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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Neversoft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 16, 2007

 

 

- Brings the franchise back to its most likeable roots: a good career mode that moves from city to city with plenty of goals and challenges to keep gamers thrashing hour after hour

- Controls once again are amazingly smooth and perfectly designed for pulling off trick after high-scoring trick

 

 

- Nothing new to entice veteran Tony Hawk gamers that hasn’t really been done before

- Story mode is simply just a rerun of previous story modes (young skater trying to make it from the streets and become a skate star)

- Newest addition, the video editor, isn’t too unique, as Skate already introduced it

 

 

Review: Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS3)

Review: skate. (360)

Review: Tony Hawk's Project 8 (360)

 

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Tony Hawk's Proving Ground

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Uncontested for years, the Tony Hawk skateboarding videogame franchise simply was the king of the skating genre. It took on all challengers and dispatched them with a thorough thrashing, so much so that Tony Hawk games faced nary an adversary the last few years. But that led to the inevitable result when a champion faces no worthy foe – a title holder that sits on its laurels. Some of the past few Tony Hawk games just weren’t as good as early Tony Hawk titles.

 

tony hawk's proving ground          tony hawk's proving ground

 

But lo and behold, a creditable competitor in the skateboarding videogame arena emerged recently with EA’s skate. Coincidentally or not, the latest Tony Hawk game, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground on the Xbox 360, just happens to be the best Hawk game in a while, standing up ably to the stiff rivalry of skate.

 

There’s not anything in Proving Ground that hasn’t been done in some form in a previous Tony Hawk game, unless you count the video editor that’s an OK addition, but the same style of video editing feature was in skate., too. And

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once again, the story mode will have a completely déjŕ vu feel, as it’s the old “young skater trying to make it from the streets and become a skate star” tale seen in similar fashion in earlier Tony Hawk titles (and, yes, even skate. falls into this same old storyline). A wrinkle in that familiar story is that gamers choose what kind of skater career

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path (three to select: Career skater, Hardcore skater and Rigger) to follow. Each trail leads to somewhat different challenges that must be met, so even someone that completes the Hardcore career, for instance, could replay the game going down the Rigger road and have a moderately different challenge set to finish.

 

But although Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground may be familiar to many gamers who’ve tried any other Tony Hawk game, that’s also Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground’s biggest strength. It’s that familiarity in the still-excellent arcade-style gameplay (versus the much more difficult controls and simulation-style gameplay in Skate) that brings back gamers to the Tony Hawk franchise.

 

Each Tony Hawk game has provided easy control to its players, allowing for amazing tricks and moves to be performed with a quick button-mash combo. The arcade-style gameplay combined with the over-the-top skating environments where every nook and cranny holds the possibility of some entertaining skating is what makes Tony Hawk games a lot of fun. In Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, the East Coast streets are your skating playgrounds.

 

tony hawk's proving ground          tony hawk's proving ground

 

There’s more difficulty in achieving goals and passing challenges, as anybody that’s gone way back to the first Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater realizes it was too easy to become too good in that title, and as the franchise has progressed so has the difficulty level. It’s not as easy to advance through the game. But because of the easy-to-use controls, even some of the more tricky goals that must be met and unlocked require nowhere near the sweat-inducing and frustration-causing exertion needed to accomplish skate.’s many tasks.

 

A mention should be made of Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground’s online play. For this reviewer, it was the first time taking to the virtual streets of Tony Hawk. Despite some lagging at times and even tougher competition whose scoring ability was ridiculously advanced, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground via Xbox Live offers yet another competitive chance to prove how good each individual online skater’s skills really are.

 

While the Tony Hawk franchise soars once again, it certainly hasn’t flown into the same stratosphere of excellence reached by earlier Tony Hawk games. It’s exactly what veteran Tony Hawk gamers would expect – nothing more, nothing less – another good arcade-style skating videogame. No new innovations here, and a “been there, done that” feel to the gameplay, but for many skating gamers, that’s exactly what they want, and Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground gives it to them.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 4, 2007)

 

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