Tony Hawk Project 8

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


Straying away from the absurdities of recent Tony Hawk storylines, Project 8 takes a turn towards a serious approach. That doesn't mean it's played entirely straight as comedian Jason Lee takes a small and hilarious supporting role. Even with that slight shift, the franchise fails to add anything significant to radically alter the way you play, but it's a nice turn towards the better. Continual consumers of this franchise will get exactly what they're looking for.

tonyhawkproject81_360.jpg (131388 bytes)Receiving a massive graphical boost over the quick and sloppy port of American Wasteland barely more than a year ago, Project 8 encompasses an incredible area to skate in. The marketing blurb on the box claiming this is the largest Tony Hawk game to date is no lie. As per the norm, completing challenges and advancing the story unlock new areas.

A new physics engine is in place, though actual gameplay doesn't gain much of a boost. It's exclusively used for destructible objects and wilder wipeouts. Glitches during the latter can cause some irritation as your skater takes off like a rocket after barely catching the lip of an object. Other times, the physics make each mistake a painful and incredibly fun exercise with friends.

Controls will be instantly accessible to any follower of Activision's money making skateboard machine. Even for newcomers, the game is wonderful in thoroughly explaining tricks and goals. Rarely are you without some form of notice as to what needs to be done.

This year's addition is "nail the trick." Instead of adding yet another stack of moves to the game, the developers have attempted to create a system that performs the old ones in a highly innovative manner. By clicking both analog sticks, the game enters a slow motion sequence. By moving the sticks in various ways, you can kick the board for an array of board flips and tricks. This not only lets you admire the graphics in fine detail, but also lets the player appreciate the finer point of skateboarding tricks.

After a few attempts though, it's not hard to realize that these same tricks could be performed just as easily with a button combos (as they have for close to nine years now). These same point grabbing skills offer nothing truly new or fresh. It's finely executed with the slow motion effect, though it's far too easy to become disoriented. In the end, it feels tacked on with potential for something later if it comes together in the inevitable sequel.

Online play works as it did in American Wasteland. Once connected to a game, you can free skate at will until the host chooses to start a game in one of plentiful modes. Friends can sit and chat while free skating without ever actual playing the game, or creating their own modes like the highly recommended "my hospital bill is more than yours" challenge. It's a wonderful set up that runs flawlessly.

In the same vein as Madden NFL, Tony Hawk Project 8 is a game you can be sure you'll enjoy if you still have interest in the franchise on a yearly basis. When the initial gloss wears off, you can only feel like you've experienced this effort in some past life, or a few months back when the previous one was released. It's likely going to be the latter.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Friday, December 08, 2006 11:29 PM