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Tony Hawk's Project 8

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Sports (Extreme)

Graphics & Sound:

Seven hard-slashing, grinding and face-planting iterations later, we have Tony Hawk's Project 8. Like any series that goes on for this long, there are bound to be some ups and downs, and yes I am aware of the possible half pipe pun going on here. To best sum up my feelings on this iteration, I would say there was a fair amount of give and take. On one hand, of course it looks great, but on the other hand, they changed some older, core mechanics that have older fans up in arms.

So the look and feel of this version is on par with XBOX capabilities. It was, of course, a level down from next gen, but it still looked very good. I did a little comparing, and if you didn't know just what to look for in differences, then you would have been just as happy graphically.

Of course, there is plenty of current music piped in from several popular skate bands and new punk. I guess it's just me, but I had to bring some old stuff for myself. I won't bore you with my old school play list, just that I think that gamewise, it would have been a little more interesting if they had kept a few of the more popular, older songs from previous Tony Hawk versions.


Like most games, you have the opportunity to create a persona. By now with other iterations of this game and the known abilities to create characters, you would think this would be pretty advanced. And, you would be wrong. Yeah, you get to change your hair and eyes, but you get a whopping three body types to start off with. Now sit back and get your advergaming on as you sift through tons of real world clothing choices. Nothing says indie rock skater punk like designer label clothing.

So I am ready to roll with my copy of Tony Hawk's Project 8 in the drive. I am thinking, man, never mind the tutorial, for now. I am just going to get in and grind away. A few seconds, and a pint of blood later, you find me doing the tutorial. I guess it has been a while since I have been on a board, real or virtual. There is now a button you can hit to "manual" instead of the old way of rocking your thumbstick up and then down or vice versa. It felt more like a fighting game to me, with all of the combos, than it did a skating game. All of the tricks are easy to hit and are quick enough to learn.

So I am loose in the world, and this time I am armed with some trick knowledge. I am expecting these vast open skate areas that are huge. I was very disappointed, as I had seen some of these place before in other versions, and they were done better there. All of the levels were very and painfully obviously laid out for tricks. I think the real world environments feel better than this bubblegum arena feel.

You are supposed to be getting your name out there in order to become part of the 8. So, you have these mini-game instances that you have to play by finding various characters wandering around the the levels. How well you score with them moves you closer to the top 8 skaters. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the game.


I thought that tricks were way too easy to learn and connect in Tony Hawk's Project 8. I said it before that you feel like you are completing combos in a fighting game and not having the same free flow skating that you might have had before. The bullet time "Nail the Trick" feature would bring you to a rage time and time again, as it didn't feel very intuitive to manipulate the board. The trick lines may as well be drawn out for you in crayola as the areas are very cookie-cutter and uninspired. You will have goals to complete, but you have tons of time to practice and get better. It will take you no time at all to be up to par with the computer skaters and part of the 8.

Game Mechanics:

It is time to bring up some missing mechanics in Tony Hawk's Project 8. What happened to the "design a park" and the "design a trick" that made this game popular? Also, there is no online capability to play around with. The "Nail the Trick" could be kind of interesting with a little work. It consisted of a bullet time camera that would zoom in on the board as you used the thumbsticks to manipulate your feet. It was an awesome thing to watch. You would spin your thumbsticks and watch the board slowly drift away from you as you became one with the asphalt. It reminded me of what an astronaut that loses his grip on the shuttle might feel as he watches it slowly move ever further from his grip and contemplates burning up in the atmosphere.

Yeah, so I have to say that I really didn't enjoy the game as much as I have in the past. The design of the levels felt cookie-cutter and there was little replayability, aside from beating your own score. I will go back to the second game for a fix if I need one.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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