Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is designed to be a return its roots. Dropping the gimmicky controllers that have muddied the series over the years, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 returns to a control scheme that will be familiar to fans that played games such as Pro Skater 2 either on a couch with friends after school, or in a college dorm room.
It’s an admirable vision, and is probably a decision made out of necessity to bring the franchise back from the dead. However, they may have gone a little too far in turning back the clock. Other than a few minor tweaks to the gameplay, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 plays almost exactly the same as it did in its heyday, for better or for worse.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with how Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 looked when I demoed it at E3 2015. Sure it’s an improvement from the DC/PS2/XB era, but it’s nothing that will blow you away. Safe and budgeted would be the two words I would use to describe it.
Control wise, as mentioned above, it’s not really that much different than previous games. If you haven’t played a Tony Hawk game since 1999, you could pick up Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 and pretty much pick up right where you left off. Depending on your outlook this could be a good or bad thing. If you’re expecting dramatic changes you’re out of luck. There are some small quality of life tweaks that hardcore players will pick up and enjoy. One of the bigger ones is the ability to defy gravity, and slam down onto a rail OlliOlli style. Overshooting rails is a thing of the past, and while I personally didn’t make much use of it, skilled players will definitely be able to take advantage of this to extend the life of their combos.
What is most intriguing and promising is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5’s multiplayer capabilities. The E3 demo showed off a variety of different ways that players will be able to play with each other. There is a skate park mode, which is a big free skate area where people can drop in and out and just mess around. New is a cooperative campaign of sorts where players can work together to complete single player mode objectives. Also, create a park is back, and all your creations can be shared with friends. What is especially neat about it is how seamlessly you can switch from editing the park to being right back on your skateboard to test out your work. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is bursting at the seams with variety, and should probably be its main draw.
At the end of the day Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is a old dog with a couple of new tricks. If you loved the older games and have been waiting for a triumphant return to form, then Pro Skater 5will probably get the job done for you. It has enough new features, especially on the multiplayer end, to make it worth checking out if you were a hardcore fan. If you’re someone that is or always was on the fence, there’s nothing dramatically different here that is worthy of your attention.