Every summer, Xbox 360 owners share a magical tradition with other Xbox 360 owners from around the world. This tradition, known as Xbox Live Summer of Arcade takes place in mid-July to mid-August of every year and is filled with the promise of new fun games to play.
This year’s Summer of Arcade started off with the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD on July 18. THPS HD takes some of the best levels of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 and combines them into one nostalgic HD experience for Xbox 360 owners.
I want to start off by saying I love the Tony Hawk games and have been playing them ever since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on my older brother’s Sega Dreamcast. I fondly remember playing THPS2 for hours upon hours trying to achieve the “Sick” Score requirements they had for each level. The Bullfighting stage was one of my favorites.
When I first heard this game was announced I jumped around and pretended that I was doing ollies just like Tony Hawk (I can’t actually do an ollie obviously). I literally “jumped” at the chance to experience one of my favorite game series from my childhood again. Needless to say I instantly bought Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD the second it was made available.
I started the game’s Career mode up as my go-to guy Tony Hawk and entered the beloved Warehouse of THPS1 fame. One thing was clear from the beginning; I completely forgot how to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. After a few minutes of mistrials I started to get the hang of it and fell in love all over again.
Performing tricks is just as easy as it was in the originals (after you boost your stats, I might add) and it’s fun to be able to do the same combo lines that netted you thousands of points years ago. The cast of characters you can play as in the game also includes old favorites (Rodney Mullen, Eric Koston, Andrew Reynolds) as well as some new faces (Riley Hawk, Chris Cole, Lyn-Z Adams). Secret unlockable characters Ollie the Magic Bum and Officer Dick also make an appearance.
Most of the Career mode goals are also the same as they were in the original games (Collect S-K-A-T-E, get a high score, find the secret DVD, etc). I booted up the game with a close friend of mine who also loves the Tony Hawk series and we were blown away. We shared tips and tricks that we remembered from playing years ago and successfully worked together to complete every goal in every level. We felt accomplished.
Classics levels such as School II, Venice Beach, and Marseille are all in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. They haven’t changed either and contain the same secret areas and gaps that we all remember. The developers at Robomodo even brought back a majority of the songs from the soundtracks of THPS1 and THPS2 to further complete the nostalgic experience (“Bring the Noise” anyone?) so we could jam out just the same way we did as our 13 year old selves.
Online multiplayer is also supported so fans can connect with other Tony Hawk pros from around the world and try to reign supreme over their Tony Hawk brethren.
Review scores have been mixed for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, but they have mostly been leaning towards the favorable side. After playing I can honestly say I agree with them. I was filled with nostalgia and remembered why these games were so fun in the first place.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD was worth every penny of the 1200 MS Points ($15) I spent to buy it. I still haven’t unlocked everything and I want to keep playing until I do. Gamers who considers themselves a fan of the Tony Hawk games should buy this game right away. Anyone else looking for a fun, arcade-style skate boarding game should at least give Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD a try.
(Note: If I could give it 4.5 stars I would, but I can’t so 5 it is!)