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Tony Hawk Project 8

Product: Tony Hawk's Project 8
Company: Neversoft Entertainment/Activision
Website: Official Game Site
Estimated Street Price: $59.99/£39.99
Review By: Brian Kvalheim

INTRODUCTION

I spent countless hours on my first skateboard almost 20 years ago, breaking a bone here and there as I spent countless hours on the local half pipe. From hanging out at the local bike shop perusing the latest wheels available, to hitting up the stores local rep for some free decals to plaster on my board, I found a hobby that was fun, yet was approved by the parents.

Much older now, I have moved from the half pipe into my living room behind the big screen to take on skating again (I still at this age continue to beat myself up in the occasional hockey game though). This is Tony's first attempt at the next gen systems, the Xbox 360 and PS3. Those familiar with his other titles, including "Pro Skater" should be right at home with the latest installment.

The Features

Reengineered from the ground up for Xbox 360™, Tony Hawk’s Project 8™ will give gamers the ultimate skateboarding experience. Project 8 continues the definitive skating series with ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics, and new super-responsive controls that put you in complete control of every trick and bail.

Face off against some of the world's top pro skaters and feel the intensity and pressure of true life competitions. Build your career as the world's top skater, and establish your home town as a skating destination. With non-stop skating action in a free-roaming, living environment, Tony Hawk’s Project 8incorporates the series’ most popular features, all enhanced for next-gen technology.

  • Enter a massive world: Tony Hawk’s Project 8 offers more goals, side-missions, secret areas, and mini games than any other Tony Hawk game. Track stats with new in-game record keeping, switch characters mid-game to accomplish a goal, or just skate how you want to skate.
  • Impress the locals: For the first time ever, impress the in-game citizenry to gain respect. Pedestrians will gather to watch you show off, and react according to your performance. They applaud your successes, but they also laugh at your bails or punch you for running into them.
  • Experience all new gameplay: Interact with pro skaters who will teach you special tricks or show you secret paths. Try to keep up with a cameraman and follow his instructions. Move ramps and rails around inside levels to set up sick tricks or reach secret areas. Watch yourself on camera through picture-in-picture technology.
  • Take complete control: With an all new physics system, Project 8 now allows you to push your grinds to the limit, while minimizing damage from bails by controlling your fall. Or you can abuse the ragdoll bail mode and see just how much damage your skater can take. Gravity and momentum are more present and realistic, and combine to give you the most realistic skate ever.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"There will be sponsored games throughout that will let you develop and improve you skills. In order to obtain these improved skills you must complete the sponsored challenges in a timely fashion. They start out easy, but of course, get progressively more difficult."

If you are not familiar with the previous titles from Tony Hawk, do not fret. Project 8 (P8) has one of the better training sessions I have seen to date on the Xbox 360. Be prepared to use just about every button available on your Xbox 360 controller by the end of the training sessions. Some, including myself, might want to spend some additional time in the training mode in order to get the controls down to a "T" before they venture into any missions or online competitions. Be prepared to take multiple attempts at moves that require some good button memory and fast responses

 

One of the best things about this game is that it's almost "sandbox" in nature. While you can follow the campaign step by step, nothing is stopping you from going anywhere you like, at any time. The game allows you to take a break from you skateboard and walk around, drive a car or two, or whatever tickles your fancy. The next generation of gaming is seen in the more wide open maps in P8. You will start off the game in a cul-de-sac with an NPC giving you direction. Find them (you can't miss them) throughout the entire campaign to complete the story.

There will be sponsored games throughout that will let you develop and improve you skills. In order to obtain these improved skills you must complete the sponsored challenges in a timely fashion. They start out easy, but of course, get progressively more difficult.

The controls are relatively easy, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see which building, roofs, rails and ramps you can use to bump your scores up. P8 even lets you go old school with a classic mode that allows you to do the time attacks and more.

As for multiplayer, count on the Xbox 360 to shine through. Multiplayer is not available on the PS3, leaving a vacant spot on my shelf for such a title. I can't imagine gaming without online any longer. P8 adds online support for games like capture the flag, scavenger hunt and goal attack. Playing with a group of friends is a load of fun as you talk smack on the half pipe, comparing scores, skating side by side. It's almost like it was 20 years ago without the bruises (ok, not really).

 Graphics & Sound

 

Those looking for next generation graphics need not apply. While there is a massive environment with seamless travel throughout the city (no load times), you won't find the graphics to be must have. While they are improved over the previous Tony Hawk title on Xbox 1, it's not substantial. You will find a higher resolution, better lighting, and a little better attention to detail on the environments. The best graphics seen are the in game advertising banners seem to stand out really well. You still find your occasional rip and jaggy, albeit not as bad as they were on the Xbox 1.

Those who grew up on their boards in the 80's and 90's will thoroughly enjoy the soundtrack, which is mostly from that era. Many times I find myself turning on the Xbox 360 custom soundtracks, but in many cases, the songs in P8 were in my playlist. This is one of the first titles on the 360 that actually had me voluntarily bypass that custom sound feature.

Those using the 5.1 surround features will also be impressed. The sound of the wheels hitting the pavement, the sliding of your jeans as you tumble down the ramp, or the crash of the board as you slide off of a rail sound just like you were actually skating. P8 nailed with the sound and soundtrack on this new version, no doubt.

Final Comments


 

In the end, this game is purely for skaters. Those familiar with the Tony Hawk game series would be mistaken not to pick up this title. Those who are interested, but not sure about the $60USD investment may want to hit up Netflix or Blockbuster before make the commitment. The game continues on the success of they Tony Hawk series no doubt, but it doesn't offer anything newsworthy to make it the must have title.

 

How It Grades
Controls: 90%
Gameplay: 70%
Presentation: 74%
Graphics: 75%
Multiplayer: 80%
Sound: 90%
Interface: 80%
Lastability: 70%
Price/Value: 75%
Overall: 78%
Specs & Package
Overall Score 78%
Version Reviewed Tony Hawk Project 8 (NTSC)
Release Date Fall 2006
In The Box? 1 Tony Hawk Project 8 DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Controls, Soundtrack and great training mode.
The Bad Points 1st Generation 360 graphics, limited online playability, limited longevity
Xbox Live! Online Play Enabled? Yes
Widescreen Support Yes
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i

 

 

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