The newest game in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series is finally out, but it’s not very good.
Activision, the publisher of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, chose not to send out review copies, and the few reviews that have been posted shed some light on why. Eurogamer called the game “glitchy mess.”
Honestly, we’re not too surprised. The game wasn’t previewing well at industry events, had a massive art style change a mere two months before release, and had a day-one patch larger than the game itself. The final product was clearly incomplete, but it was rushed out the door anyway.
Luckily for you, there are other skating games worth playing, games far more enjoyable than the Hawkman’s recent wipeout. We could just tell you to dust off your Gamecube and pop in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, but that would be cheating. Instead, here are three non-Tony Hawk games worth playing instead of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.
OllieOllie2: Welcome to Olliewood
Sure, the game’s name is a mouthful, but it’s the same arcady skateboard action you love from the Tony Hawk series, just without the 3D. You’re probably wondering how a skateboarding game works in 2D. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure either; it just works.
Much like Tony Hawk games of yore, OllieOllie2, made by Roll7, is all about sustaining your combo with manuals and grinds. The gameplay is surprisingly deep, even if it’s missing an extra dimension. The controls do take a bit of time getting used to; I frequently found myself wiping out before I could get to the end of a level without blood on my board. But the grind is very much worth it.
The Skate series was all the rage back in the mid-to-late 2000s. It made the skating video-game genre realistic—well, more realistic than the Hawk games. Gone were button combinations, replaced by full control via the thumb sticks. Want to do an ollie? Hold down the stick and pop it up. A kickflip? Hold down the stick and pop it to the side. Get the idea? It was the first game to illustrate the difficulties of skateboarding.
Skate 3, released in 2010, made things a bit more accessible for newcomers, so don’t approach it with any hesitation. For the reasons explained above, we wholeheartedly recommend dusting off your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 to play Skate 3.
Jet Set Radio
Okay, Jet Set Radio isn’t a skateboarding game, but it’s a skating game nonetheless. That means we’re technically correct—the best kind of correct.
Jet Set Radio was released on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 and has been a beloved classic ever since. It takes place in a fictional city called Tokyo-to, in which a gang of ne’er-do-wells, called the GGs, get together and try to take down rival gangs with graffiti. Of course, where there’s graffiti, there’s the fuzz ready to take you down. Luckily, your skates give you a great degree of movement, letting you grind and land tricks to evade whatever the police throw at you.
Regardless of Activision’s flubs, gamers have a wealth of other skating options. Any one of the games listed above is well worth your time, and they can be found at pretty good prices—far less than the $60 that Activision is charging for the latest Tony Hawk title.
You’re probably wondering why Activision would consider releasing a game in such a poor state. The answer may have more to do more with contracts than misguided release schedules. In 2002, Activision made a licensing deal with Hawk that would last until 2015—meaning that if Activision wanted to get a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game out, it had to do so this year.
Memo to Activision: This is what happens when you procrastinate.
Either way, let us not cry over broken boards; let us instead rejoice that the games of yesteryear are better and readily available.
Screengrab via Joskebinho/YouTube