Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review #387: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

 Who'd knew The Force was fond of skating?
 There's no denying that Tony Hawk 3 was the bees knees at the time of its release. It was the culmination of all that was Tony Hawk, and a brave new step into the next generation. And while the game has stood the test of time... Tony Hawk 4 and the other sequels happened.

 You can play either Career, Single Session(2 minutes to score points), Free Skate(No time limit, fool around any level), create your own skate park and a few two player modes. Career has no story, no fat. It's just you, 8 levels, 2 minutes and their goal lists. If you ask me, it's rather... archaic. Mind you, I adore arcade-like games, but you need to finish a certain amount of goals in order to progress to the next level, and considering that about 70% of the goals require you finding something or figuring out how to do it(Because 'Start the Earthquake' totally means grinding 4 rails), and running on 2-minute limits is rather tedious. This was tweaked with Tony Hawk 4's mission based approach, which I think works much better. Regardless, the game's levels are distinct, fun and well crafted, and the goals on each are very varied.
 While some may argue that subsequent games overdid it with mechanics and what not, and would claim that Pro Skater 3's mechanics are all that's needed... I digress. Climbing stairs is a pain in the butt, and if you messed up, you are better off losing time and finding another way up instead of trying to fight gravity and grind a rail upwards. This was fixed with the ability to get off your board. Sticker-Slapping/Wallplanting was another fun mechanic that would be added later that would let you continue combos even when riding straight into a wall. What I mean to say is that, yes, the mechanics present in Tony Hawk 3 work, and work well... but future games added so much more to the game, and mostly fun or useful tools, it's hard to come back to this one.

 If you don't care about unlockables, you can be done with the game in little more than half an hour. In order to unlock every secret skater you'll either have to complete the game 100% with every skater or... use cheat codes. The extras are worth it, what other game lets you skate as Darth Maul or Wolverine!?
 Is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 still a good game? Undoubtedly. Has it aged poorly? Not at all... but as far as I'm concerned, the subsequent games are all much, much more fun to play, and offer a whole lot more than simply 'bells and whistles', they improved and evolved the formula. But, hey, if you still prefer the older format, this one still plays like a dream.
 6.0 out of 10

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