If you had any worries about how Robomodo would handle the Tony
Hawk’s Pro Skater HD project, you can put them to rest now. I had a
chance to check out and even play the upcoming downloadable game, and it felt
like a homecoming after over a decade. What’s old is new again, and there’s some
new stuff in there, too.
I got a chance to play the first level from the original Tony Hawk’s Pro
Skater, which is the Warehouse level in Woodland Hills. The first thing that
struck me is the significant upgrade to detail. New lighting, texture detail for
surfaces, particle effects, and more made the Warehouse look great. The detail
also helped to give me the false impression that the Robomodo had expanded the
level and made it bigger. Robomodo’s Josh Tsui assured me that this wasn’t the
case. In fact, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD used the same level geometry and assets
given by the series’ creators at Neversoft, so what you’ll see is essentially
what we saw back in 1999 and 2000.
The gameplay felt a little awkward at first, but a lot of that came from more
character animations. As I played and adjusted, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD felt
almost exactly like I hoped it would, even with the Xbox 360 controller’s iffy
D-pad. It wasn’t long before I was linking grinds into manuals before busting a
huge air trick off of a vert ramp. I didn’t spend too much time on completing
stage objectives, but that will be the progression driver in this game. Timed
runs are the rule of the day once again, so players will have to have an idea of
which lines that are best to run in order to achieve each stage’s objectives in
an efficient manner.
The Warehouse wasn’t all that was on display for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD at
E3. Two levels from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 - Hangar and School II -
were also playable. As seen with the Warehouse, the level of detail was striking
as compared to what we played so many years ago. The frame rate stayed locked at
30 frames per second for all three levels, which was fine. What may be a bit of
an adjustment will be when the downloadable content for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
arrives, as the original game was a 60 frames per second game... so there’s
going to be at least some difference.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is set for the Summer of Arcade lineup on the Xbox
360, but firm release dates for both Xbox LIVE Arcade and for the PlayStation
Store still remain undetermined. Pricing is set for “around $15” when it does
become available, and multiple game modes are expected along with active online
leaderboards and Achievement/Trophy support.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is as close to a strict re-release
of the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games as we’re likely going to see.
Robomodo appears to have been faithful to the source material, while at the same
time giving it a fresh makeover with graphics that we could only imagine on the
original PlayStation and Dreamcast. All I’m waiting for now is to play the final
version. My virtual skateboard is ready, and you can expect a full review after