Remember when games didn't take 'emselves too seriously?
The easiest way to explain what this game is about, is to call it a platform game on wheels with a trick mechanic. The game made skating seem easy, X performed an Ollie and gave you more air when you let go of it off platforms, the square button plus different directions performed flips, while circle and directions performed grabs, then you had the triangle button to perform grinds and lip tricks. New to the series, is "vert transfer", by tapping the R2 button you can now reallign yourself while on the air in order to fall on a more favorable angle, skitching cars and now you can perform different tricks while on a Manual.
The game offers a good amount of different skaters, while all of them have the same basic tricks at their disposal, they do have different SPECIAL tricks, and there's four secret characters that are highly amusing(A Zombie skater, Jango Fett from Star Wars! to name a few). They also have different stats, but as you clear goals in the game and earn stat points, by the end all of them will have the same stats. The game also has a create-a-character mode, while it was awesome back in its day(Believe me, I played it back when it just released!), nowadays it's very limited and lacking, but it's something.
The game hasn't aged very well when it comes to visuals. It doesn't look particularly bad, but other games that would come later in the series would blow it out of the water. The overall presentation is also a bit dry, it went for realism a bit too much, which means colors lack a bit of punch. Regardless, stage design was pretty swell, with a lot of interesting landmarks on which to skate. Music is, easily, the second best thing the game has going for it(The first being the gameplay!). There's a ton of licensed hip hop, punk and a few rock tracks, they fit the game perfectly, and are great songs on their on right.
It's a bit unfair to review games when taking into account future entries, it really is, but nowadays, having knowledge about other games in the series does change my outlook on Pro Skater 4. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 might be a great game in its own right, back in it's day it was amazing, but knowing how the series evolved, it'd be kinda misguided to ignore it, basically, if I had to get a single Tony Hawk game, I'd get Underground 2.
8.0 out of 10.