Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Review of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
The much-anticipated release of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 is here. Does it live up to the hype? The playability has carried over from THPS2 on the PSone, and is largely unchanged with the addition of the “revert” mode that allows you to link vert tricks together. The same general concept carries over: achieve various goals, perform seemingly impossible stunts and unlock the next level.
The graphics on this version as you would expect for the PS2 are top-notch. The depiction of the skaters and other characters are smooth and realistic. There are no noticeable polygons edges or seems in the rendering. The animation/movement is smooth and lifelike, and filled with some nice surprises. In the second phase, Canada, there are skaters hanging around that you need to impress with your skills as a skateboarder. Normally, background characters are either bitmapped into the scenery, or are more of virtual characters that you can fly right through without contact. Not anymore. The characters move around and they all react realistically (except they never jump out of the way). When you miss that jump and fly across and hit that skater he bounces away with a big grunt and feedback on the controller. This level includes a goal to unstick a guy whose tongue is stuck to the flagpole. You hit him and he screams in pain when you knock him free. Then he runs around in pain after that and you can hit him again if he’s in the way. Also, his friends now have it in for you and get too close and they knock you off the board.
Background graphics are all fantastic. I found only a couple of areas where there was some pop-up, usually in tight areas and quickly dissipates. The blood splattering has been improved. In the previous version, the skater splattered some blood when he landed wrong. Now you see a nice large streak of blood on the surface that you just face-planted on. The blood does disappear though, when you move away then come back.
I still found many improvements on the playability. When your skater balances on the edge, there is a balance meter that allows for longer hold times and rack up the points. The key is to hit the X before he loses balance. The new “revert” mode allows you to string together more tricks, but take the chance of losing all of those points with a bad landing. Overall, with the tighter graphics, the playability improves. Like in past versions, keep doing the same trick and watch the point value decrease.
There is a really nice tutorial for beginners to learn the finer points of THPS and how to do the various tricks. It allows you to pretty much free skate until you perform the trick at hand. The tutorial allows you to choose any one of them, but they all build on each other. They try to show you how to maximize points by performing tricks when the power meter goes high. The hard part is keeping him landing all the tricks to keep the power meter running, then actually landing the big-point special. They also show some of the new flatland capabilities. You can now perform manuals and handstands on the flat surface.
After the Canada park, the next level is a competition in Rio. Your goals are to finish in the top three. This is a judged event, not a points event, so missed landings count against you. The competitions are tough and take some work to start improving the judges’ scores. It’s more important here not to repeat the same tricks, because that will count against you from the judges.
Besides the career mode, where you move from level to level after reaching the goals; and the tutorial; there are some other options. Single Session – which is a simple two-minute session at any level you have opened in career mode, otherwise, just the first level. Free Skate – Unlimited time to skate in the opened areas. This is handy to get the lay of the land and practice tricks. Two minutes is a short time to really learn the levels. Park Editor – Create your own skate park. And Create a Skater – make your own custom skater—Male or Female.
Network Play – This is the first US title to take advantage of Sony’s impending release of the network adapter. You can use this now if you have a USB Ethernet or USB Modem to connect to the Internet. It is fully compatible with any type of connection you have. Of course, broadband access (cable, - DSL) is preferred. Unfortunately, we don’t have a USB Ethernet in our lab at the moment (errrr), so I couldn’t try this out. What it has is the ability to start or join a 4-player mode. The person who logs in as the server controls the play and what game is to be played. A USB keyboard is handy if you want to really use the chat mode properly; otherwise the controller works in a pinch (a very slow, painful pinch).
You can also still play all of these games in two-player split screen mode with a real-live friend.
As for sound effects, at this level, sound is expected to be great and is. There again is a rotating sound track between each 2-minute try. The bands are good, and there are some nice rockin’ tunes. The effects are excellent and include heckling voices where appropriate.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
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