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
A successful Project!
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Sublime controls, superb gameplay, great multiplayer, outstanding sound, lots of content, FREEDOM!!!
Disadvantages: Lack of create-a-modes, minor slowdown.
Since it debuted in 2000, the Tony Hawk's games have been the definitive skateboarding games, with rivals dropping dead before them. It has gone through quite a few changes with the original, adding big changes like Reverts and Manuals, as well as littler ones like Bam Margera. You can't deny the spark has been lost since the original, with the disappointing, though still good, American Wasteland. Now, we've hit a new generation of consoles where the power is there. Rather than making huge changes to the formula, Neversoft have played it safe though gone back to basics, stripping away the fluff of half-assed stories and giving us a straight up skateboarding game. It might not add much, but with superb gameplay like the Tony Hawk's games, you don't need to. This is the best Tony Hawk game since the days of the Pro Skater games.
Rather than having a focus on plot like American Wasteland or the Underground games, the plot isn't an important thing here, which is good as it felt like it was forced and lacking. Basically, because Tony Hawk is now officially an old dude, he has decided to form a group called Project 8 (hence the name of the game). This is eight of the best skaters all in one group skating with Tony, and you have to be the best to be here. You start out ranked 200 (it sounds scary, but it's not) and now you must work your way up to 8. And, that's really all there is to it. No love affairs with red headed comic book creators, no explosions, no 'wheel of loogies' from the previous game. And it's best that way, as the plot doesn't get in the way of the game.
The controls are great in Project 8. You perform tricks by hitting either the X or B button and pressing a direction on the D-pad or the left analog stick. Using the sticks is much better this time around, as they're not nearly as sensitive as the previous games. Other moves like grind and lip tricks are mapped to the Y button. Manual is a very important move so it's nice that it's easy to do, as you simply press up and down and you go into a manual. From there, you can press some face buttons to do moves. You can get off the board by pressing Left bumper and Right bumper. Plus, spine transfers are easier this time around as you simply press the right trigger.
The core gameplay isn't much different from previous games, but that's not a problem considering that the gameplay is superb. You can do flip tricks, grab tricks and manuals. You can also do wall rides where you skid across a wall, lip tricks where you balance on top of a half-pipe, flips where you spin around in a circle, and stall grinds where you start to grind but stop before going further. The new thing this time around is Nail the Trick. Basically, you can either enter this by entering specific goals or pressing both analog sticks in mid-air. When you enter this, the game goes into slow motion and the camera zooms in onto your feet. From here, you can move the left and right analog stick to move your board. It's hard to use at first, as even though you're in slow motion there's little time for planning, but once you get used to it it's pretty fun and a good way to get some points. This is especially known as the combo system is a little different. You can't cheat by using a lip for five minutes, as it won't get you points. Variety is needed to rack up those points, which does make the game challenging.
The main meat of the game is the career mode. This basically throws you into an open world with tons of goals to finish. This is an open world with no load times unlike American Wasteland, where load times were covered up with you waiting on a bus or going through a small corridor. There are no load times, except if you retry a goal half way across the city, where you need to be warped there. Also, the world is alive with lots of skaters doing some tricks as well as pedestrians just doing their thing. Or their thang, so to speak. This means simply skating through this world is a treat. But the actually career mode is pretty fun too.
There's quite a bit of freedom in the career mode. You can choose the goals that you want to do, meaning that you can pick the ones you like most first then do the other goals. Also interesting is the difficulty level, which is much better than the previous games. Rather than selecting a difficulty, each goal has three difficulty completions. You can finish a goal with an Amateur grade, a Pro grade or a sick grade. Amateur grade isn't too hard for casual gamers, as it's usually something simple like hit a 180 degree trick over a half pipe. Pro puts it up a bit with maybe two tricks with a 360 spin needed. Sick is very hard, as it is hard to do a 540 trick with little time. This means that you can choose your difficulty and be satisfied. If you're new to the series then Am goals will be good for you, if you're a casual Hawk fan then you'll enjoy the Pro goals and if you've been playing Hawk since the original (and not sucking), then Sick will relight your spark for the series.
The goals in the game consist of a few different types of goals. There's the photo shoots where you either have to do a trick over a gap or follow a guy with a camera while hitting the tricks required. There are also chalk challenges where there's a spray can, which represents the starting point, and you must either grind, manual or do other moves to the distance. You can make it to the Am mark, the pro mark or the sick mark which will give you a grade depending on which mark you make it to. Other ways to get them includes doing acid drops from higher points, wall riding a far distance and more. Plus you get classic goals which are like the classic modes from the previous games. Basically, these goals give you tasks to do. While some are as simple as get a high score or get a high combo, others are unique to each goal like light up a number of candles by setting your board on fire!
