9.0

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 review
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Summary:

With all of the hype surrounding it, will Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 be able to keep up with the expectation of gamers everywhere? On top of all of the pressure prom the hype that is second only to a Final Fantasy game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is being made on a system that is all but dead, the Playstation. With Neversoft focusing its skills on the big brother of this port, they allowed Shabba to produce this version of the game. For those who do not know who Shabba is, they were the ones that made Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, a game that many think might be the worst Tony Hawk clone out there, and Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, a game that was able to best compete with Tony Hawk. With all of these variables affecting it, can Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 stand up and still be a great game? Quite simply put, the answer is surprisingly yes.

There are many new additions that Tony Hawk 3 has that its two younger brothers do not have. The most obvious, as well as controversial, is the Revert. By adding the Revert, as well as dozens of other tricks, Activision gave the virtual skaters to extend there combos way beyond what is humanly possible. To many this is an extremely fun feature, but to others it takes much of the strategy out of getting the insane combos that we all so badly desire. Scores that the best of the best in Tony Hawk 2 could only get if they were lucky are now commonplace in many areas. This is definatly a double-edged sword in many ways. For those without much skill, they will be able to surpass what they could only dream about getting, but on the other hand, you are taking many of the players' ability to set realistic, yet challenging goals for themselves. Many can not decide which side they are on, they like the fact that they can break ten million at will, but don't like the fact that they were using a trick, that if used correctly, gives you the opportunity to never land your combo without using any cheats at all. This is a very difficult dilemma to be caught up in.

If you have played one of the previous two versions of the Tony Hawk series, then you will undoubtedly be familiar with the story line. As Tony Hawk, or one of twelve other pro skaters, you must find a series of icons scattered throughout the level and get huge scores in one of the many levels. If you are good enough, you will come to one of the three competitions. Here, you must pull off all of your tricks in perfect order, then if you have enough skill, you will have come away with the gold medal. Assuming that you have gotten all of the icons and goals in every level, as well as getting all of the gold medals, you will unlock either a secret character, or a new cheat. Next, you will have to do the same thing with more than a dozen other pro skaters as well as hidden and created characters. By the end of the game, it gets quite monotonous and will leave you begging for the master cheat code.

For those who have played the Playstation 2 version of the game, they have seen and experienced some of the greatest graphics dawned upon the video game industry outside of a FMV. After playing, or even seeing it being played, there is absolutely nothing that can compare to it on the Playstation. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is not an exception in any way. At first, to many veterans, the graphics seem oddly unfamiliar, but for those who have played Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, they will be a dead on match to those. This is because Shabba produced both of those games using basically the same engine. Anybody knows that there is no way that the graphics compare to those of Playstation 2, but suprizingly they are some of the better ones for Playstation. There are many spots where the graphics will get glitchy and foggy, as well as how graphics will seem to just pop up instead on gradually come into existence. This can get annoying extremely quickly. Other that that, the graphics are clean and well presented, a very well done game visually.

When Tony Hawk's Pro Skater first came out over 3 years ago, it had what was considered the best soundtrack in a game not titled Final Fantasy or Castlevania. There was nothing that could even compare to it. Then along came the sequel, which blew the mind of every video game fan on the planet. This time around, Neversoft chose to go with more big name bands, instead of underground bands which they have done in the past. Even the precedents of punk rock, The Ramones, were not able to resist the offer from this classic series. Although there is not any comparison between the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and its previous versions, the soundtrack is definatly worth listening to.

With the controls that have implanted themselves into our subconscience over the last four years of playing them and frustrating over them, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 instantly had one of the best control systems in the industry. There are only a few minor changes that have been put to effect for the, what is likely the last, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game for the Playstation. The first major change in the Revert. The Revert allows you to do a quick turn right as your are landing on a quarter pipe and is able to be ollied from or manualed from. The other change is the quick 180 degree turn. No longer can you use this quick spinning, high scoring trick to your advantage. Still, there is no person, especially a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater fan, that can not like the game for that.

As there was in the transaction between the first two installments in the series, there is a slight different in the gameplay. Between Tony Hawk 1 and Tony Hawk 2, the gameplay seems to slow down just enough so that it is noticeable. Now, there seems to be a slight increase in the speed of the gameplay. With these changes, it makes each game unique and different. Another good thing about the speed change it makes you feel as if you are playing a whole new game instead of just the same game over and over again. Unlike the perfection that is known as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, there are some flaws in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3's gameplay. Although it is not as extreme as Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX, it does seem as though you are magnetically attracted to many of the rails throughout the game. Basically Tony Hawk 3 does nothing to improve upon or regress from the great, almost perfect game play of the whole Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series.

2-Player Mode in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is one of the largest let downs in a long time for many people. Shabba, instead of putting there balls on the line and making some changes and adding onto what was handed to them from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, did absolutely nothing. Not that the 2-Player Mode was bad, it seems just after a while you expect more options and what you have gets kind of old. Just like many other people, I was quite disappointed in the multiplayer section of this game.

Being extremely similar to its two predecessors, the challenge of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 all depends on just whom is playing the game. For a seasoned veteran, there is no real challenge other than finding all of the gaps. For the mediocre player, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 will present a decent challenge, and for a first time player, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 will be a very difficult game. If you are hoping to have a game that is more challenging than Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 & 2, this is not one that I would recommend to many people.

Outside of the Revert, there is not very much that is original about this version of the game. Career Mode is based on the same things as before, but instead of your stats increasing naturally, or having to be bought, you will have to find icons that increase your stats and give you a new deck in each one of the levels. Unlike the huge improvements is Create-A-Skater Mode and Park Editor in the Playstation 2 version of the game, there is almost no change in either one of those modes, very disappointing.

One thing that Shabba has done well is keep the fun in the game. Besides the fact that many of the level designs are poor at best (Canada being the best example), what has been done well is fun to play. Continuing in the tradition of the first two versions of the game, huge scores are able to be gotten for those who know how, and if you know how, nothing can be more entertaining than stringing together a huge combo that ranges into the millions of points.

Having been somewhat of a short time since I have beaten the game, it is hard to tell just how much replay value is in this game. Many of the levels do not open themselves up very well to huge scores. This can either be a good thing, or a bad thing, only time will tell. However, from the way that things are looking, there will be plenty of replay value to go around.

I would recommend that any non-Playstation 2 owner to get this game. That is, of course, assuming that they were a fan of one of the two previous versions of the game.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 could be best described as an expansion pack to its previous two versions. If some were to offer you more specials, Bam Margera (of Jackass fame), and 9 more levels to your Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, you would take that offer in no time. That is pretty much what Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is.

Overall: 9/10

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