Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (Superman 64 2)

How do you review a new entry in a beloved franchise that was developed by talent-less people (just like us) in the same time frame it took me to write this? Incredibly harshly of course!

DISCLAIMER: This article originally appeared when we were known as NoClipp. Times have since changed. Our garbage content hasn't.

Coming into THPS 5 I was not expecting much. I knew developer Robomodo didn't exactly have an illustrious track record on the series, or on any game for that matter. It just felt like enough time had elapsed for the world to have its next skateboarding fix. A lighter title that hearkened back to the fundamentals of the first 4 games would have been suffice, as long as it was mechanically and technically sound. Unfortunately, this game suffers from severe glitches and bugs that render it almost unplayable. The level design, presentation, features and gameplay (essentially everything) also suffer from the same fate of abysmal mediocrity.

The rushed development is immediately apparent as soon as this virus is inserted inside your system. Despite the on-disc data measuring at a paltry 4.6GB, you're presented with a 7+GB patch which is imperative to playing. Without it, you'll only be granted access to the tutorial and credits as it seems the game was never finished. If you're a gamer without internet this is a disguised blessing, as at this point you should do a 900 and run. (yep I wrote that) Activi$ion insinuated that the update was to address server and connectivity issues but that is simply not true, as that aspect is just as shit as the rest of it!

Appearing on THPS5 leaderboards is like walking into a mall and calling yourself a dumb cunt.

After laughing at the company intro's as they glitch visually and audibly, the far below par development begins to reveal itself with an immediately apparent, D-grade presentation. This would be fine if it were sold for $10 and advertised as such, but THPS5 was released at a ballsy full price. If alarm bells weren't ringing they certainly should be now, as this package is includes barely any content. Don't let the Skater Bio's and Credits fool you, they are merely padding to hide the lack of game-play modes. Oh and does that say Customize skater instead of Create-A-Skater? I'll get to that later.

For now let's focus on the fundamentals found inside Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. To me, it's about skateboarding in various locales, (both realistic & fantastical)  completing insane combos and objectives that adhere to an arcade style, while punk and skating culture ooze throughout. There were storylines and other modes infused over the years, but at Pro Skater's heart the above stands true. Sadly in THPS 5, even this basic principle is missing, and nothing showcases this more than the first level "The Berrics".

Usually the first level showcases what's in store for the rest of the experience, albeit at a more forgiving difficulty. Unfortunately 'The Berrics' does just that it's a completely uninspired, unenjoyable, pathetically designed and technically inferior, embarrassing mess. It's essentially another warehouse; except this time without any effort or hindsight. It's completely bland in every regard, to the point that I'm sure many Create-A-Parks found in THPS3 would eclipse this "professionally crafted" stage.

Not even the blatant product placement can hide the vast problems in the rest of the empty stages. Bonfire Beach is probably the best level but that's not saying much, Mega Park is filled with speed pads which make the player uncontrollable, Rooftops is a convoluted mess, Asteroid belt runs at 2 frames per second and Mountain is just a downhill slope with some ramps and rails lazily thrown in. Fan favourites"School" and "Bunker" return, yet are somehow inferior than their original renditions. They're riddled with gimmicky power-ups, which fall flat on their face more than Tony "Ride 1+2" Hawk does when you try to control him.

The menu font is pathetically re-used for the 'Golden Springs' Logo.

I should also note that Robomodo included a very basic level editor which enables players to share their creations online to hide the lack of content, but due to the utter failure that THPS 5 has become, they're non-existent.

The missions utterly SUCK. knocking giant balls out of a pool, collecting 100's of Ice cream cones and zoning through rings with shit controls like Superman 64 is not fun. Neither is a quick game of 'Tony Says' which doesn't trigger or finding collectables that aren't even hidden. That's a surprisingly large sampling of whats to offer, as these missions along with your typical High Score/Combo are recycled on each level, and only become more tedious with each appearance.

Playing through the missions to unlock the rest of the game for the sake of documenting it was absolute torture, to the point that I think North Korea are actually considering using THPS5 to inflict pain on its enemies.

To coincide with the poor level design and mission structure, technical issues render THPS5 borderline unplayable. The series was renowned for having tight controls, mechanics and well... gameplay that works while Neversoft was at the helm, but that's no longer the case. I've never had an issue with tricks not registering or combo's randomly ending until now and it's a frequent occurrence.

The biggest fuck-up of all is the 'Slam' mechanic. It's mapped to the grind button which is the dumbest decision I could imagine, as literally everyone who holds that button in anticipation of their next grind will be delightfully slammed to the ground instead. (There's also no way to rectify this) Grinding in itself is also broken, as you seemingly snap to a rail a mile away instead of the intended one directly in front of you.

I've already bored you to death describing this pile of shit, but there's just so many problems that I can't stop. The points multiplier is broken, many objectives don't register, the physics are bizarre, the geometry glitches, the music stutters, the game runs at 10fps, momentum is broken, spine transfers are broken, it constantly crashes, textures don't load, mission markers don't register, HUD elements overlap, the level clipping disappears...

Don't fucking lie! (Taken from Robomodo's website)

The game is just infuriatingly tedious with absolutely zero flow. Multiple missions can't be completed at once in the 2 minute time limit any more as each one is picked individually. To select a new mission you have to return to free skate, bare multiple loading screens and then return to try another. Don't expect to quickly retry a mission you may be having trouble with, as the Retry feature takes a crippling amount of time to return you to the starting point. If you feel like changing missions while you're already completing another, there's no other option but to return to the main menu, re-select a level, and then pick your mission again as there's no "End Run' to select. How the fuck did that happen??

Other fundamentally missing features include: No Customisation, No true Create-A-Skater, (You can only edit an existing skater's cosmetics) No NPC's in levels, no trick editing, core tricks are missing, no Vert or Grind trick switching, no music information, no quick bail, no sharp turns, map view adds nothing, no competitions, no GRAFFITI, even the B button doesn't cancel out of menus, there are less levels included than the original released in 1999, no content period...

God I wish I could end this shit review already but there's more that needs to be said. Fuck.

Robomodo tried to create an always online enviornment that would pull other players into your game while you played. It also doesn't work. Skaters stand stationary in the starting position for the entire duration. If you're lucky enough to actually encounter a player who's active, The only thing you'll want to do is be an asshole and collide into them to ruin their combo line. Unfortunately you'll pass right through, but the the game might tell you that you ran into "xxBonerPussSlayer69xx" if that's any consolation.

Even if Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5 was polished and functioned perfectly, it would still be a disgrace to the franchise. The design and mechanics are so far removed from where they should be that it's obvious Robomodo had no idea what made Tony Hawk's Pro Skater great to begin with. With an incredibly short development cycle imposed by Activision, the effort made here is still unacceptable. This series deserved better and there was a reason it was so highly acclaimed commercially and critically. It's not like Robomodo were starting from scratch, they had over 15 years of history to copy from.