Technically and artistically, Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 5 might have looked at home on the PlayStation 2; I say "might have," because it doesnít even compare well to Tony Hawkís Pro Skater 3 or 4. From a conceptual standpoint, this just isnít an attractive game. Textures are flat and environments are uncharacteristically boring for the series. Iíll never call out the Tony Hawk series for taking scientific liberties with the laws of physics; I distinctly remember the moment in Underground in which the player acid drops off a hotel rooftop and launches over a helicopter only to land on the roof of another hotel. Realism just isnít this franchiseís thing. But Pro Skater 5ís physics are indefensibly bad; again, not as bad as in RIDE, but as far as the core series goes, this one looks the worst. But the physics are linked to the gameplay, so Iíll save most of those complaints for later.
Under the hood, technical problems abound in Pro Skater 5. It doesnít take long to notice; even taking the insanely huge day one patch into account. The audio drops out several times in the Activision logo sequence, and thatís indicative of the full experience. A poorly-designed user interface and unwelcome, intermittent load times round out the dubious package.
Sound design is usually a large part of what ties the Tony Hawk games to the skater culture to which they are dedicated. All of it, from the simple sounds of polyurethane wheels making continuous contact with wood and asphalt to the diverse soundtrack, helps make a Tony Hawk gameÖ well, a Tony Hawk game. In this regard, the game mostly succeeds, save for the myriad technical problems that invariably get in the way. The soundtrack is a blend of punk rock, metal, and hip hop thatís right at home for the series and the sport it represents.