Thursday 22 October 2015

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

There are just a couple of game series that will bring me back to my childhood, and one of them is the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. From the very first one up until Underground 2, it was my yearly obsession with friends to take turns completing all the sick challenges. I was excited to hear the series was going back to its roots. The soundtracks of my early teenage years though were shattered and my hopes crushed when I started playing the newest iteration of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Developed by Robomodo and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 simply shits on the franchise and its fans. It took the Pro Skater name, something which is highly respected, and cashes in while delivering a buggy and broken mess. Even if every single bug (I’m no good at counting but it feels like 70 bajillion) was fixed, the actual execution is still awful. One of the best aspects of the Pro Skater series was always how quick everything felt. You always had two minutes to complete as many tasks as possible. Should you screw up and want to try again, you could simply pause and press a button which would instantly restart the level. In Pro Skater 5, it’s a slog and even when you get to restart, there is a loading screen, something you never had to deal with before. 

The user experience is something I wouldn’t normally bring up as it’s quite boring to talk about, but it was this aspect that always made the Pro Skater games so easy to keep going to complete everything. In when you complete enough challenges and unlock the next level, there is no prompt. If you have notifications on, an achievement or trophy will pop letting you know you’ve unlocked the next stage. This is the only way you know you’ve unlocked a new level, nothing in-game lets you know this.

If that wasn’t bad enough, when you unlock a new level, you must exit to the main menu in order to access it. This is mind-boggling given how the series always worked with getting you through the game. In other games it’s an annoyance, in Tony Hawk Pro Skater it’s inexcusable.

But even beyond those things, the game controls terribly. The grind button is now also used when in the air to stomp to the ground. This completely disrupts the flow of gameplay when trying to pull off those big combos. Wall ride is now automatic when jumping near a wall taking control away from you and once again disrupting the flow of gameplay.

Between falling through the ground far too often, the uncomfortable controls, the structure of the entire game and the overall user experience, I never want to see this game again. It’s like being in love and being told over text that it’s not working out only to see them post pictures with someone else being a little too close moments later. It’s a messy breakup that I don’t want to go back to because I feel betrayed. Even if they brought me all the skateboard shaped flowers and chocolates to apologise, it’ll never be enough.

You should bail on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 with 1/5.


Jason Redmond

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