Tony Hawk’s Project 8
Activision
PlayStation 3/PlayStation 2/PSP/Xbox 360
*****
Overview:
Ha, like you really need an intro on this one. The latest game in the THPS series is always the most anticipated game of the year—whether you like video games or not—and Project 8 does not disappoint. In fact, it’s the exact friggin’ opposite of disappointing. This time around, the game focuses much less on a “story line (thank the lord) and much more on actual tricks (thank the lord two times!).
Gameplay: The free-roam environment from American Wasteland is back, the tricks are more vast and realistic than ever, and the challenges are—to paraphrase Bostonians—wicked awesome. On the filmer challenge, for example, you’re forced to bust a trick every time the following cameraman shouts it out. Seriously, little nuances like that only add to the realism that exists in the game. Conversely, the bail challenge is a little ludicrous, but it’s gut-busting nonetheless: you basically launch your character off his/her board and watch the hideous slam unfold. Ragdoll would be proud; but alas, he’s not in the game.
Graphics: Considering that Project 8 was built specifically for the new PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms, you’d be an idiot to play this on anything else. Seriously, HD TV practically allows you to smell Dollin’s rank-ass armpits. And that’s a good thing. The feature that exhibits P:8‘s graphical prowess the best is “Nail The Trick. This nifty little dealie zooms in on the feet and board like Yeah Right!‘s opening credits, allowing you to see in detail how a trick goes down. Plus, you can create your own tricks right on the spot.
Sound: Nope, the realism doesn’t stop in the aural category. If you’re skating on concrete, the wheels roar; if you’re skating on rubber, you’re wheels whimper; and if you’re skating on grass, well, you’ve obviously skated off course, my boy.
Entertainment: The new motion-capture technology brought out serious life in the new characters, like Nyjah and Lyn-Z. But more importantly, Project 8 added another thick layer of improvement on an already realistic skateboarding game. Sure, feeble grinding power lines is improbable (and likely to jolt you into a coffin), but it’s mighty entertaining. Best game of the year, and probably 2007 too.—Gamey Thomas