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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Review – The Past Is A Flimsy Prologue

The premise of bringing back the Tony Hawk series' old-school
gameplay has been tougher than it may have seemed to Robomodo, Activision, or
even fans. I loved the early titles back in the day, but even such a seemingly
airtight premise as an update to what has already been successful is not
enough. So much has happened in the intervening years in gaming in general that
I want more than this title delivers, which at best is an approximation of the
series' gameplay couched in an unimaginative framework.

At times Tony Hawk 5 easily reminds me why I played so much
of the series when it debuted. Tricks effortlessly fly off my fingertips as I
build crazy combos on the back of whatever surface I can find. I don't know how
much skating tricks have evolved in the real-life scene since the series'
heyday, but you won't find yourself at a loss for self-expression even though
skaters' trick sets are locked to that particular person.

The levels accommodate your imagination, containing long
lists of gaps to find and conquer, new twists to familiar levels like the
Warehouse and School, and runs that need to be deciphered and mastered. While
larger than many of the original levels, the ones in this title are well
constructed, offering options from moment to moment whether you love to grind,
flip into manual, or get air. Many of the levels have power ups you can use – my favorite being the double-jump wings that let you access and grind varying
levels of the rooftop map. Players can also make their own levels with a
variety of objects. These can be plenty large and fans have already re-created
the first game's classic Warehouse as well as their own original spaces.

The game's reality, however, constantly reminds you that
this isn't the Tony Hawk you remember. Inconsistent framerate, textures that
pop in, and physics quirks that launch you into the sky mar the experience
regularly. I honestly find the latter hilarious if it occurs when I eat it
after failing a trick, but they can also occasionally happen when simply trying
to execute a move at the top of a ramp. As annoying as these bugs are, the game
has fundamental design problems on its plate.

I disagree with the decision to let players glom on to
practically any nearby rail, even if your momentum is carrying you in a
different direction or you're in mid-trick. I don't expect real-world physics,
but it takes some of the skill out of the game when you can save yourself from
failing a trick by hitting triangle/Y button and hope you catch the nearest
edge. Robomodo's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD had this same too-forgiving rail
detection, and I'm disappointed it hasn't improved.

While THPS 5 doesn't feature perfect gameplay, what's just
as unfortunate is that the progression system wrapped around it doesn't
inspire. The freeskate objectives of finding the SKATE letters or the hidden
tape give you points to upgrade your skills and encourage you to explore the
levels, but the broader missions (which you have to do well in to unlock the
next level) grow old quickly. Their basic template is repeated and adapted in
each level, which means you're going to always be racing through hoops, finding
items and returning them to a specified location, grinding/manualing for as
long as possible, etc., no matter where you are. I actually liked a few of
them, such as doing tricks on a timer to avoid having your head explode, but it
all wore thin quick.

The online modes also fail to build to anything meaningful.
It's easy to party up and play games like King of the Hill against friends or
invite whoever is near to a quick session, but there is really only one
leaderboard – despite the fact that the game keeps track of numerous
individual stats. Even among friends, the online functions don't spur that
feeling of, "Hey, let's skate in this world and see what crazy stuff happens!"
For instance, competitor Skate used to encourage players to spontaneously
create challenges in the world or dubiously rack up Hall of Meat biffs for
points. This allowed a normal session to become something else through skaters'
own ingenuity. From a technical standpoint, online players will blink out or
warp across the level, which makes it difficult to follow another person to see
what they're doing, further breaking that feeling of togetherness.

After playing THPS 5, I have renewed respect for the
struggles of Tony Hawk's previous developer, Neversoft, as it tried to evolve
the series away from its beginnings. Apart from tightening up its gameplay,
Tony Hawk 5 begs for a direction. It's clear that making a game that simply
tries to capture the good times in a new setting isn't enough, even if it did
nail the gameplay. The gaming landscape has changed a lot since the series
heyday, but this title is stuck in a no-man's-land between not being good
enough to replicate the past nor ambitious enough to move the franchise

Limited Customization
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 doesn’t let you create your own skater from scratch, but you can customize the existing skaters. As you progress, you’ll unlock heads, bodies, and boards for your skater, and mixing and matching these is how you make your skater look how you want – even if it means playing as Tony Hawk, although you’ve put another person’s head on him. Regardless of how your skater looks, they will always share the original pro’s trick set. This cannot be changed.

This review pertains to the
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. It also appears on PlayStation
3 and Xbox 360, but without online capabilities.

Check out Brian and Ben playing the game in our new episode of Test Chamber.

(Please visit the site to view this media) – The Feed

Don’t Miss: The postmortem of Treyarch’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Former Treyarch developer Jamie Fristrom opens up in this classic 2000 feature about the ups and downs of porting one of the most successful PlayStation games of 1999 to Sega’s Dreamcast console. …

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Don’t Miss: The remarkable history of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

In this classic feature authors Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton present an annotated history of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the game that popularized a niche genre and sparked a host of imitators. …

Gamasutra News

Activision Says Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Disc Contains Core Game, Patch Needed For Server Support

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 released today and with it came a large, 7.7GB patch, leading many to speculate that the disc version might not contain the full game. Activision says that's not the case.

We reached out to Activision to inquire about the large patch and find more about its contents. You can find a statement from Activision below:

The core of the game is present on the disc and playable without downloading the patch. The patch does contain tweaks that are needed to fully integrate dedicated server support, which is needed if the player is connected to the Internet since the game is always online. The patch also gives the players additional content as well as improved stability and overall experience.

In summary, the patch is present to improve stability and facilitate online play, but is playable without it.

We did not receive an advance copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, and as a result, we are withholding our review until we have been able to spend more time with the game. In the meantime, you can check out our Test Chamber video where we played through the opening here.


