Tony Hawk is like heroin

The Tony Hawk’s Project 8 demo went live on the Xbox360 Marketplace the other day, and I decided to play. Although I haven’t played any of the recent Tony Hawks – the last one I played was THPS3 – I used to be really into the Tony Hawk games. Especially Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, on PC.
Actually, to say I was "into it" is somewhat of an understatement. I was freaking addicted. And I rocked too. I wasn’t really good at completing its objectives, but I could rack up scores like I was possessed. Grinding and wall riding (both mapped to the V-key on the PC-version) was my forte. It changed the way I looked at the world – everything seemed grindable now. I started linking objects and combo’s in my mind, evaluating the world as a skatable level and criticizing it for poor level design at places. Yes, I was obsessed.
Luckily for me, along came Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. Luckily, because it helped me overcome my addiction. Though adding some cool elements to the THPS2 formula (one of them being the ‘revert’, if I recall correctly), THPS3 just didn’t do it for me. It also was very poorly available around these parts, so I didn’t even get to buying it myself.
Years passed, Tony games came and went. I explicitly kept away from the games, fearing that one of them might enflame the Tony fire inside me once more. But that was before Xbox360. Before the Marketplace, Major Nelson (enlightening us with when what is available) and free playable demo’s. So yesterday I played Tony Hawk’s Project 8…
And it didn’t suck! It was really enjoyable, in fact. I was grinding, grabbing, flipping, reverting, manualling around in no time. The new ‘create a trick’ feature is pretty cool as well, although the slow motion of it destroys your flow. So here I am, writing on my (almost) forsaken blog about a Tony Hawk game! Will I buy it? Probably not. Project 8 still has some issues from really making it great. Be mindful of the day Neversoft will perfect the Tony gameplay once again, because the game still has enormous potential. My biggest gripe with Project 8 is really more of a hardware issue: the Xbox360 controller is really bad at this kind of game. The A (for jumping) and X (for grinding) buttons needs be pressed and held down a lot, and this really tires your thumb. On THPS2 on PC, you could jump with the spacebar (using your thumb) and leave you with a lot of other fingers (ok, three was all you needed), to press the other keys (C, V and B).

And then there’s also a new Tony game coming out for a little console named Wii… IGN’s Bozon says it’s not as good as Project 8 though, and he’s probably right, Downhill Jam being more of a race game than the free-skate-fests the other Tony games are. But a motion controlled Tony game… that just might be too tempting to pass up.


Note how I didn’t say anything about why I haven’t posted on this blog in aeons. Well I just didn’t feel like it. And just now I did!

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