground goes more along the lines of the lifestyle of a professional skateboarder than just a boarder trying to get a certain amount of points. In the end, your final decision would be your reason for skating as you can pick between career (all about the money and style, exposure to the media and looking cool), hardcore (skating for no one but yourself, seeing if you have what it takes to push yourself further than you ever thought possible and knock anyone down in your way), or rigger (you board to build, or build to board, you see a sick gap where others see a shopping cart, you make your line where and when you please). Each style affects how you play and where you head next.
When picking your custom character attributes, some aspects are very detailed such as choosing the specific brand of shades your boarder wears, but other aspects are lacking. The inability to change the height or weight of your boarder severely hinders my ability to create an avatar in my image (I may be short and chubby, but I can skateboard in real life, why can’t I in the game?). As well, with only a few preset faces to choose from and the lack of ability to give your boarder a preset boarding style, you can only go so far with attire. Customizing your own skater lounge is pretty cool. You can unlock new themed pieces like ramps and grind rails as you progress through the game and place them into specific lines to board offline or online with friends in your own custom made skate park. The concept is pretty cool and there is even a camera you can adjust to take your own pictures, but it just doesn’t seem like enough of an attraction to put much effort into making the rad pad of your dreams.
The graphics are beautiful, but not really all that grand compared to Tony Hawk’s Project 8, perhaps more of a slight improvement over the last title. The terrain is detailed and doesn’t feel like rehashed skate spots over and over, and even at high speeds you can see specific advertisements (like Guitar Hero 3 ads) whizzing by as you grind along a pool. The player models are also very detailed in the way of skin defects and facial features. You can easily tell which pro skater is which and with the professional skaters all performing motion capturing for their electronic counterparts, it seems even more realistic (although weird to see how much Tony Hawk really does look like a bird). Presented in 1080p, when you Nail the Trick over pedestrians heads, the animation and fluid motion is just stunning.
As always Tony Hawk has a wide array of music to choose from, not as skater friendly as past games, it does contain none the less, licensed music from a variety of artists. From !!! to Voltera, Foo Fighters to Smashing Pumpkins, Proving Grounds has a perfect mix of underground and mainstream music to match the flow of the game – for some reason it even has a Rolling Stones music video in it! I’m not complaining I’m just not sure why it is there. The yells from pedestrians and thugs are often clever and silly and usually a little smile springs up as you turn your skater around to check them for smack talking. After a while however, it can get a little tiring. The oomphs, ahhs, and bone crunches sound realistic and painful, and in the end give the game a realistic boost against the get-up-after-falling-off-a-building spills.
The controls can seem a bit overwhelming to a newcomer to the Hawk name, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same with a few new additions. A to jump, Y grind, B grab trick, X flip trick, up-down manual, right trigger revert and acid drop – the usual. On top of these normal maneuvers the shoulder buttons perform more tricks like skate checks, carving and slashing the rails. The learning curve of the game starts off pretty easy, but as you advance through more tutorials the number of things you can do while riding on four wheels and a plank of wood becomes extremely intense. Play a little further and test the waters of these new exercises and you’ll overcome the second hump of this learning curve, unlocking a whole new way to play the game.
Once you get into the game, get your bearings, learn some new skills and progress a little, the fun begins. Seamlessly, you can jump into online play mode, wager some cash against online opponents, or just skate around and chat via headset with the other shredders in your town or custom skate lounge which I’ll discuss later on. Unfortunately, some of my favourite multiplayer game modes didn’t make it into the online mode like king of the hill for example. As an extra little bonus, there is a constantly updated leader board to track your high scores and achievements.
The game seems overambitious with all these new additions to the Tony Hawk brand; improving aspects that seemed a little dull while still providing all the goal types from past Hawk titles (via arcade machines placed throughout the game as well as an all new Hawk-Man mini-game). Tony and his pro pals take you across all three cities doing everything from learning the basics, starring in films, showing-up punks, fighting crime, avoiding security, and of course carving pools. Something this Tony Hawk does better than others in the past is taking into account different boarding lifestyles. Although Activision gave us all these new goodies along with some classic favourites, I feel they skimped out on a few essentials; as I said before, the inability to change the physical aspect of your skater really leaves a lot to demand, and the fact that the generic skater style clothing is replaced by brand name specific articles of clothing not only annoys me to a great extent, but actually makes me fear for the future of our skater culture.
Some other aspects that seem to be missing are pro skater stats. When playing 2 player mode and picking pro skaters there are no visible stats and it doesn’t even show if the skaters are more comfortable with goofy or regular stance. As far as I can tell, there doesn’t really seem to be a difference in skater selection other than what they look like. Don’t sell it short though as there are many pro boarders to pick, from Bob Burnquist to Tony Hawk himself.
Finally the most innovative aspect of the game – and perhaps the biggest time spender if you’re into it – is the rigging feature. Now in Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, you have the ability to build any type of ramp or rail anywhere you see fit. Not only can you create jumps to help get you to high out-of-reach bowls, but now you can create your perfect custom line in the centre of Washington D.C., craft new gaps and shape the ideal skating world for you and your buddies using the in game rigging set.
All in all, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground is nothing to be afraid of, and if you’re a fan of old school Tony Hawk games, this one will not only expand your mind on what you thought you knew about virtual boarding, but will also give you the classics you came to love. Oh, by the way, did I mention that each goal also has multiple levels of difficulty? So if you beat the entire game with mostly amateur ratings you can go back and try to improve your scores to the pro level or higher!
Graphics: 4.0 / 5.0
Gameplay 5.0 / 5.0
Sound 4.5 / 5.0
Replay value 5.0 / 5.0