Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Preview
So the secret's out, the mystery package was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. Since we got the game on Monday I couldn't stop playing it for hours. 12:36 the packaged arrived, by 12:40 I was playing the game, and only at 4:48 did I have to stop to actually do some work. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 has been refined over its predecessor, Neversoft is doing a tremendous job of keeping the sequel to Tony Hawk faithful to the original. Mr. 900 returns in his second title along with three extra friends to thrash the streets with. Read hands on impressions and check out the screens of Tony Hawk 2 running in action.
As soon as the game kicked off, right away I noticed that the visuals have been improved over the first one. The skaters look noticeably smoother and are even more detailed that THPS1. Tony and company have received a great overhaul of visual detail, the faces are so detailed that identifying the skaters is a piece of cake. But with awesome character detail comes a little draw back, sad to say but THPS2 has a lot of pop-up issues to be worked out. The copy that the press has been given (which was the copy from the 2000 E3 show) has pop-up which is quite apparent but thankfully not distracting. I'm hoping that Neversoft finds a way to reduce the pop-up or at least cover it up somehow. The textures are another thing that have been dramatically strengthened over the original and boy does it show. No things like rails, buildings and other obstacles have a sharper and more sleek look to them, providing a much more organic feel to everything around you. The first Tony Hawk had reasonably large parks but they didn't compare to those in Street Sk8ter 2 and Grind Session (in terms of area that is). I'm happy to announce that THPS2 has extensively larger areas than the first and equally as big areas as Grind Session and Street Sk8ter 2. Check out the screens for now.
Obviously Tony Hawk 2 will be the best sequel to ever grace the Playstation. No other series has had a sequel that improved over the original so much that it felt like a whole new game. Take the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil 2 improved over the first in every way possible, but it still felt like that same game. Or Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy 8 did have amazing visuals great gameplay but it lacked some of the traits that made FFVII so great, therefore I wouldn't call FF8 the best sequel. On the other hand THPS2 takes everything that made the original great and add some of its own flavor into it, making the experience feel like a whole new one. Here is what I mean, Activision added three new skaters to the roster (Steve Caballero, Eric Koston, and Rodney Mullen), then they added a Create a Skater feature, and to top it all off a Park Editor, genius, pure genius. The Create a Skater mode is very deep, gamers will have to pick a name for the skater, edit his clothing from head to toe (literally), pick weight and stance. The Create a Skater mode almost felt like the Create a Wrestler in WWF Attitude, not as deep but for a skateboarding game it's pretty damn good. The Park Editor is one great ride, you will have over 100 objects to choose from, everything from pools, to rails, kickers, half pipes and quarter pipes, using the Park Editor is like living your wildest skateboarding dream. Not only can you edit the park but the environment as well, you can pick a Power Plant, the outdoors, or an Industrial area. Oh and did I mention that you can also set the size of the park.
We haven't even scratched the surface yet, THPS2 offers even more multiplayer modes than before, you have the standard Trick Attack, Graffiti, H-O-R-S-E, Tag and Contest. The current build of THPS2 had the Tag and Contest modes unavailable so we aren't too sure what they are. What impresses me about Tony Hawk 2 is that the difficulty has changed. You are now required to complete ten objectives instead of the easier five required in Tony Hawk 1. The move set for all characters has been changed, many of the older moves remain but they are done differently than before. Speaking of moves, the special tricks are also different than before, for instance Tony Hawk now has a McTwist (no Kickflip), 900 and a Sacktap. The Career Mode is also slightly different than the previous Tony Hawk, achieving the objectives in every stage earns you money, the money is for updating your stats, so stats are updated manually by buying them. By reading this preview you can now tell how much of a change that the game has gone through, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 will turn out to be one unbelievable game when it arrives this September/October.
The following is the soundtrack that will be provided in THPS2, no doubt about it that a majority of these bands have been seen on MTV at one time or another.
Rage Against the Machine - "Guerilla Radio"
Bad Religion - "You"
Anthrax/Chuck D - "Bring the Noise"
Powerman 5000 - "When Worlds Collide"
Naughty by Nature - "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"
Papa Roach - "Blood Brothers"
The High & Mighty - "B-Boy Document"
Consumed - "Heavy Metal Winner"
Dub Pistols - "Cyclone"
Swingin' Utters - "Five Lessons Learned"
Styles of Beyond - "Subculture"
Millencolin - "No Cigar"
Alley Life featuring Black Planet - "Out With the Old"
Lagwagon - "May 16"
Fu Manchu - "Evil Eye"