Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 review
Pure grinding satisfaction.

The good:

same great THPS formula, with new moves and fun online multiplayer modes

The bad:

background chatter can be annoying. No way to ban cheaters from online sessions.


THPS3 Review
I remember when I first installed the demo of THPS2. I hit a vert ramp and the camera swung around to point straight down and I was hooked. It had been a long time since I had that much pure fun with a game. Now that I've finally picked up THPS3, I'm happy to say that's its still all that and then some.

First of all, like all Tony Hawk games, this installment isn't what you'd call "realistic". It has its own peculiar physics that allows you to do things that would be impossible in real life. Like, if the universe had been created by skaters, this is how it would work.

The game's goal-based levels will be familiar to fans of the first two games (apparently THPS4 uses a different structure). The goals in this one are a little more... inventive. They often involve people, but sometimes don't really involve skating. The by-standers in this game are a lot more vocal this time around and, quite frankly, can be really annoying. What's worse is that you can't shut them up by turning down the volume setting. On the other hand, there are a lot of characters that will cheer you on when you're doing good (or put you down when you're not) and that really helped me get into the game.
They did away with the floating cash in this one. Instead, you collect stat points scattered around the levels. One thing that I really appreciated was that you don't have to get all of the stat points to 100% the game. I'm not much of a completist when it comes to games, but even I was able to unlock a few secret characters, which is something I wasn't able to do in THPS2.

You can also play this one online, which is a lot of fun. The only problem I have is that every session you join usually has some players who have unlocked the cheats. These people are easy to spot: they're the one's whose scores have 3 more digits than everybody else's and take more than a minute to finish their last combo. As far as I can tell, there is no easy way to keep cheaters out of a session, which is a shame.

And of course there are a bunch of new moves and new types of moves, like the stylin' flatland tricks and landing tricks that let you string together vert and lip tricks. This definitely adds some depth to the game.

And (unlike many console ports I could name) this one has a decent setup utility. I had no trouble changing the button configuration for my gamepad. Also, I've read a lot of reviews that say that you can't play THPS games with the keyboard. Not true. I've tried both, and the keyboard is actually superior in some ways. Go with your personal preference.
As I write this, THPS3 is selling for $CAN15.00, and you can't miss at that price. So if you don't have it, get it, especially if you like the goal-based structure of the previous games.

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