Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, THPSHD for short, attempts and fails to fill a void left by a lack of skateboarding games for PC. The gameplay is outdated, the graphics are "HD" but still very boring, and the soundtrack is straight out of an older game that most people probably already played at one point in their lives. This review will shed some light on the majorly flawed game's disappointments and also give my opinion on whether or not the game is worth the $10 price tag.
Disappointment #1: graphics
It should be obvious that the game is all about making older Tony Hawk games look pretty. In that sense, the game was a success. However, the "HD" in the title made me think the visuals may actually look extremely detailed. On the contrary, the level environments are all exactly as they were in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, except the textures are better and there are more glow effects and shiny things. The character models look a lot better, but you cannot make your own character, and there are no video settings. You cannot adjust the resolution or anything else.
Disappointment #2: controls
The default controls are fairly manageable, but there are no button settings or control scheme alternatives. The Xbox 360 controller works plug-and-play, but the controls listed in the game still refer to the keyboard. That requires the player to compare the button diagrams and memorize what each button is the equivalent to.
Disappointment #3: gameplay
This is a questionable flaw. While it disappoints me, it may be a welcome design to some others. The gameplay is an exact clone of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, meaning it does not have decent aerial control or sticker taps or transitions between tricks. For example, it is almost impossible to go from a vert trick to a manual. In THPS4, that was at least available. Sticker taps were added in Underground and later games, so I did not expect much of that stuff, but THPS4 gameplay was what I expected, and I was disappointed to see the limitations of THPS2.
Disappointment #4: audio track customization
Most Tony Hawk games allowed you to control which tracks would play and which ones would not. THPSHD does not give you that luxury. You only get volume control.
Disappointment #5: 2-player mode
This should be a feature of the game no matter what. However, THPSHD does not allow a second player at all. You only get the single-player features.
Disappointment #6: level editing
Another must-have feature that almost all THPS games before it had... is not available. What can't we make our own levels?
Disappointment #7: auto-save
This game does not save your game at all. It says it auto-saves everything, but it does not do a thing. Each time you reload the game, you lose your progress. Basically, the save feature does not work.
My thoughts for the developers:
Overall, the game is lacking a lot of what made the later Tony Hawk games a success. The early days of skateboarding were limited by technology of the time and should not be recreated without adjustments to the gameplay. Yes, the graphics are a lot better, but come on, give us some gameplay improvements and some harder challenges!
Final judgement: 1/5
The game is fun but not as fun as older titles. The game has too many technical flaws to be a recommendation to anyone. Boo.
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Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.