Skate. vs. THPG

Hey 360 loop readers, this is Restless Spectre finally posting after months of procrastination. I decided I’d make my first post about my experiences upon playing EA Games’ demo for Skate and Neversoft’s Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground.

To begin with, I’ve got to mention that I’ve been skating since the first Tony Hawk game came out for PS1. Though I don’t skate as often as I have before, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve let the skating community emmerse much of my youth. When Tony Hawk first came out, I was just amazed that they managed to pull off a good skating game at all. THPS 2 came out and I was blown away, again. THPS3 came out and my interest lessened. From there, it’s was a downward spiral of the same recycled format that either barely caught my attention or made me say “Wtf Tony Hawk?” Seriously though, I’ve got to draw a line somewhere. Like, maybe at doing a 360 flip to backflip to nose manual to smith grind to another manual which would eventually lead me to do flatland tricks that would make Rodney Mullen cream his pants. Needless to say, I didn’t expect much to be different upon downloading the demo for THPG.

As I confirmed the download of the demo I thought it might be a good idea to play skate a little more in order to really get a side by side comparison while I wait. Before the game starts, you’re presented with the control scheme. It’s ingenious in it’s simplicity. (I’ve always wanted to say that.) So, the way it’s layed out is: Left thumb stick steers your skater around and spins him in the air. Right stick controls your skaters legs.. so if you move the stick down then up you do an ollie and if you move it down and up and slightly to the right or left, you’ll do a heelflip or kickflip depending on which way you’re facing. The left and right triggers correspond to the left and right handed grabs, which you can just in conjunction with the right stick to perform “tweeks” to your grab tricks. X and A button are for using your left or right foot to push and gain speed. Everything works nearly flawlessly and I must applaud Skate’s dev’s for actually pulling this off so well.

Like usual, I sped through the tutorials on how to do an ollie and what not, then got right down to further exploring the skate park that’s apparently only a fraction of the city that you can roam through in the full game. If you’ve never played skate you’ll likely be eating virtual pavement till you get used to the park. It’s not that the park is designed poorly, it’s far from it. It’s just that due to the control scheme and the way the game flows, you really need to understand the park and how everything is layed out. This is actually quite similar to a first visit to a real life skate park. You can’t just go to some skate park and ride everything like it’s the same everywhere, can you? (If you’re some ridiculously skilled skater and can answer yes to that question, well… screw you! </jealousy>)

It seems that the developer’s for skate really tried their best to capture a true skating experience. It isn’t all about doing ridiculously impossible tricks to get ridiculously high scores. It’s about the line of moves you pull off. And theres nothing more rewarding than actually coming up with something you think will LOOK awesome and actually pulling it off. Since it’s actually difficult (like in real life) to do what the Tony Hawk game’s have made look incredibly easy, you quickly learn to apprecieate finally being able to do that 360 flip into a grind you’ve been practicing. The sense of accomplishment you get from it really makes this game feel true to skating.

So that THPG download finally finishes. I feel bad that I have to end the 30 minute skate demo early, but I press on. I did it for you readers! I must say, it was seriously a huge ass waste of my fking time. I was seriously so disappointed. I don’t even want to go in depth with my problems with this game so I’m just going to name them. The graphics (in my opinion) are nowhere near as detailed as Skate’s. The control scheme is the same tired old scheme as before, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth after playing Skate. You are given three types of skating to choose from: Hardcore, Professional, and Rigger, which just seems like a bad attempt at trying to connect with the potential players. Even the demo’s timer was less than skate’s (30 minutes versus 10.) And, of course, the ridiculously impossible strings of moves are still around and still encouraged.

 I don’t mean to hate on Tony Hawk and his game, but you can really tell a difference between the game that had a lot of effort put into capturing what it really feels like to skate and the game that is essentially the same recycled crap from years past.

It may have been great for 1999, but I don’t see much of Tony Hawk in my future. I hope I don’t appear to have some kind of bias against Tony Hawk, I objectively compared the two and Skate came out as a clear winner on just about every aspect.

– Bijan “RestlessSpectre” Kashanian –


1 Response to “Skate. vs. THPG”

  1. 1 Dr. Jan Itor January 16, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I agree that thpg was less than satisfactory, especially on the ps2, but I dont like the fact that a skateboarding game was made that is’nt a Tony Hawk game. However, seeing as I have not yet played Skate, I could be wrong. I think, in my opinion, even Tony Hawk’s Underground was a far better game than Proving Ground, and Underground came way before Proving Ground.

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