There are also challenges from Pros. Each pro will give you a set of tasks, for example Bob Burnquist will ask you to jump out of a plane and nail the tricks before you land in your back yard, which was pretty fun. Each challenge is unique to each Pro, though it's a little disappointing there's no option to choose your difficulty. There also different to standard goals, as other goals don't ask you to launch yourself out of a building and land in a dumpster. There are also demos. Demos are when you must impress a crowd. The crowd is split up into three groups-red, blue and green. To impress them you must do tricks with variety, while spreading your tricks evenly so they all are impressed. One cool demo is when you must first impress them enough, and then keep impressing everyone so they don't notice that Tony Hawk is sneaking right by them. It was different and fun because you didn't have to travel a distance to get to each crowd.
Aside from the career mode, there's also the online play via Xbox Live. There is split-screen, but that's only for 2 players whereas online supports 8 players. When you go into an online mode, you don't choose a type of game to play and jump straight in. When you join a game, you are thrown into a big area where you can skate freely and do whatever you want. That's until the host, or you if you're the host, decide to play a game. Once they have chosen a game, you then start and once the game has finished, you can roam again. The modes in online play include the standard score mode, graffiti where you tag objects by doing tricks on them and horse where the person with the least points gets a letter and the last man standing wins. The new mode is Walls. Walls is like a game where you lay spikes to trip up people. Basically, when you skate a big coloured line will follow you, and if an opponent skates into it then they will bail and you get a point. It's vice versa too, meaning it can be crazy if there are tons of walls blocking your way. It's addictive and fun. What's good is that the career mode tutors you through the modes, which is helpful. The lag is minimum, with only a few moments of slowdown and lag.
Other than that, there are not many other modes. A lot of the create-a-modes are not present here. The create-a-park mode is gone, the create-a-graffiti is gone and the create-a-goal mode from the Underground games still hasn't made a return, which I liked and am disappointed, especially considering you could have shown them off online. There is still the create-a-skater mode, which is fine but lacking compared to the previous games. It's much less deep than the previous game, as you can really only customize main parts of the body, with very little different clothes. Also, you can only customize characters already preset, as you can't fatten them or anything like that. Still, you can make some Frankenstein creations but you probably will come away disappointed.
The game is rated 12+, which is a younger age than the Underground and American Wasteland games, which were 16+. I thought they were a little high, but this was the perfect age rating. There's nothing really insulting here, aside from some minor language and violence. It's also accessible for people of this age, as even if they don't play these games they could still manage to do the Am goals, but the game is so addictive they may want to learn the game and become Pro, and eventually Sick.
Graphically, P8 looks great. The visuals, unlike American Wasteland on the 360, have been completely reworked for the next-gen console. For starters, all the animation that has been recycled from previous games is gone. All of it is new, as there's the introduction of mo-capped animation and rag doll physics. So when you bail you'll see the body rolling around the floor and bouncing around. It all looks realistic as the trick animation has been tweaked to perfection as the entire trick animations look so real. And the rag doll physics add some comic effect to the game. The character models look great, as the ugly looking pedestrians from previous games have been replaced by good looking character models. And the main characters look good too, as you'll recognise the Pro Skaters if you're into skating. The environments look great, as they are quite colourful but not too colourful so they look like you're in a kid's game. You'll go through a Suburban area, slums, a factory and a fun park. They are all cool to skate in too, as there's plenty of rails and half-pipes to skate in. Unfortunately, the frame rate can struggle at times, though it doesn't slow down too much, it can affect gameplay.
The sound is outstanding. The voice acting from the Pro Skaters is much improved from the previous games, as they seem to be putting effort into what they're doing. Other people sound good too, but you won't hear them much. The licensed soundtrack is great, with over 50 tracks which span many genres. You may need to turn up the music as it's a little hard to hear at the default volume. The effects are improved, as rather than recycling them from previous games, Neversoft created some new sounds. Mostly new is the different effects you hear on different surfaces, which does make the game sound realistic.
-(The Replay Value)-
There's lots of content here. The main career mode will last you twenty hours at least if you play through the game once. The online mode will keep the disc in your drive as it is fun and easy to suck away hours of your life. The achievements in the game consist of beating the Pro's challenges, getting into Project 8, getting a number of points in one combo and playing in online matches. There's 49 altogether, and these could keep you playing for a while. Plus, you'll want to play through this again because it's to fun. The game's difficulty level will keep you playing too, as trying to complete every goal on sick is hard.
-(The Ending Comments)-
Considering there aren't many skateboarding games on the 360 at the minute, this is a chance you should take if you like these games. But that's not to say it's not going to be very fun, as it is. It has refined gameplay, great visuals, top notch sound and lots of content. The online play is fun and will keep you playing, and the career will take you twenty hours at least. If you like skating games then this is a no brainer, and if you're looking for some fun then this isn't a bad choice. But with rivals like Skate and the Tony Hawk's sequel Proving Ground out now, you might want to look at each game first before you decide.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Activision and developed by Neversoft.
This was released on November 17th, and is also on PS2, PS3, PSP and Xbox.
You can by this from Amazon in the used and new section from £11.99
Thanks for reading. Stunt 101
Summary: The best Tony Hawk since the days of the Pro Skater games.
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