The idea this time round is that you start off on the streets with nothing but your board to keep you company. Start skating around, pulling off tricks and sooner or later you'll be spotted; then you start to make your way up the boarding world. That's easier said than done, of course, with a bigger selection of tricks to learn and pull off. The upshot though is that the game presents a high quality, long-term challenge as you slowly make your way to the top.
Something that doesn't work quite as well is the ability to pick up your board and explore on foot. It's theoretically supposed to make things more flexible, but ultimately accounts for the game's few slower moments. However, ultimately Tony Hawk's Underground works spectacularly well. Its gameplay is sublime, the multi-player modes are dangerously addictive and it scores immensely in the value for money stakes too. Easily one of the most playable games on any console out there, it holds appeal for gamers at all levels of experience. --Simon Brew