We all have special memories of games from our childhood. Mine would be arcade classics from the 80’s like Pac-Man, of course. I also share special memories of more contemporary games with my younger brothers, like playing Yoshi’s Island with them. But some special gaming memories are uniquely theirs. Case in point, one of my brother Jeff’s favorite games he played as a kid was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I was worried that he was too young for it at the time, but he took to it like a fish to water. So when I learned that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD came out for Xbox LIVE recently, I decided that Jeff was more fitting to write the review of it.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a great game for people looking for a call back to the days of the original game. It was very nostalgic going back to all the familiar locations from the first and second installment of the original title. It was also pretty funny to see that they changed the collectible video tapes to DVDs. About half of the music is from the original Pro Skater games while the other half is more up to date. The graphics of the HD update are phenomenal when compared with the originals, as both the character models and maps got better graphics. Other than the obvious change from old graphics to HD, there are also some new characters like your XBox Avatar. There is some online multiplayer in free skate mode and a few of the new game modes introduced in the game. Although this is a great game just for the nostalgia, if you are going into this game without the experience of the originals, you will probably not have as much fun. With other, much more realistic skateboarding games out there, THPS:HD seems a little behind the times (because technically it is!). The game is also pretty unforgiving to new players as the learning curve is a bit high. I had a lot of fun playing this game because I played the originals, so if you liked the initial Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater you will definitely want to pick this up. –Jeff Orth
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Violence and Blood. You can have nasty falls and spills on your skateboard in the game, but your skater always gets right back up to try again. Sometimes small blurts of red stuff can be seen when you fall, indicating blood. I would probably be OK with preteens playing this, but the best reason why this game is better suited to older players is the high difficulty level. Kids love skateboards, so they’ll naturally be drawn to this. I could even consider this game educational because seeing how dangerous skating can be in the game can reinforce to kids that real life skateboarding requires lots of practice and proper safety equipment. (Kid Factor by Cary Woodham)