Yeah, this is a little late (really late if you have an Xbox 360), but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD. Released last summer onto to both the Xbox 360 and PS3’s online store, THPS HD is a remake… Barely. The idea was to take levels from the first two Tony Hawk games, give them a complete graphical makeover, and then release it online for 15 bucks. The problem here is that this is not a remake as much as it’s a re-imagining. Regarding original levels, characters, and gaming alterations, some puzzling choices were made. So I thought it would be easiest to list a few of those decisions.
- Out of all the characters from THPS 1 and 2 only four original characters are available; Tony Hawk, Andrew Reynolds, Rodney Mullen, and Eric Koston. Sure, they threw in Officer Dick from the original THPS, but I’m talking about REAL skaters. Would it really have been that hard to throw in a few more?
- One of the new skaters is Tony Hawk’s son (yawn) and two other characters aren’t even real skaters, they’re people who won a freakin’ contest.
- The game only includes seven levels yet still includes both downhill levels from THPS 1, despite the fact those levels were one of the few complaints about the first game.
- The revert move has been taken out. I know you couldn’t revert in the first two games, but it was one of the most popular additions of the later installments. Plus it made combos that much sweeter.
- Out of 14 songs, only seven of them are from the first two games (the rest are brand new) and they only have ONE song from the first game. Thank god it’s “Superman” by Goldfinger.
- Bailing has been changed in a way that slows down the game. Why do I want to watch myself screw up for a longer period of time?
I think the most annoying thing about these changes is that they were all made in the fan’s worst interest. There’s no reason they couldn’t have included all the levels and characters from the first two games, they just wanted to make more money. So instead, new levels and the revert move will be available as “Downloads”. Really? You’re gonna release a game purposely lacking content so that we can buy the rest later? That ain’t right. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just make a new TH game in the old format instead.
All controversy aside, there’s one fact I just can’t ignore. I still have fun playing this game. This style of skateboarding game will always remind me of my youth and still feels like second nature. I turned on this game and instantly had flashbacks to the early 2000s. It’s the same series of games I liked with new packaging. Perhaps some of the contents of that package are disappointing, but it’s still pleasing when you first take it out of it’s metaphorical box. Maybe it’s uninspired, maybe it’s too short, maybe it’s all a scheme, but it’s still Tony Hawk damn it! So it just barely slinks by with a positive rating.