Nothing to prove in ‘Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground’

John Manalang

There’s the saying, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” But if you’ve been playing the Tony Hawk video game franchise since its first game, “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” in 1999, you may say, “fixing is good.”

Since the Tony Hawk’s first pedal into gaming world, publisher Activision and game developer Neversoft have crafted a near flawless skateboard game mechanic with the Tony Hawk video game franchise. Many have tried to mimic the franchise’s success, such as its latest competitor “sKATE,” but few to none have captured the essence of it. However, the developers should cease their continuous back-patting and self-complimenting because frankly, the game play’s getting outdated and tiring.

With “Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground,” Neversoft yet again decided to implement the same game mechanics but with a few tweaks and improvements. Although the changes don’t make any significant differeces to the game, they are a welcome addition. Much like the previous ‘Underground” games from the series, “Proving Ground” lets players create their very own semi-pro skater and unleash them onto endless grinds, rails, verts and much more.

Not only can players customize their character’s looks but their skills as well. Players can manipulate every skill aspect of their virtual skater – from their grinding balance to the height of their ‘olley.’

A new customization option available in ‘Proving Ground’ are career paths for characters, where players can choose to be a pro street or ‘rigger’ skater. Going pro means following the likes of the man (Tony Hawk) himself and other professional skaters today. Street skaters have a greater edge grinds, jumping gaps and well, knocking off pedestrians. A ‘rigger’ skater is deemed as the innovative career path in the game, where players can set up new trick lines and edit a couple moves.

Speaking of editing, a map editor is also available in Proving Ground. Players can manipulate objects and paste them in to different environments to create their very own skate nirvana. But the process could be cumbersome at times as the menu options often clutter the experience rather than making things much simpler. Still with enough time (and patience), players could get a kick out of it.

The single player mode delivers a great and satisfying experience all through out. Players set out their customized skater to learn at the very hands (or feet) of today’s most popular skateboard artists such as Bob Burnquist, Eric Koston and yet again, the man himself. Although some of the game’s goals are monotonous and confusing the cumulative experience makes up for its shortcoming.

‘Tony Hawk Proving Ground’ rolls in nothing new to the game franchise. For those who still enjoy the series for what its worth, the game still gives the same level of satisfaction and excitement as did the previous games. For those who want to learn a few new tricks or two from the Tony Hawk franchise, go find another skate park.

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