Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

Once again, Neversoft changes the game- but did they go to far in a few places, or is it just right?

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Year: 2002

Played on: PS2

Also on: Gamecube, Xbox, PS1, GBA, PC, Zodiac

Developer: Neversoft

Publisher: Activision

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Shimmy to the break of dawn, yeah!

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Date posted: Febururay 4, 2018

thps4

PREMISE

It’s Superbowl Sunday! You know what that means for this blog! Yep! A review of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4? What? Do you actually expect me to play a sports game? AS IF!

So they did it AGAIN! Neversoft once again changed things up a bit, and in 200 gave the world the next installment in the historic THPS franchise, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4- the last THPS game to carry the classic Pro Skater moniker.

“What about THPS 5!? It uses the-”

SHUT UP! We’ll cross that bridge, then burn it when we get to it. It’s time to discuss why this TH game is the second (or third?) best game in the series, so listen up, butter cup!

PROS

The “Classic” system from THPS 1 though 3 is dead. Long live the “Classic” system! Levels are now open-ended, and quite huge, and goals can be done anytime you want by talking with various NPC’s around the sprawling levels. This is where THPS4 really shines- the variety of things to do is quite staggering! You have you basic goals from the “classic” games, like collecting skate letters, or getting a high score, but now there is a bunch of other things to do, including ridiculous mini-games, like tennis (with your skateboard)! There are some crazy goals here- from helping a security guard take down an evil cult on Alcatraz, to saving a man about to be eaten by seals. I did not make this s@#t up- and those are only a taste of the crazy goals has to offer!

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Yes, this is a picture of Tony Hawk using a skateboard as a tennis racket. Makes sense to me….

This is also where Neversoft’s sense of humor shines though as well- this game does not take itself seriously, and I love it! It always seemed that Neversoft and everyone involved with the development of these games always had a good time doing so- you can tell from the humor, but some of the videos in various games. Who knew that in order to make a fun game, you needed to have some fun yourself?

Once again, a whole slew of features are introduced. This is the THPS that introduced spine transfers, skitching, grind and lip extensions, and wallplants. This, of course, made combo scores skyrocket, allowing the player to go into the millions if they knew what they are doing. How the hell this series kept adding mechanics without being overwhelming is anyone’s guess.

Like I said earlier, the levels are huge, and very well designed. Hey, I think I know why I didn’t like THPS 3 now- the levels in that game, though well-designed, were tiny as my (CENSORED). Here, the levels almost feel almost open-world in comparison. I mean damn, their huge! And no, not once did they feel too big- they were just the right size.

Variety in this levels were also good- there just so many locations that are just great to skate around. You start at a college in California, which boasts the campus it-self, but also surrounding area, like a park, a parking garage, and even part of the city- and every level is just as big and varied. San Fransisco. London. A f@#king Zoo. If a miracle occurs, and a new THPS is made, then I think they should base the levels off of this game, and as well see tomorrow, THUG- they are just some of the best the series has to offer, in my not expert opinion.

Tony-Hawks-Pro-Skater-4
London is… you know what? I don’t think THPS 4 has a single bad level. Sue me!

The act of unlocking content has also been improved- no longer will you have to play the game twenty times to unlock everything, as most of the content can be purchased with in-game currency (and thankfully, on microtransactions!). Both “secret” levels can be purchased with an insane amount of money, as well as secret skaters, which include Jango Fett from the Star Wars prequels, and Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie. If that doesn’t make you want you to run out and buy a copy (which are dirt cheap, like every game in this franchise, something that I will always be thankful for) then I have no idea what will. This also means that you don’t have to switch characters- you can play all 190 goals (except pro challenges, which are character specific) with any character you want. You play the game your way!)

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You can play as Eddie the Head. That should put an end to any and all arguments about this game being bad.

Speaking of Pro Challenges, let’s talk about Pro Challenges! These are difficult goals that make up the end game, and holy f@#k, some of them are hard! Each skater (except the secret ones, I think) including the create-a-skater, has a unique challenge for each, and they push your THPS skills to the limit. From getting a 1,000,000 (or 500,00?) point combo, to pulling off the 900 twenty feet in the air, these are some of the hardest challenges the series has to offer, bar none!

