Tony Hawk 3 is in stores, and Billy's not the only one who's got it. Rick gives his take on the sequel to one of the best ever ...
I’ve just completed a couple of quality hours with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, and I must say that the Neversoft guys have done it again, and in style. All of the Tony Hawk games have been great, but this has simply perfected what is already a high-water mark in extreme sport video games.
The graphic detail is outstanding, supposedly better than the PS2 version according to the developers. The skaters are incredibly realistic and detailed, and while the videos are supposedly more compressed on the GameCube version (as opposed to the PS2 build), you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. The audio quality is great, with all of the clarity you’d expect from a CD-based medium. It seems that no unnecessary corner was cut making this title for launch.
But you’re going to hear all of these things elsewhere. So let me tell you some of the things you won’t hear until we get our full-blown reviews up.
The Foundry level is the first one you’re going to see, complete with molten steel. The sense of humor infused in this game jumps out at you, as one of the goals is to knock the foreman in the water, used to cool the plant. You’re no longer tricking for cash in this game … stat points and boards are EARNED on each course … and the locations vary from skater to skater. Some of these tricks get downright devious, as those of you familiar with the previous games will attest to.
I’ve only unlocked one park (Canada), but wow, is it a good one! Canada is covered in snow (and Canadians), and is a great change of pace from the standard summer parks we’ve seen in previous games. There’s a kid with his tongue stuck to a pole you have to free, a bully you need to bury in snow, and Canadian skaters you need to impress with your mad skating skills, yo. (“Let me know when you do something good, eh?”)
The GameCube control scheme seems to not be a problem in pulling off tricks. A quick glance through the manual, and an hour of practice will have you skating with decent skill. But that first hour? Oh, the humanity! Bails everywhere, your blood splattered against walls and pavement … Canadians making fun of you. ;) The controls are pretty much designed so that a button masher is going to bail, or pull off the same trick over and over. As you earn skill points, and start to flesh out your skater, you’ll also start to master the controls, knowing how far you can spin, which directions to hold for which trick, etc. It’s actually amazing to see yourself progress as a virtual skater!
But the best part is the art of stringing tricks together. Neversoft has made it possible to score ridiculous amounts of points by chaining tricks together. You can even do manuals across flat areas to keep the chain in effect. Master skaters are going to be going nuts, as the developers have said that scores in excess of one MILLION points are not impossible.
So far, the only real down point is the lack of an online mode. But the more I contemplate that, the more I realize that not having more people on-screen screwing up your tricks may be a blessing in disguise. Probably not, but only time will tell on that one.
I haven’t even touched on the multiplayer modes, or the skate park editor, things we’re saving for reviews. One thing you SHOULDN’T save for the review, however, is your money. If you’ve got a GameCube, go get this game. If you don’t, GO GET THIS GAME, ‘cause it will make you buy a Cube. If you’re never going to get a Cube, then heck, get it for your PS2.