Tony Hawk's Project 8 Review
Tony Hawk's Project 8 box art
System:X360, PS3, PS2, X Review Rating Legend
Dev: Neversoft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov 2006 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 - 8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
Review by Patrick 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Tony Hawk teaches everyone that you can teach an old dog one new trick but little else.
by Patrick Evans

After seven different games over seven different years, the Tony Hawk franchise has gotten a little stale. How many kick-flips and board grabs can one person do before ultimately becoming bored and turning it off? Project 8, the title that was to strip the series down and build it from the ground up, failed to sidestep many of the trappings of earlier titles. It’s almost as if Neversoft threw the best parts of all the games before and slapped a new coat of paint on it. Sure, the Nail the Trick mode is awesome and really fun to master, but the rest of the title feels dated. Additions to the control scheme using the SIXAXIS feature are fresh for a while, but even this addition becomes stale after a time.

Tony Hawk’s Project 8 screenshot

The “storyline” doesn’t help matters any, only serving as an excuse to continue skating. Tony Hawk is looking for the top eight amateur skaters in the world, and he’s stopping off in your hometown to scout the local talent. Everything grind that you perform and challenge you tackle moves you closer and closer to those top eight spots. If you do well enough to earn “Pro” or “Sick” on challenges, then you move up the ladder a little quicker and can move into the top four, or even as high as number one.

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Again, the storyline is no more than an excuse to throw you on rails, half-pipers and ramps to try the same three-dozen tricks over and over again. Well that, and to toss as many pro skateboarders in your face as humanly possible. Pros like Bob Burnquist, Bam Margera, Rodney Mullen, and Tony Hawk himself will challenge you to perform different demos and tricks. Our favorite, as described in the Hands-on preview we did last month, was Daewon Song’s challenge. Instead of the basic “perform for this crowd” challenge, Song’s involves moving buses and rails around to grind from one platform to another on the other side of the street. The first time through I was challenged by both what pieces to use and the actual execution, but pulling it off was more satisfying than most of the rest of the game.

Tony Hawk’s Project 8 screenshot

Completing these challenges not only moves you up the list of amateur skaters but also unlocks “Pro Trick” to watch at your leisure. In Pro Trick mode, players can watch the raw motion-capture footage of all the pro skaters in Project 8, moving the camera around to focus on the board. Watching the pros like this is akin to watching a pro film; the action is cool the first two dozen times you watch it, but after a while you just want to move on to something else.

Tony Hawk’s Project 8 screenshot

To further grovel at the feet of pro skaters, Neversoft also threw in Jason Lee, the former pro skater turned actor. Sporting the “Hi, My Name is Earl” beard, Lee introduces the sponsorship feature. Companies like Volcom, DVS, and Element will sign you and provide you with a free deck, but they are useless otherwise. You aren’t even awarded Stokens, the Project 8 currency, for signing like other titles that use name brands in this way. When you unlock the sponsorship, you’ll go “huh, cool I guess” and hit the next half-pipe.

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