Saturday, January 30, 2010

Video game number twenty eight: Tony Hawk Proving Ground

Game review number twenty eight in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Tony Hawk Proving Grounds".

I figured after the craptacular Blood Bowl, it was time for a little fun. I've always enjoyed a good Tony Hawk game. Proving Ground is something that's been out for quite awhile now, but I wanted to play this to remind me what a Tony Hawk game is like before I try Ride.

I played this one from about 11pm on Saturday night until after 2am on Sunday morning, without unlocking one achievement. Gone are the days of Tony Hawk 2X where you can skate around town pulling off amazing combos with a few moves you know and button mashing for the ones you don't. Now it's all about accuracy and being precise with your moves. Grind, Manual, do a flip, land on the rail, all without losing your combo....just to pass the first level or two. I was totally stuck on just about every part of the career, even after reading the instructions and checking out the web for guides.

I found a list of cheat codes that make your skater better at manuals and grinds. I thought entering those might help me with a couple of the challenges I was stuck on, but they did not. Apparently, my problem is landing tricks from jumping. It's nearly impossible for me now, probably because I am used to Tony Hawk 2X, the SSX games, SKATE, Amped and other skate/snowboarding titles that aren't this brutally difficult.When I woke up Sunday morning around 9am, I started playing again...and it took me four more hours before I finally got a sponsor and unlocked an achievement. It was beyond frustrating, and several times I wanted to throw my controller at the television. I actually fantasized about how good it would feel to shatter the mirror in the office with my 60 dollar Todd Macfarlane Halo themed controller, but that would be a waste of a collectible (not to mention 7 years of bad luck).

I can't really say this isn't a good game, because there is a lot to do in it. It has everything the old Hawk games had and then some. Unfortunately it's evolved into something so complex that I never want to play it again. Perhaps folks who have been playing since the old school days and have experienced this evolution gradually are enjoying the step up in difficulty, but it's too much for me. It reminds me of how I felt when I played Street Fighter 3 after all those Street Fighter 2 sequels in the arcade. That game turned into something which had lost all of the things I loved about the original. That's exactly what happened here.

I'll still try Ride, but I'll never play this game again.

Overall Rating 1 out of 10. It's just too damned hard for me to get the hang of. It took me over six hours of frustration to unlock the first achievement in the game, and I honestly didn't feel like I could have made it further without tearing body parts off in frustration. It's still more fun than Blood Bowl though. :-)

Here's the one measely achievement I was able to unlock. The only reason I did it was because of this 365 game project. If it hadn't been for this mission, the difficulty would have forced me to quit long ago. I suppose that's a benefit of this project. If I wasn't trying for an achievement, I would have quit. If you ask me in ten days how I feel about this game, my opinion will probably improve...but right now...I'm still mad at it, and hence, the crappy review score.


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