Thursday, October 18, 2012

PS2 Review: Tony Hawk's Underground

Auuugghh maaan... It's been a long time. Mostly because I'm busy with my life and I'm gaming so I have new material to write 'bout. Updates are Farticus is still being worked on, I'm starting yet another game project and a long awaited Pokemon Countdown is sadly still in the works. But I'd like to thank you all for reading my opinions. It really makes me feel good that other people enjoy reading my reviews and other forms of media. So thanks to the fans that keep coming to cheer me on in development of my stuff. Nuff of that though. Starting on something I should have played long ago...

Tony Hawk's Underground for the PS2 is a can't miss and is a minor reason for why you should buy the system alone. On that note, you probably think this is going to be a fanboy review. Trust me; I hated the game at points and couldn't get enough of it at others. But more on topic, Tony Hawk's Underground was an installment of the Tony Hawk skating game series that made Mr. Hawk incredibly rich and inspired many to go sever many a limb on skateboards. The game itself is actually not just a promo disc, the game is very entertaining and has a open-world feel to it. Unlike the previous games of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, this game is centered around you: a custom skater going from ghetto in Jersey, to a pro in Vancouver. I picked up this gem at the old Gamestop the other day for only 3 bucks. More than worth it my friend, I felt as if I was going to zero to hero as I progressed. But now it's breakdown time.

Gameplay (8.9): THUG keeps the gameplay of THPS but provides a freer feel and has an actual story this time. The levels are decently sized, but the negative is anytime you're on a huge combo and you accidently go out of bounds... Bye bye big score. I felt as if the levels were not large enough, but maybe I'm just being a little too critical. Where there's space in any of the 9+ levels, expect for there to be more just waiting to be uncovered in a gigantic combo. It also seems the locations were designed to be skated on... I mean, who has a ramp going up the side of skyscraper? I'll shut up for now on that though. The whole way you progress through the game is doing somewhat tedious tasks in certain areas. The only way the set in stone tasks feel fresh is making you do them in different locations. For example on the tasks, there's only about a few key tasks which code is ran over and over; collecting letters, collecting objects, big combos, big scores, preforming tricks asked and beating the clock. Even in the Create-a-park mode (which needs work but is cool) they let you create tasks and give you the basic formula for each of these. I could go on and on but I'm going to stop because this is pretty long. You get the idea though that this game has tones of gameplay and tones of ways to play.

Graphics (7): They don't really look too good. They look a teeny bit blocky and deformed, even sometimes blurry, but they're below standard for '03.

Music (9.5): EERRRR MAAAH GEEERRRD. Soooo goood muusssiccc... There's quite a small soundtrack list though so it does get repetitive to hear Fu Manchu's California Crossing 3 times in 1 hour, but that doesn't keep it from being an amazing song to get the skating blood flowing. The menu sounds for buttons and collisions are used over and over in different areas, but no one really doesn't care if they're rocking out to the Dropkick Murphy's Time to Go.

Controls (9): The dualshock 2 controller exhibits the different categories of tricks perfectly. You will know by the end of your first day playing the game that Flip=Square. Though one finger will have to find its way onto more than one button at a time at times.

Fun (9.2): Indeed, but the reoccuring goals get to me, like the devs were just lazy in the development. But having the ability to create your own tricks, parks, boards, and skaters makes this game extremely fun for you artists out there.

Result: Overall... 8.7 (B+)
Your character's phony lips moving are painful to watch, as so are a few of the cutscenes. (The one about the tape, with the elbow to the face.) But that doesn't make this game unplayable what so ever. Graphics need some dusting off and the soundtrack needs a few MOAR hits, but this game is probably the greatest skate sim for an old console you'll find out there. And for only 3 bones, the cost should be the magnitude of a stocking stuffer on christmas, but something you'll find to have tones of fun and frustrations with.