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An Open Letter To Tony Hawk HD

by on September 10, 2013
 

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This may be inaccurate, stupid and bitchy. I don’t apologize.

I-like many kids-owned a Playstation back in the day. Just a straight up PS1. And, like a lot of people owned this console, I spent hours and hours and HOURS playing a game that is considered to be one of the best games ever. Tony Hawks Pro Skater. It’s definitely in my personal favorites list.

Armed with a badass soundtrack and the first real skating game, it was a killer IP that spawned (as most killer IPs do) terrible sequels, reboots and whatnot. But, as bad as the others got, the first would often sneak back into my memory banks for years after as some of the best times I ever had while playing a game. About 2 years ago, I picked up the 1st Skate because I’d heard pretty decent things about it. I won’t even go into what that was like, but let’s just say I returned it in 3 days. Not to mention that all it did was make me yearn for the days of Tony Hawk 1.

And then…they announced that Tony Hawk would become an HD remake for the XBLA. This wasn’t surprising, given that XBLA has been known to be an almost cornicopia of old games we loved but can’t play anymore if we don’t have the consoles. Tons of old Genesis stuff, some Dreamcast titles and just a hodgepodge of goodies have shown up on the XBLA and that’s why while it wasn’t surprising that something this famous was going to end up there, it did make me ecstatic. I wanted it more than any retail game. I still had my PS1, but the disc was lost in multiple moves and I hadn’t ever picked up another for whatever reason so this was my chance to relive it on the console I was currently on.

And then I tried the demo.

Right off the bat, there were issues. First off, the gameplay-which is the most important aspect of any game but ESPECIALLY that game and games like it-was outright atrocious. However, I told myself, “Ok, you haven’t played this in YEARS, AND it’s a demo. It’s probably better in the full version” because that’s pretty standard isn’t it? Let’s be honest, most demos are actually a terrible way to gage if we’ll truly enjoy a game or not. So that mixed with the fact that the demo was only about 2 minutes long, I just didn’t feel it was right to judge it so harshly yet, so I told myself “It’ll be worth it, just buy it.”

Now there are some things in this life that I regret doing. Some examples include going to see Suckerpunch, being excited to go see Suckerpunch and admitting that I’ve seen Suckerpunch. We all have things we wish we could take back. Purchasing Tony Hawk HD is one of the worst decisions I’ve EVER made. Turns out, the game WASN’T bad because it was a demo or because I hadn’t played it in years. Turns out it’s bad because it’s a steaming pile of shit. And that’s putting it mildly. Not only is the game unplayable due to the controller-which I’ll get to in a minute-but you have no control over the soundtrack and you have 3 good levels out of the 8 they’ve shoved into this thing. Let’s discuss this controller issue, shall we?

This is a PS1 controller:

 

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Simple, elegant in it’s near perfect design. You have 4 directions as the world does function and 4 buttons and that was it. Now, playing a skateboarding game with 4 directions makes sense right? We only truly walk in 4 directions. Who the fuck walks Southeast? Nobody, that’s who. So, 4 directions is how the world works as far as I’m concerned. Now, here’s the 360 controller, for comparison:

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This is flawed because nobody skates southwest. You skate by forward, backward or to the left/right. Now we still only have 4 buttons to press, but they’re useless when you screw up the fundamental physics of HOW THE WORLD WORKS. The way this controller is designed, there isn’t just up, down left and right. Now there’s up, down, left, right, up right, left right, down right and so on. So when you go to do, say, an Ollie (which should a fairly easy trick to pull off) you’d press up and a. But, because this controller has decided that we should use every direction possible in the galaxy, your former up+a has not turned into an up+a sideways, backwards through a wall a+b at the same time while baking a pie. It makes the game unplayable.

Think of this port as a girl you went to high school with who was absolutely stunning and perfect in every way. Then you see her at the high school reunion 10 years down the road and she’s been in an enormous 15 car pile up, covered in acid oh and is also a Lion. And I’m not the only one to grief this game, as most reviewers gave it a low score, some even saying 4.5/10. I paid 15 dollars for something I basically can’t play, and not because I’m not good at it (because I was phenomenal at the original) but because the game is flat out broken.

My final rating for Tony Hawk HD is: SCREW YOU, THAT’S YOUR FINAL RATING.

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