E3 2015: Hands-On with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

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Finally, after years of trying to create a new identity, the Tony Hawk franchise decided to go back to basics. Gone are the plastic peripherals, open worlds and Bam Margera storylines and back is the name and play style of Pro Skater.

When Activision announced that they were making another Tony Hawk game it left some puzzled due to the last couple showings from the franchise; and when it was revealed to be a Pro Skater game it was even more puzzling and worrisome. That worry came from die hard fans of the franchise, like myself, that feared this title was just a cash in and not more Pro Skater gameplay we loved for many years on the PS2.

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So when I went into my appointment with Activision I was surprised to see that they appear to have made a proper sequel in the Pro Skater franchise. The game is broken down into levels or maps and the levels contain a set of goals to accomplish within a set period of time. There were no open world shenanigans, instead you are popped into a level and let loose. The game that was being demoed to me was an early build so this meeting was to show us the mechanics and not the looks. When it came time for myself to get a hold of the controller I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get in the swing of things. I found myself doing the basic tricks that are muscle memory from my Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 days. Then quickly I was doing the crazy combos that I always loved doing in the Pro Skater games. The controls felt right; from the weight to the movement of the skater. I was pleasantly surprised by what I played. With a handful of playable levels available to skate in and they appeared to be attempting to capturing some nostalgia by combining elements of previous favorites and mashing them together. You had a good combination of street and vert and endless combos seemed possible. The game is not trying to be realistic, it is just trying to be fun.

In addition to being a throwback, they have added some new mechanics too. There is now a slam mechanic that allows the player to slam the skateboard down quickly. This will come in handy when a trick is overshot and you need to change it or stop it from overshooting and potentially break a combo. Another welcomed addition is the special meter is now activated by a button press instead of being automatic which should add more chances to rack up crazy point combos.

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Online is something that was important to Robomodo and they have created what could be interesting or chaotic. Players can join what sounded like a hub world where they can skate around with up to 20 other skaters and either mess around in the park or go out and hit levels up to accomplish goals or join different modes. I did ask how the game will handle 20 players skating around in terms of chaos and potential collision issues, but that was something that was still being worked on.

Finally, what was quickly demoed was the Create-a-Park feature. This feature looked rather similar to what previous Hawk games have had, but with some modern additions. Instead of having to load in and out of the creation tools to test a park you can easily drop in and out of the two. This makes for quicker testing of creations and make for an easier and seamless creation process. And since Pro Skater 5 is online, players can share their creations and play the other’s.

So, consider me impressed with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, it might be a game to watch out for when it releases. The team at Robomodo may have found a way to bring Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back by staying true to the classic formula while making modern tweaks to keep it fresh.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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  • Greg Tyson

    Wow, great write up Mike. I was not impressed by the screen shot released prior to E3, but you have given me new hope that series might be back on track! This one is definitely on my radar now.

    • MJC

      Yeah, it really surprised me and I hope to get some more info as development progresses.

  • Flav Max

    Great read. Thanks!