MTV Sports: Skateboarding Featuring Andy McDonald Review
With the fine breed of skateboarding games we've been receiving, of course Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 being the undisputed king, I thought that developers would realize the great lengths that they would have to go through in order to please skating fans. Street Sk8er was a very edgy approach towards the skateboarding genre, the game featured no real life skaters, instead had shirtless ones with tattoos and baggy clothing. Grind Session leaned more towards Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and even played eerily similarly to it. Grind Session had real-life skaters and included real courses. Both of the games sold reasonably well, although Grind Session sold better due to the commercial that Sony would broadcast over and over again. But the sales of both games combined came nowhere near the sales figures that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 has in the past two weeks. Nothing is able to stop Tony Hawk's fame, THPS2 perfected almost every category, visuals, gameplay, sound and even control, but what's this? There is another skateboarding game on the horizon, but you can't tell if this one is a juggernaut or or a little wind-up car, because of the fog. Let's see THQ is publishing it and Darkblack is developing it. Hmmm... big name publisher with never before heard of developer, equals one horrible skateboarding game that Andy Mac should definitely not be proud off.
The Tony Hawk engine is without a doubt the most robust Playstation game engine ever and the MTV Sports Skateboarding engine is without a doubt the most rusted game engine. In Tony Hawk everything was sharp and smooth, but MTV everything is just so grainy. The textures such as half-pipes have very minimal detail, Darkblack needs to take a cue from Neversoft in creating structures that actually have polish to them and not just 'whole wheat grain'. With the textures looking like a crushed box of cereal, I thought maybe character detail would make up for it, 'puh-lease' who am I kidding. Skaters look so weak that I don't even know where to start, first of all the body structures are preposterously frail. THPS2 features bodies that almost replicate the corresponding skaters body in the real world. In MTV the same body is used repetitively with an altered face and some different clothes. In Tony Hawk, when a skater barely lands a trick he would sort of crouch down and you would see his hands sway just a liitle bit to keep balance, in MTV you just fall. When grinding in THPS you are allowed to grind for as long as you can stabilize yourself, in MTV you grind for two seconds and then you fall, that pretty much proves to me that Darkblack didn't even want to include different animations for balance and just keep the skater the way he/she is. Environments also lack in depth, there isn't much to explore and absolutely nothing to surprise your self with. MTV Sports Skateboarding just doesn't have the genius designs of THPS2 or even THPS, the game falls short in every visual aspect, even at frame rate, the choppy looking moves also don't cut it for me. No matter how big of an Andy Mac fan you are you must stay away from this monstrosity.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 features lighting fast action, with intuitive course design and some sharp responsive controls. Now take all of that, reverse it and you have MTV Sports Skateboarding. Playing this game is a drag, the skaters move unbearably slow and even when they push off it makes no difference what so ever. With this tedious amount of speed, how do you expect to get some air? Well I've got news for you, just try pulling of a 540 safely without bailing, the amount of air you get is about a fourth of the air you accumulate in THPS2 with a skater who's stats are default, it's that low! There are over ten skaters to choose from, but for some terrible reason they all have similar stats, unlike THPS2. There are only four different stats that skaters feature and that includes, acceleration, balance, maneuverability and rotation, unlike Tony Hawk 2's ten different status bars. The modes are completely uninspired, the Stunt Mode is where a skater would launch him self off a straight shoot ramp (kind of what stunt bikers use when they jump over ten cars), it would've been cool, IF YOU CAN GET TO THE OTHER SIDE! Because of the horribly unresponsive controls, timing your jump is a misery that can not be over come, and even if you do everything correctly you'll still be kissing the floor, good going Darkblack. Freeplay is where you choose a real skater and skate in a park, Lifestyle is a mode where you choose fictional skaters and try to build up their stats as they progress through the game. High Score mode is self-explanatory and MTV Hunt is where you have to collect ten MTV logos that are spread out through the stage. MTV Sports Skateboarding is without a doubt the most poorly executed skateboarder out there, don't worry though, although this game sucks big, THQ's MTV Sports Pure Ride game is great, I'll have a review on that just a little later.
Surprisingly the sound isn't half as bad as I would expect. The song for the intro was an incredibly stupid choice, but other than that bands such as Cypress Hill and System of a Down make the sound what it is. The music is decent but since the game is a pile of turd, you will get absolutely no adrenaline rush out of it. The sound effects are extremely lackluster, when your skateboard is in motion you'll hear the same sound as the wheels run on the asphalt and when your skater bails he won't even let out a grunt out of pain, instead you hear something that is more of a block of hollow wood dropping on the ground. The sound track is decent but the rest of the sound is lacking.
Oh man, this game reeks from unresponsive controls! I haven't felt such unresponsive controls since Dragon Ball GT Final Bout. After releasing X the skater would then execute the Ollie, rather than doing it right away. Pulling off moves is the worst, sometimes tricks won't come out and sometimes they will come out for no reason. I tried to do a Heelflip, and found myself pressing the motion four times until the skater would then do the trick and bust his ass on the floor. Because of the controls, I felt cheated out of what may have been a decent game, if Darkblack took a cue from Neversoft, speeded up the game engine and tightened up the controls, then the game would have been much better than what it is, but as it stands now, I feel as if MTV Sports Skateboarding is an incomplete product that needed much more than a few months to be fully completed.
Once again, no matter how much you love Andy McDonald I suggest staying away from the game and picking up Tony Hawk 2, even if you hate Tony Hawk. If you want to buy this game that's fine with me, but don't say I didn't warn you when all of your friends leave you, go ahead hit that "BUY" button that is if you want to put an end to your social life. Just purchase Tony Hawk 2 to end your social life... err, in a good way that is, you just can't go wrong with the game. Now as my closing statement; is anybody interested in a free copy of MTV Sports Skateboarding? It's broken into about thirty pieces but if you crazy glue them all together, in works like new... I think.