Tony Hawk's Project 8
With the launch of Microsoft’s next-gen console, the first console version of a Tony Hawk game was a fact… Unfortunately this wasn’t such an innovating (let alone good) game. After all, Tony Hawk: American Wasteland was developed mainly for older consoles like the PS2 and Xbox. This time the game has been rebuilt from the ground up for next-gen consoles and yes, you can notice it… notice it very well even!
Adjustments have been made on several levels, going from graphical improvements to better game modes (both online and offline) like the career mode. Never have I been able to enjoy such a huge and challenging career as skateboarder. The whole story is about Tony Hawk who starts a project (Project 8) and goes looking for the eight best skaters in town. Of course you’ll have to get with those eight and since you start as number 200 in the rankings, you’ll need to work your way up.
To get higher in the damned list you’ll need to achieve goals, just like we’re used from the Tony Hawk series, like grinding, do beautiful fingerflips and a bunch of ground moves, as well as land on your board. However, these goals do more than just get you a higher ranking, they sometimes open up entire new areas. The whole range of moves is back and not only extended but also improved. The animations are completely developed based on motion-capturing the movements of real pro-skaters. In other words: expect very fluid and realistically-looking tricks.
The tricks are of course integrated in the goals mentioned above and there are also a couple new ones present like the “Nail trick challenges” where you need to score a certain amount of points in the Nail the Trick mode. This mode is a way to score massively by making your own combination of kick and shove moves. Another new mode are the Chalk Challenges. Here you get four lines where the first is to start the challenge, the second to get the amateur status, thirdly you can go pro, and last up is to get the “sick medal”. These Chalk Challenges consists of different forms going from grinding to big-airs.
Next to these innovations, there are also some similarities with American Wasteland. You’re still in a huge city but this time without the loading screens. Indeed, the only loading screens you’ll run into are those to load your profile and when you start the career.
There are few words to be spilled on the graphics… they’re beautiful. The level of detail of for instance the clothing and their textures, the finishing of the shoes and boards, … are all magnificent. You really start to wonder whether they’re real or not. Also the sound is pretty great again with different effects and environment sounds when the surface changes and music that really brings you into the game.
With Project 8, Activision really made a top game. While I used to get irritated by the monotone nature of the games after THPS2, all those problems are now gone. The variation in gameplay, sound and graphics is huge enough to keep you interested for a long time. If you’re a fan, just go out and buy it. If you aren’t a fan or haven’t tried a Tony Hawk game before then this is the perfect time to give it a chance