1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tony Hawks Underground,
This review is from: Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2) (Video Game)
After a few new changes to the series last year NeverSoft have totally revamped the Tony Hawks series.
The Story -
No, you haven't misread it, this time there is a story behind the skating. Admittedly its not the most complex or original story but it's still a story. You play the game as yourself either by creating yourself the normal way or by the face mapping function ( more on that later). You're a small time skater from New jersey and, along with your mate Eric, you must make it big. When Rodney Mullen visits town he spots you two skating and tells you to get a sponser. After visiting various comps you and Eric decide you must do somthing that no skater has done before to get noticed. You end up doing a 30ft transfer off a building over a helicopter. Eric claims it was him that did the jump when the tape is shown and he gets the deal, and Pro status. You then get the idea top start your own Pro team. But first you must get other pro skaters backing, and to do that you must to tasks for them.
The Gameplay -
The two newest features are the ability to walk and drive. the walking in theory should be great, but it's just too awkward to judge jumps, whichs makes the ( rather crap ) stealth missions very hard and frustrating. It does make getting to high places easier and saves hard grinding. The drving isn't much better, the handling infact is a lot worse, but at least it's fun. The skating as always is perfect, Manual, grinds, and transfers all still here. You also have the wall kick ( ollie into a wall and hit X to kick off it ). The problem with this series is thinking of ways to vary the missions, Tony Hawks vetrans can complete this on hard in one day because all of the missions - get x score, hit z things - comes very easily to us because we mastered them back in THPS 3 and 4. The most innovative feature of THUG is the inclusion of the face mapping. If you have a digital camera or webcam you take a pic of your head, then you email it to Neversoft. Then they email back to you what you face would look like in the Tony Hawks world which you can download via your PS2 ( broadband required obviously ) and put onto your character. to do this you need to have your PS2 online, a pc, and a digital camera though, which not many people do. Along with this you can also make your own tricks and name them, build your own skate park, and design your own deck.
The Graphics -
This doesn't look to different to the previous Hwk games. Most of the bulidings are detailed as are the pedestrians and backdrops. Stand on top of a building in Moscow and look around you'll see no pop-up or blueness in the distance. It's not particulary great looking but for a skating game it's all you need.
The Lifespan -
I have the feeling this game has been dumbed down, even on Sick difficulty. Tony Hawks 4 had me playing for weeks trying to nail that last gap in the Zoo but i completed in just over a day on sick. Play it on very easy a brain dead monkey could do it, Easy is too easy even for the people who have never played a Tony Hawks game. Normal has just the right balance for newbies, starts off easy but gradually gets harder, but not so hard you wont complete it in 3 - 4 days. Sick is quite a big challenge for everyone except the Tony Hawks vetrans who will fly through it. It has online mode, and good multiplayer to stretch out the life though.
This isn't a bad game, far from it, but it isn't anything that we haven't already seen in previous hawk titles. Gameplay, bar the driving and on foot sections, has been tweaked to perfection and it's a joy to play. But Neersoft have gone for a wider audience and made this game too easy when they should be doing the opposite. Maybe not worth a buy, rent it out for 2days and you'll probally complete it.