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Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS3) - Guest Review

Can Tony Hawk prove himself again?

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By Richard Bernot

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Grinding

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Grinding

© Activision
Proving Ground (PG) is another installment in the Tony Hawk (TH) pro skater series. Just as in previous TH titles you can expect massive air, sick tricks, and crazy combos. With eight previous titles in the series, is this new and innovative; should I shell out the $60 for yet another Tony Hawk game? What’s new and what’s hot? Read on.

The skinny

Pros:
  • Huge environment to skate
  • Myriad of goals and challenges
  • Customizable Skate Lounge
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Large Soundtrack
  • Great pro skating footage
Cons:
  • Clunky and frustrating camera operation
  • Recording tricks requires setup
  • Voice over inconsistencies
  • Not enough pro skating footage

Poser? Role playing a skater

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Ground Tricks

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Ground Tricks

© Activision
Skater development is the real gem in this new installment and caught my attention immediately. You can now pick between three different class paths. Each class path augments your skater’s basic repertoire and will extend THPG’s story. As an RPG nut, I was attracted to the development paths. Though basic by RPG standards, the paths provided enough RPG elements as to get my senses tingling.

The Career path offers the ability to finely control tricks, utilizing slow motion, in Nail the Trick mode. The Nail the Trick mechanic manifests itself in similar ways for manuals and grabs and each can be combined into a single trick. I felt the force flowing through me as I combined board spins and grabs into a single ridiculous trick. Luke ain't got nothing on this.

Choose your path wisely

The Hardcore path unlocks the aggro kick and skate check abilities. The skate check is a not so gentle shove that will send your target tumbling to the asphalt. Skate checking provides minimal utility as it is only used in a few of the hardcore related goals. However, the skate check serves as a wonderfully violent substitute for the standard diet of carnage I enjoy in any other game. The aggro kick is a rhythmic speed increase that insures you will be cruising at top speed quickly, so you can clear those crazy gaps and get some massive air. I found the aggro kick to be indispensable and it will likely make it into later TH iterations.

The Rigger path unlocks skate park items that can be placed anywhere in the world. You can unlock items that range from standard jumps and rails to outlandish items such as cars, helicopters, and billboards. Rigging allows a player to customize the world into their world and provides a unique method of expression. During online play the rigger path shines as it allows for some great variation from game to game.

Take Your Best Shot

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Bowl Shredding

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground PS3 Screenshot - Bowl Shredding

© Activision
The camera function within THPG is also a great addition to the series. You can place the camera, line it up, aim it, and take a picture by skating through its field of focus. Setup your dream shot anywhere in the world and capture your trick for proof. Because we all know; screenshot or it didn’t happen. Logically accompanying the camera feature is a fully functional video editing feature that allows the creation of custom skate videos. This feature is great, but requires setup, so capturing that sick trick you just pulled out of your butt, is not possible. The camera function is bittersweet and has its downside. Taking pictures within path goals can be clunky and was a source of some frustration. This problem could have easily been remedied had the capture photo button been mapped elsewhere.
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