Neversoft
Activision O2
Extreme Sports
1-4
10.24.02

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. This single game can be blamed for the huge number of extreme sports games on the market today. Every sport has been covered, from skateboarding to BMX-riding and soon even wakeboarding will be given the Activision O2 treatment. The Tony Hawk's games specifically have become better with every incarnation, and a new gaming addition added to each game, the manual, the revert, and now spine transfers and self-righting. The series just keeps getting better and better, and THPS4 is no exception.

Graphics

Simply put, the game looks lovely. Nice, detailed textures, very fluid frame rate, superb skater animations, it all adds up to a visually tasty skating experience. The levels are designed nicely, with plenty of hidden areas, and they all look the part, and Activision have thought of virtually everything. If you manage to not make a trick and you bail, you'll see the blood splatter on the floor. Eventually, if you REALLY suck (or you just like inflicting pain on little skateboarder people, you'll see the blood begin to stain their clothing. The levels are massive, and loading times aren't too bad either thanks to our black box's hard disk.

Sound

The skating sounds are all as realistic as they come, although they can get a little tedious eventually, hearing the same splats as you bail, or grinding noises. They've finally got the actual riders in to record voiceovers too now, so every goal you accept will be read by one of the pros (if the challenge is set by a pro, of course), and the pros have recorded their groans and grunts when crashing too (one of Bam Margera's being particularly amusing). Tony Hawk's games are renowned for the soundtracks, featuring both classics and up-and-coming artists from both the rock and hip-hop scenes. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is no exception. From the moment I switched on the game and heard AC/DC pumping out T.N.T., I knew I was in game music heaven. The rest of the line-up, including The Offspring and System Of A Down only confirmed my glee, and while there are a few stinkers, you can easily turn those off. This is one of a few games I have actually not wanted to use my own soundtrack in, however you can, so don't worry if rock and/or hip-hop aren't your thing!

Gameplay

This is sports gaming at it's finest. Tony Hawk games in the past have been criticized for having to re-do goals with every single different character to '100%' the game, and Activision have finally decided to do something about the career system in general, as it has been totally redone. You are now given a free-skate-style situation to cruise the level at will, practicing your tricks or grabbing the 25 cash icons dotted around each level, or of course completing your gap list (which has returned in THPS4, hooray!). Whilst skating you will undoubtedly see many people with blue arrows above them, and riding up to one and selecting them will reveal a goal for you to complete. The game mechanics themselves have not changed much since previous incarnations, but that is far from a bad thing. Two new addition are the spine transfer, (allowing you to transfer over the spine between two quarter-pipes), and self-righting (allowing yourself to balance and land after coming out of a pipe horizontally). Both are invaluable, and you will soon find yourself using them as if you had been using them all your life, just like the reverts and manuals (how did we play Tony Hawk's 1 and 2 without the revert?).

Replay Value

There are 190 (yes, one hundred and ninety) goals in total in this game, and I can guarantee that it will take you a hell of a long time to get all of those, plus all the gaps, plus all the cash, plus every item available to purchase. There are also the famed multiplayer modes such as Graffiti and Horse, which will ensure endless hours of multiplayer shenanigans. The game also features plenty of videos, of course featuring the Neversoft Bails, which always provide a laugh. Whilst this game does not have Xbox Live compatibility, you can play it online via XBConnect or the Gamespy tunnel.

Bottom Line:

Do I really need to tell you? If you haven't got your shoes on already and you're not bolting out of the door to pick this up, then I pity you. You're missing out on gaming at its peak. BUY, BUY, BUY!!

-Blade




9.0
9.0
10.0
10.0
9.5