He was a sk8r boi...
Annoying song for the tagline aside, the "good" folks at Activision bring out the Tony Hawk Pro franchise for an eighth outing in the form of Tony Hawk's Project 8. The aim of the game is to have your no-name skater start at the bottom of the ranks and make his way up towards the top eight-- Project 8. The top eight skaters will star in a Tony Hawk video production. How do you rise up in the ranks? Easy. By completing skating challenges around Beaver Creek (the game hub) you'll slowly begin to make a name for yourself.
Take your skater from skating rags to riches.
Starting out in the quaint confines of Suburbia, you'll create your skater. Admittedly the skater options are horrible. You'll basically be choosing a model and be sent off on your way. In my eye, that's a total letdown. Regardless, by completing tasks at either the am, pro, and/or sick difficulties, completing various pro challenges where a professional skater will ask you to perform a specific goal, participating in skate competitions, finding secret spots hidden all around Beaver Creek, and nailing gaps you'll slowly but steadily rise among the ranks picking up new sponsors and notoriety. Goals range from performing tricks in front of a camera to taking down graffiti off of walls. The art of bailing presents itself in Project 8 in various Jackass-styled objectives such as activating a bail to knock down ten bowling pins. These objectives are pretty much too goofy, unrealistic and clash with the supposed realistic skating experience Project 8 wants to offer.
Bob Burnquist shows us how it's done.
Additionally, a new Nail the Trick mode can be activated by pushing in both analog sticks while in mid-air. This slows time down and focuses in on your deck. By moving the analog sticks to kick the board around and timing your movements just right you can perform some very cool flip tricks with your deck. This can be used to rack up some serious scores which you'll need to complete sick difficulty competitions. Speaking of sick challenges, these are meant for the most professional Tony Hawk players. They will seriously kick your ass if you don't know what you're doing. Thankfully, they really aren't needed to enter Project 8-- only if you wish to be #1. And, achievement whores, don't look at this game for an easy 1000/1000. You will be lucky to break 700 points.
Even though all of the areas are based within the same town of Beaver Valley, the sections are quite varied. You'll start off in Suburbia, move on to the center of Beaver Creek in Main Street, thrash tricks around a Skate Park, hit the books in the School, kick it old school in the Slums, impress your forefathers at City Hall, piss off the squirrels in City Park, work for the union in the Factory, and ride the rides of the Fun Park. As you begin Project 8 you'll be limited to the Suburbia, but as you progress the whole town will be open for you to skate in.
Skate alone or with friends/strangers online.
Online allows you and a handful of humans to skate via various modes include a variant of tag, trick attack, a mode to see who can score the highest combo, and more. When a player drops out, the game still continues. Online has a very casual feel to it, and it never feels overly competitive like some games such as Gears of War or Halo 2.
Ulitmately, Tony Hawk Project 8 is a solid title that mostly heads back to the basics. While not too much has changed the total package is one that is both challenging, satisfying, a delight to play, and rewarding. Those who aren't a fan of the series won't be persuaded by this title to pick up. Those who are though will discover a THPS game that harks back to the originals. Not bad for the old bird.
[SuperPhillip Says: 7.25/10]