Our Take
The reports of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5's performance have been troubling. Many players are reporting frequent crashes and bugs even after installing the patch. I'm curious to see Matt Kato's full review after he has spent more time with the game. – The Feed

Where Is Our Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Review?

It's been a long wait for the return of the mainline Tony Hawk video game franchise, and it's going to be a little longer before we render our final verdict on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.

The game promises to take us back to the series' bread-and-butter, trick-based skating gameplay. We're excited to get back on our board, but publisher Activision did not sent out review code in advance of the game's release, which is today.

THPS 5 will also be available on PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 10 at a cheaper price, but this downloadable-only version does not feature online play. – The Feed

See How The Skaters Made It Into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

By now, we've all seen videos of actors in black leotards, dotted with ping-pong balls. It's an amusing look behind the motion-capture curtain, but it rarely is as interesting as actually seeing the finished product. A new behind-the-scenes trailer for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 breaks that mold, featuring zero ping-pong balls and a ton of in-game footage.

Watch the video below for a glimpse of the facial-scanning tech, which is described as a less-radioactive dental X-ray or, alternately, like being abducted by aliens. The developers also talk about their thoughts on multiplayer. They see it as simulating the experiencing a real-world skate park, where goals and games come up organically. That doesn't mean you won't have plenty of collectibles to snag or structured activities, though.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The game's set for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Sept. 29, with offline-only versions coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on Nov. 10. Last-gen versions of the game are priced at $ 39.99. For more on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, check out our feature on the game's bold new look. – The Feed

Latest Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Video Focuses On The Skaters

Tony Hawk's name may be on the box, but the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series has long highlighted some of the biggest names in the skating world. Activision has released a new trailer for the latest installment in the franchise, featuring a variety of skaters talking about their experiences with the game.

Take a look at the clip below to see pros including Chris Cole, Lizzie Armanto, Riley Hawk, and more sharing their memories of the games and what it's like to be a playable character. And to do us one better, the video has plenty of footage of their in-game counterparts skating around. For more info on the game, take a look at our earlier preview.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Sept. 29, and on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on Nov. 10. – The Feed

Tony Hawk 5′s Soundtrack Features Punk, Hip-Hop, Skrillex

Music has long been a part of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, which has featured some of the strongest overall licensed soundtracks in gaming. Activision has released the tracklist for the latest entry in the series, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, and you can see for yourself how it stacks up to previous games.

There are more than two dozen songs overall, running from Anti-Flag to Yogi & Skrillex. There are bound to be a few songs that you won't recognize in the list below. Fortunately, the publisher thoughtfully provided links to their official YouTube or SoundCloud channels when possible. It's Friday, so your boss won't mind if you spend the next few hours clicking through and checking it all out. Trust us,

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Sept. 29, with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions following on Nov. 10. For more information on the game, be sure to check out our extensive preview.


Our Take
I'd say there's a conspicuous lack of Goldfinger and Primus here, but I'm looking forward to a new batch of songs getting stuck in my head, too. I could count on two things after a Tony Hawk session back in the day: Seeing skating lines in everything around me for the next few hours, and humming "Superman" for entirely too long. – The Feed

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Gets A New Look

At E3, gamers got their first hands-on with the upcoming, old school-but-not-outdated Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, but what greeted them at Gamescom this week in Germany had an all new look to it. We talked briefly with one of the game's developers Robomodo (Disruptive Games is also on the project) about the 180 in the game's visual style.

When we first revealed the game earlier this year, some people didn't think the graphics were truly next gen. Robomodo CEO Josh Tsui, however, explains why the studio did it and that the change wasn't the result of any one moment, but rather "the next step in a design."

When did you make the decision to change the art style? Why was the decision made?
Josh Tsui: I wouldn't say there was a single decision, per se – this is the design we've been working toward internally for some time now. But as with everything else, it's an evolving process, and we've pushed the visual style forward in increments to balance it alongside other technical benchmarks and gameplay and multiplayer optimizations. So what you're seeing now is more the next step in a design rather than a totally new concept.

Why was this particular look chosen?
Our priority from the start has been to make sure Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 feels good to play. That means hitting 60 fps at 1080p, even when you're shredding with 20 people in the same session online. Once we knew we could maintain framerate with the new look – and that took a while – we fully implemented it. For us, it's fun and over the top in the way the original games were. We really want to drive home that playful energy of sharing a skatepark with a crowd of friends, and the current look of the game gets us there while balancing all the action you can pull off together at the same time.

What was the technical process to change the game's look?
A lot's gone into it, but we've definitely played with the lighting and pumped up the game's colors to add more detail to the experience. The game moves pretty fast, so we wanted to make sure effects like motion blur, depth of field, and outlining were at a place to help players focus on the most important elements onscreen at any given time.

Did the new look require any tweaking of collision or any of the gameplay?
Not really. If anything, it's the other way around, where our goal of keeping gameplay fun and fluid overall is what's driving the look and style of the experience.


For more on the game, read our magazine feature from earlier this year and check out this trailer – with the old look.

What do you think? Let everyone know in the comments section below. – The Feed

Release Date And Behind The Scenes Trailer Released For Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

Today is a good day for fans of the long-running Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. In addition to releasing a new trailer, Activision has also announced the current-gen release date for the latest installment.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The trailer above offers a behind-the-scenes look at the development of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 by various members of the production team, professional skaters, and Tony Hawk himself. The video also shows off some current gameplay footage while talking about how the new game is staying true to the mechanics fans of the series love. The new game will also feature a community-driven skate park creation tool that allows users to create their own courses and challenges. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 will release to PS4 and Xbox One on September 29. The game is also coming to PS3 and Xbox 360 before the end of the year, but no release date has been set at this time. – The Feed