Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (4 1/2 hours)

I had the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Dreamcast and had a great time with it. It was the best version of the first game in terms of graphics. But also, I liked playing on a Dreamcast controller. When I bought Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, I expected it was going to be the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in HD. As it turns out, this is more of a greatest hits of previous Tony Hawk games and their courses with HD graphics.

Unlike the first game, the manual trick from later games is included, and the wall ride trick is added to your score, too. These two things allowed players to get much higher scores in combos than they could previously. Having these tricks and going back to levels from the first game like the Warehouse or the Mall is fun.

I guess the main selling point is HD graphics, but it doesn’t look all that great. The texture quality is high, but you encounter a lot of texture pop-in – textures not being full resolution until you get closer. Also, some of the courses, namely the School and Downhill Jam, were designed for dated hardware with a lower polygon count. That low polygon count is still noticeable, because the levels are mostly the same design. Even skaters look low-poly, which is unfortunate.

Like I said, the courses are a greatest hits collection, but there are only seven of them. I am not sure if the objectives have changed. Every course has an objective to collect the letters S-K-A-T-E. A lot of objectives work in fives. Collect the five tapes. Perform five wall rides. Etc. You can keep replaying the courses until there are no objectives left.

I think the most unfortunate part is an overall lack of polish. With the upgrade to HD, the levels don’t feel exactly the same, nor does the feel of performing tricks. You can upgrade your stats as you earn money to do so, but the overall game feels sloppy. You will crash a lot. I think letting Robomodo develop the game was a mistake. I remember having an easier time with the first game.

It’s hard to recommend this game even to fans of the series. Neversoft did it better. Still, it scratched a skateboarding itch I haven’t scratched in years. Buyer beware, the original’s are superior.



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