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Review: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5

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Tony Hawk’s series of video games are fondly remembered for being an awesome arcade skating experience that had a certain attitude to it that you could only understand if you were into the sport, or were young and impressionable. First appearing on the fifth generation of consoles, and developed by Neversoft, THPS simultaneously pioneered and dominated the genre of skateboarding video games.

For those who became fans of the series, it wasn’t hard to see why the Tony Hawk games were on top. The games were known for intuitive controls and superb control responsiveness, killer soundtracks that fit the game very well, and level design that people to this day remember fondly. Warehouse would have to be my favorite stage from the Pro Skater’s lineage, and I feel like I could safely assume it’s in the top 5 lists of most THPS fans as well.

However, I feel “Tony Hawk’s Underground” was definitely the high point for this franchise. Regardless of your favorite in the series, Neversoft knew how to make a good skating game. That is, until 2007, when Neversoft switched gears and released a little something called “Guitar Hero”.

Roughly 13 years later after THPS 4 was released (2002), the flagship Pro Skater series finally received a new iteration, developed by Robomodo. I feel like I’ve talked enough about the series’ legacy, so lets get to picking apart this new installment. On second thought, considering the state this game was released in, lets cut it into pieces with a hacksaw instead. I was hoping for a return to a golden age, but this game is dreadful. Appallingly dreadful.

To give you a feeling for how bad of a state this game was released in, lets start with a day 1 patch. While they do fix issues, I always have felt that the day one patch was something that should be done before a release is even considered. Not helping the defense for this case is THPS 5, with their ~7 GB patch. Rumors have been circulating that this patch was made to fix the game only having the tutorial and the level creator playable. Whether or not this is indeed the case, considering the game’s launch file size was a little over 4.5 GB, I would not bet against the notion.

Unfortunately, the patch did not seem to fix the other numerous issues the game has. The biggest and most apparent ones are the issues with the game’s physics. Clipping through objects, falling through the floor, and doing a “normal jump” and flying upward off of your board with impossible speed are common occurrences. You would be easily forgiven if you thought I was summarizing the other popular skateboarding game series Skate. However, the key thing to keep in mind is that while both games are guilty of these physics issues – in Skate, you had to force it to happen with improbable character rotations or collisions. In THPS 5, it is a common occurrence.

Graphically, THPS 5 is just as disappointing and honestly looks worse than previous iterations, but the terrible physics are the real deal breaker. When you are playing a skateboarding game and you have a better chance of phasing into the half-pipe than landing the trick you were using it for, you have bought yourself a $60 game disc that is more useful as a drink coaster than as entertainment.

★☆☆☆☆  “Trash – A painful experience. Only masochists need apply.”

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