Reviewed by Jimmy | 11.30.06
Tony Hawk's Project 8 is the real next generation Tony Hawk game we should of had last year. Now that the wheel are fully primed we oille off of the Xbox 360 and examine the latest Tony Hawk game, Project 8.
This year Tony Hawk has been split, on one side you have the new Downhill Jam game which is more like a racing game then skateboarding, and Project 8 with returns Tony to open level design of Tony Hawk in a traditional move to riches skateboarding storyline. I'm glad Activision didn't stick to the Downhill Jam formula across the board because Project 8 has rekindiled the magic of the Tony Hawk franchise.
For me, Tony Hawk Project 8 has moved into the number one spot of Tony Hawk games triumphing over Pro Skater 4, and T.H.U.G. 2. I'm was shocked to fire up Tony Hawk Project 8 to find a interesting and more beautiful Tony Hawk game then I've seen before. Project 8 rebuilt from ground up strays from the abstract art and punk rock influenced American Wasteland, and gives us long time fans something to sink our teeth into. Project 8 could be the game that brings the Hawk fans back to the franchise while turning heads along the way.
The story behind Project 8 is simple, Tony Hawk is putting together a new skate team and being the young skater you are, you want to make it onto Tony's elite team. To do this you have to complete mission and ultimately move up the ranking system until you reach the top 8. Along you adventure you will become more renown, be swindled by sponsors, and even knock down a few bowling pins as you go. I'll found this basic approach to work wonders and it proves you don't need Bam, or Jesse James to have a fun and interesting time in Tony Hawk.
From the get go, you get to customize your character which is surprisingly shallow and not as broad as pervious Hawk games. Once you have your tattooed punk ready to roll you head out of your mom's basement to your four housed crescent to skate to fame. Project 8 takes it easy on you for a while showing you the ropes before it unleashes you into city streets. Once you wall jump you way to freedom the real Tony Hawk experience starts. This time you should be let down because besides the cool geometry in the city there are lots goals to accomplish.
Out in the city you will have options around ever corner including everything from plastering signs with wall mounts or getting a high score in a new and improved version of the classic mode. As you progress new areas will keep opening up and the challenges seem like they will never stop. The best part is that it's all free roam, so you can do whatever you like. I found a majority of the challenges to actually being challenging which was nice and even if I failed, I didn't care because of the amount of options. The open ended gameplay and amount of choices helps keep the experience fun with becoming frustrating. Tony Hawk games have always been good in this level, but Project 8 bumps the franchise to the next level.
The coolest new feature in Project 8 has to be the Nail the Trick mode that takes you focus off the character brings the action to the board. This works by double clicking you analog sticks and then bam-the camera slows down and it zooms remarkably close to your board and feet. From there you can tweak your moves in real time and hopefully pull of even more sic moves. It's freestyle in slow motion and if you needed a time to throw in the catch phrase "extreme" this would be the time.
The online portion of Project 8 seems more like the previous games then overhaul the rest of the game has taken. Online you can jump into a game and go head to head with eight players trying to rank up to number one. The new online mode in Project 8 is called "walls" which is the skateboarding version of the Tron light cycle races. I had a great time online and this time around you grab a number of online achievements that make the online portion seem more rewarding.
Stop the press! Newsflash, a Tony Hawk game actually looks amazing. I have always been skeptical on each new Tony Hawk release because the graphics really never seem to progress drastically and the game has been stuck in mold similar to the Grand Theft Auto series. Graphically Project 8 dominates every previous attempt in the series and pops out the best looking Tony Hawk game hands down, along with a top notch next generation visuals. You can really tell the engine has been rebuilt and it's all for the better.
Neversoft has tricked out the animations making Project 8 motion capturing all the pros mentioned in the game. Almost every line in the environment of Project 8 can be skated on making it fun to whisk through the world that could be called skaters architectural heaven. With the bump up in graphics comes an unfortunate flaw to Project 8 and that comes in the way of some frame rate issues. At times it drops down and causes a slight hiccup, but it never really ruins the game. Given the amount that Hawk has improved, a small detail like this can be overlooked.
Along with the graphics the sound has been amped up, obviously not as noticeable as the graphics, but there is an improvement in quality. Like always Project 8 gives us a thumpin' soundtrack filled with talent that will keep your ears busy as you grind up the in game charts. Project 8 launches Tony Hawk into the next generation and hopefully Neversoft keep raising the bar in visuals for the Tony Hawk franchise.
Damn right Project 8 has the mojo. This time around I was floored with the effort put out by Neversoft. I'm fully back behind the Tony Hawk franchise and it feels like it was a long time coming. The new graphics really help put this one over along with the continuous motion of the open ended city and new nail the trick mode. I half to say it one more time, Damn Project 8 has the mojo.
Tony Hawk's Project 8 is the new king of the franchise for Tony. Neversolf has surprise the whole gaming community and one up'd their last seven efforts in one game. Tony Hawk is back to what maters, skating without all the extra annoyances Hawk games have started to become. If you're a newcomer or a long time skater, Tony Hawk Project 8 needs to be checked out. This is one of the year's best sports games, along with being the best in the franchise.