Product Type: Activision Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... and the same as previous games but this time for each challenge you do there are three levels that you can complete it at: easy, har... more
Tony Hawk returns to form after several years in the Jackass-inspired wilderness
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (Xbox 360)
Member Name: swander
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Loads to do, game mechanics remain as fun as ever, easy to get into but challenging to complete
Disadvantages: Frequent slowdown, a map built around quantity before quality
The great thing about THP8 is that you don't really need to be familiar with this form anyway - furthermore, if you are, then you can still get a lot out of the game. Many games profess to be easy to grasp but hard to master, but this really does ring true here. A herd of tutorials usher in beginners and, as has become customary, there've been a few new additions to your skater's moveset. However, the sheer amount of challenges to complete, along with the three tiered completion system, means that even if you've played through the previous seven games then you'll get your money's worth.
Every task can be completed on an easy, medium or hard ('sick') difficulty, and given that there are dozens of objectives there's plenty to get on with. The tasks generally follow some set forms, which could lead to repetetiveness, but the stable of tasks (which ranges from competitions to races to extravagant grinds) is large enough to stave off any complaints. It's possible to limp through on the easiest settings, so the uninitated can beat the game, but to truly be the master you'll want to hit every target on the hardest difficulty - a brutal feat.
The storyline has thankfully returned to something resembling normality, with the ridiculous toilet humour almost entirely eradicated. Instead, there's the occasional mini-game objective (break a certain amount of bones in one bail, for example) and the odd wacky special move (flips that set your board alight) but one problem remaining from the last few in the series is the scale.
No loading times and a massive, sprawling, interconnected world may sound appealing but the reality is troubling. A stuttering framerate is disheartening in such a frantic gameplay experience, but it's inevitable when the draw distance attempts to be so expansive. Furthermore, the larger your virtual skatepark gets, the less likely it is to maintain such a high level of quality. Level design is the main reason held up by those that shy away from these various sequels, and it's true again to say that nowhere really captures the imagination like the School levels of years gone by.
However, THP8 remains the benchmark in street sport, with a robust multiplayer mode and gorgeous graphics. The new slow-motion focus mode and nail-the-trick feature highlight your new console's graphics; however, the world is just a bit too big. As a sandbox to mess around in, and a new set of missions to grind through (get it?), THP8 more than justifies a purchase. It's definitely the best version of the series in a long while, but the lack of a definitively amazing setting and the prevalence of slowdown mean that we're still waiting for a five-star skater.
Summary: Despite some shortcomings, it definitely warrants a place in your next-gen library