Yes, create-a-skater and create-a-park are back, and robust as ever. These two features are great! It would be a shame if they were to remove them down the line….

Finally, of course, is the soundtrack. You know, I don’t think there is one THPS game with a bad soundtrack- even Project 8, Proving Grounds, and yes, even f@#king THPS 5 have good soundtracks. THPS 4 is no exception. How Neversoft got such a good taste in music is everyone’s guess. Added bonus- some of the skaters actually worked on the soundtrack! Chad Muska, Kareem Campbell, and Steve Callbero all have thier songs featured! That’s pretty cool- these guys proved they could do more then skateboard!

Here is one track everyone remembers-

CONS

As you could imagine, some people weren’t happy with Neversoft getting rid of the traditional 2 minute time limit. I was not one of them- I thought the new system was a happy medium, as it allowed Neversoft to create big, more open-ended levels- a 2 minute time limit would allow the player to never discover these levels fully. That’s how I feel, anyway.

Some of the goals are either too easy or too hard, I guess. There are literally goals teaching you mechanics you should already know, acting as tutorials- a problem that would become apparent in THAW (but we’ll get to that in a few days when I review it). On the difficult side, some of the Pro challenges are just ridiculous. I mean f@#k, some of them still give me nightmares. There’s nothing wrong with a game being hard- it’s just- damn. F@#K! AHHHHHHHH!

Finally, some may not like the game’s brand of humor. Personally, I like it- but then again, I remember liking Viva La Bam, so yeah…The games before had some, but now Neversoft’s humor is out in full force, leading way to some “Jackass” MTV-esque tomfoolery later on. The seeds to that kind of that brand of crass humor are planted here, and would reach fever pitch in THUG 2. You’ll see what I mean later…

tony-hawks-pro-skater-4-image653125
If you didn’t like Viva la Bam or Jackass on MTV, then the next few games might make you cringe a bit…

-PORTLANDIA-

Unlike THPS 3, which was released on everything under the sun, THPS 4 marked a point where the games started to find it audiences on the “Big 3”- the Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube- so the best ports were obviously on them… OR WERE THEY?

Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox- Finally, the gap was pretty much closed. Each of these versions are pretty much identical- you’d have to go in with a fine tooth comb to find the differences. PS2, once again, might have tiny performance issues (like dropped frames, here and there) but it doesn’t. Like I just said- there’s hardly a difference between each.

PC/MAC- Same as above, I think? I hear good things. Hardest to find versions, ironically.

PS1- For whatever reason, Activision thought it would be wise to release the game on the PS1, which, like THPS 3 on the N64, was another system at death’s door. This one is an anomaly- having the new career from the “next-gen” versions, but the levels were, once again, eerily empty. It also used the THPS 2 once again. I’d recommend this one to only those who are curious- most likely the strangest port of a game…. I mean a PS1 game in 2003? Who thought this was a good idea?

GBA/Zodiac- Once again, Vicarious Visions somehow ported the game to the GBA and made it playable, to a degree! They were truly wizards! Oh, and the game was also on the Zodiac. Remember the Zodiac? I think I’ll make a review/article on that thing. It’s actually kind of interesting…. Oh wait, that was Gizmondo that was interesting! Whatever. I might do both then…

Obvious breakdown is obvious-

Clear Winner(s)– PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, Mac

Alright– GBA Zodiac

WTF/Bad– PS1

FINAL VERDICT

Like the Philadelphia Eagles, THPS 4 is defiantly a winner! Like all the games before it, THPS 4 is yet another recommendation to that long laundry list of good skateboarding games featuring some guy named Tony Hawk! You can smell the clean fresh scent that the game play brings to your console, and Tide is a brand you can trust!

That’s right- this review was a Tide commercial. Boom.

Now go eat some Tide pods, you filthy animal!

6score

Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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