Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is now available, after over five years without a new entry in the once widely successful Tony Hawk franchise of games. Reviews aren’t quite out for the game yet but um…
Yeah. So I thought I would reminisce about the Tony Hawk games that didn’t do, well, whatever the hell is happening above this paragraph. The games that I spent hours on as I tried to land the perfect trick, collect all of the SKATE letters, and reach hidden areas, usually with a two minute time limit. So here is my list of the five best Tony Hawk games. As always, this is my personal opinion and it’s based on aggregate scores or other opinions. This is based on what I’ve played and what I enjoyed more.
The game that started it all. The original is still one of the best in the franchise. While other games in the franchise have advancements, such as reverts, manuals, and faster recovery times, that make this game feel a bit antiquated, the first game in the series has some of the best and most memorable courses in the franchise’s history. Whether you’re shredding curbs in San Francisco, maneuvering through the various humps and verts in Burnside, or going through the classic Warehouse level, courses like these as well as others like the Mall and Downtown will have you coming back to try out new trick lines and discover new special gap bonuses. Not to mention that it had one of the most memorable soundtracks in the franchise.
The first game in the franchise to deviate drastically from the original formula, Tony Hawk’s Underground had a shaky response due to the focus on a rags to riches story rather than gameplay. However, once you push aside the admittedly lackluster story, and you’re left with great gameplay mechanics that open up many possibilities thanks to the removal of the two minute limit taken from the fourth game and the new ability to get off your board and walk / climb to your desired starting point. Physics in the game may be a bit wonky and the courses may not be the most memorable but this is the Tony Hawk game that gives you the most options.
The first game on the new sixth generation of consoles, the third game in the franchise is mostly just a refinement of the previous game with the addition of faster gameplay and the new revert trick. Regardless, the game features memorable courses such as the Foundry, the Cruise Ship, and Suburbia, as well as the quickest and the most responsive gameplay in the Tony Hawk series. It may be lacking in new ideas but this is the Tony Hawk formula polished to a mirror sheen. As a result, it’s arguably the best way to introduce the series to a new player.
The fourth game in the series removes the two minute time limit from the each course, regulating it only for certain challenges and objectives. This is a huge change as it allowed the player to explore and enjoy the course at their leisure while also allowing the course design to be bigger, more expansive and allow for more objectives. While the Tony Hawk games would continue with this format for the rest of the series, it was done here the best, mostly due to the absence of a story and other “jackassery”. Add in memorable courses such as the College, Alcatraz, and an expanded San Francisco as well as arguably the second best soundtrack in the franchise and you have the best game in the franchise the deviated from the classic formula.
The game that made the series the phenomenon it became, I sank hours upon hours into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The courses were well designed and memorable, the objectives were fun to do and plentiful, and the desire to fully upgrade all of the skaters is what kept me playing. Tricks were now customizable and the ability to buy new tricks gave the player more options and made the game more unique to different players who enjoyed to rake in points through different methods. Increasing this was the introduction of the manual trick, which gave more possibilities to those who preferred street skating to vert. Add in the ability to increase each skater’s stats, buy new boards, and the brand new level editor and you have the best Tony Hawk game in the franchise.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you agree with my list? Are you wondering where Underground 2 is? What is your favorite game in the Tony Hawk franchise? Is Tony Hawk’s Project 8 underrated? Do you actually like the Tony Hawk Ride or Tony Hawk Shred? Let me know in the comment section. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind out.