Let me address a little
bitterness I feel deep inside. Im really bummed that Xbox owners dont get
THPS3 when it is out for PS2 and Gamecube already. But theres nothing that can be
done about that Xbox owners must wait until March 2002 to play. That bitterness
seems to creep its way into reviews that have already come out for Tony Hawks Pro
Skater 2x. Most folks have given it the old "nothing new here" and mediocre
rating the game has an average score of 80% at Game Rankings. I realize that
Im aiming above the curve with my rating, but I just cant help it. Know this
now I love the THPS series, and THPS2x is no exception.
Primarily, this game is a seriously cleaned up version of THPS2.
And when I say seriously, I mean it. The graphics are completely redone. Ramps and pools
have vibrant textures, and the graffiti has never looked so good. The grass stands up,
each individual blade, and calls to you, "Notice me!" Lighting effects and
character models are incredible. You can now see entire skylines and far into the
distance. And lest you think all this graphical improvement is negligable, let me
underscore the fact that the amazing clarity of the visuals really helps you play the
game. It is easier to see your landings as well as identify potential lines.
All 13 skaters
from THPS2 are present, as are all eight courses. The level goals are the same, and the
levels themselves are virtually unchanged. In some areas, such as at the top of the
hangar, details have been added. The stats system is the same, and you still progress from
level to level by earning cash. For a more detailed explanation of this part of the game,
Ill refer you to my review of THPS2 for the PS1.
If this game
were just a revised version of THPS2, it would still be a great game. THPS2 is a great
game. I have a hard time fathoming the trouble some gamers have with titles coming out
across platforms and in revised versions. Do we want games to become like movies where
opening weekend is the determining factor, and movies that dont succeed instantly
are shuttled off into video obscurity? I dont. I have no problem with games being
re-released on multiple platforms, although I do look for a little more in a port.
Happily, Neversoft and Activision have made good decisions about who should port THPS
titles to other consoles. Treyarch stepped up on THPS2x, and they really succeed. It is
obvious that Treyarch loves the THPS series like so many of us do, and rather than a
simple port of THPS2, they have given us the only next-gen archive of the entire THPS
completing the THPS2 career with a skater, you move on to the THPS2x career mode. This is
a sequence of three levels, a night club, construction site, and the Tampa, Florida
skatepark. These levels are not as large as a standard THPS level, but they are still
well-done. You must complete goals to progress through the levels. The high score and
S-K-A-T-E goals are standard, and there are also level-specific goals such as collecting
five "digits" in the night club. The skatepark in Tampa is a contest, and is a
classic THPS skatepark lots of great terrain and amazing lines to explore. The
Tampa skatepark is undoubtedly the best of the THPS2x levels, and once you medal in that
you get another great treat the original THPS.
levels in THPS1, such as the School, Burnside, and Chicago skateparks that cant be
topped. These levels have been polished up and made beautiful (check out the animated
textures on Roswell), but the best part about the THPS1 levels is playing them with the
manual trick. For fans of the THPS series, the manual has been an incredible improvement.
The original eight levels of THPS1 come alive all over again when you throw the manual
into the mix. Playing with the increased scoring of THPS2 also makes it easy to clear out
these levels. You must collect tapes to progress, just as in the original game. It
wont take you long to clear out these levels if youve played the game before
because everything is just as you remember it. Again, for those of you new to the series,
I recommend you check out my review of THPS for any of a number of systems. After
completing the original game, you are rewarded with a New York Subway level that is pretty
there are a variety of special characters to unlock by completing each of the different
modes entirely. There is also a Create-a-Skater function that lies somewhere between the
character creation in THPS2 and THPS3. You can create female skaters, which is a notable
improvement, but otherwise it is about the same. The Park Editor is similarly the same as
in THPS2, with some minor improvements. You can play up to four players in multiplayer,
which is new to THPS, and up to eight players by linking Xbox systems.
I look at the
bright side of THPS2x, mainly because its so obvious. This Xbox thing is going to be
around for awhile, and THPS2x is the only next-gen archive of the series so far. The THPS
games are actually good enough to go back to, and fans of the series dont want to be
without this version of the courses. Add to it online multiplayer available right now by
using GameSpy's new Arcade and Tunnel
programs, and you've got something to get excited about. If youve never played
the THPS games before, then THPS2x is an incredible value. And if you think the THPS
titles are just OK, then dont bother; the third is on its way.