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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

Developer: Neversoft | Publisher: Activision
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/23/02 | Genre: Sports

With extreme sports games making a splash in the console market, Activision has decided to take the biggest step my adding the first online Extreme Sport game entitled “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4â€?. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 was the disputed heavyweight champ for best sports game of 2002 for any console. Although Tony Hawk’s 3 featured an online component it was not as nearly deep as Tony Hawk’s 4 online component. Activision seems to be getting it right time after time.

One of the reasons so many people love the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is because of the amount of game modes available. The game features a career mode, multiplayer online play with each mode containing even more game modes. The career is much improved over last year’s game with your skater competing for more respect from fellow skaters and money becoming a larger part of the game. The multiplayer mode is perhaps one of best reasons to pick this game up. There is a wide range of game modes available, which include free skate, horse, and graffiti. The most interesting game mode is the graffiti mode where your opponent tries to claim as much territory as possible in a given amount of time. To claim a certain territory you must perform tricks and combos to highlight a certain section of the level your team color.

The biggest addition is the new and improved online mode. The game is very user friendly when connecting to play online. The game’s online capabilities support both narrowband and broadband connections. All of the game modes except horse are included in online play. One of the biggest surprises with the online play was how smooth the gameplay was. Usually with most online games for the PS2 some games tend to be a little slow to respond. This game is an exception with a fast and furious frame rate whether you are hosting or joining someone else’s game.

The amount of players and levels available is always important in no matter which game you are playing. This game excels in the amount of players available but seems to be held back in the amount of levels playable. Something that has hindered extreme sports on all consoles is the lack of levels playable. If you are playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for the first time there will be only one level available to play. If you are sick and tired of playing the same level the game includes a design your own skate park option as well. For beginners this game can become very frustrating with landing jumps and moves. Since there is such a large number of moves and combos to do you will find yourself exploring new moves, but at the same time falling down frequently. Advanced players of the franchise should have no problem picking up and playing this game without noticing any frustrations.

Graphics have always been an important part of the Tony Hawk series. This is a department where the franchise always stays ahead of the competition. Although the graphics have a similar resemblance to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 the game is not terrible to look at. One characteristic that separates extreme sport games from other types of games is the frame rate. Since the game plays like an arcade title like most extreme sports, the frame rate is always running at least fifty frames per second with no sign of slow down. The levels are very large and fun to explore. The environments are very realistic as well. You will see citizens in the background playing basketball, tennis, driving or simply walking.

The game features a killer sound track with performances from bands such as AC/DC. The sound effects from the skateboard and pavement sound very realistic and the howl of pain from a wiped out skater adds more realism to an arcade title. Each surface sounds different when you are riding on your skateboard. Overall the sound is great with no flaws at all.

Since this is a skateboarding game, the game contains a large amount of tricks, which are sometimes difficult to get the hang of. The controls are not just easy to pick up and play. You get better of course as you play further into the game and learn more moves and combos. One of the hardest things to execute is trying to do a large amount of tricks after grinding on a rail without falling off your skateboard. This game will be easy to pick up and play for those who are veterans of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.

With the new moves, combos and improved online play you’ll be playing this one forever. Just make sure you bought a network adapter to get enjoy a 100% of the game. Even without the network adapter this game is still great especially with a friend over. Advanced gamers will be able to create their dream parks to become the master skater.

Fans of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater must pick this one up. Any fans of extreme sports will enjoy this title and this game should also appeal to the casual gamer as well. Doesn’t matter if you have a narrowband or broadband connection with the network adapter will be able to get the most out of this game. With not much competition in the skateboard market Activision will surely be able to improve the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series at any level they chose to. Activision has made another great game.

By Siddharth Masand - 04/15/03
ESRB Details: Blood, Comic Mischief, Mild Lyrics, Suggestive Themes

Screenshots for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

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