Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 - PS2

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Also for: Power Mac, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation
Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Sport: Skateboard
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Neversoft Soft. Co.: Neversoft
Publishers: Activision (GB/GB)
Released: Unknown (GB)
22 Nov 2002 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+, 11+
Accessories: Memory Card
Features: Vibration Function Compatible, Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only
Connectivity: Network Adaptor (Ethernet) compatible


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It's fair to say that the fourth instalment in NeverSoft's seminal skate series brings the least to the table, in terms of innovation, concept and gameplay and yet strangely, it's the best to grace a console since Tony got himself a PA and sold himself to a man named Chad.

The long-avoided (or should that be best-avoided) career mode has finally squeezed itself into the impeccable format of the earlier games. This pits you as an amateur skater trying to break your way into the world of the pro, as is/was the dream of every be-hooded rider of the polyurethane the world over. The process involves taking a skater with exceptionally low skill-points, and building him up to gain sponsorship, thus entering the pro circuits.

Now, although this is an honourable and time-served game filler, it has absolutely no appeal for the seasoned Pro Skater player. Having empowered and combo'ed far superior riders, to take such a drastic step down from this level is frustrating and largely unappealing.

This is because by this stage in the game, anyone inclined to play a skateboarding game already has done, and more than likely, played it to death. And, unless they were one of the unfortunate few who invested in Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, that game will have been a Tony Hawk title.

Graphically, Tony 4 is a shining example of latter-day PlayStation 2 development. NeverSoft has managed to fill the screen with detailed, high-polygon objects whist bringing life to the proceedings with an array of textures and mapping that surpasses any requirement the genre may demand. And there's no pop-up, which is a bonus.

The size of the environments in the fourth game is unrivalled in any pervious release in the series, both deep and varied, and surprisingly interactive. The third game came in for slight criticism in that it failed to fully take advantage of the power offered by next-gen consoles.

As you will know if you've followed the progression of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, the third game made one very important gameplay leap, known to aficionados as 'revert into manual'. The first two releases in the series allowed players to continue combos for as long as they liked, as long as a ramp wasn't included. In the third title, following a ramp trick, the player could tap R2 to perform a revert, the act of switching from left to right-foot-forward, and then tap up, then down, to go into a manual, or a wheelie to the uninitiated. This meant that it was possible to perform long, intricate combos across a variety of ledges, rails and ramps. The unlimited combo was born and the series changed massively. Tony 4 is entirely based around this concept, with objectives demanding the use of the technique.

Even if you've already forked out for every game released in this series, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is still a must-buy title, simply because it's the best yet. You also get a load of videos of the NeverSoft team acting the fool - always a bonus.