Written by  :  quizzley7 (21743)
Written on  :  Jan 19, 2003
Platform  :  GameCube
Rating  :  3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
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Still a great game, but not as accessible as previous outings.

The Good

There's a lot to like about the Birdman's fourth game. First, of all the time limits for each level have dissappeared. Instead, you can take as long as you like to wander around in the huge levels, and you don't have to re-load the whole level every time you want to try to complete a single goal. Second, the variety and creativity of the different goals is fantastic. They're not all just about collecting junk or getting crazy high scores. In fact, some of them don't even involve skating. Like all of the Tony Hawk games, there is a seriously huge amout of game play here. It would take a really long time to complete every goal and unlock everything.

The soundtrack is great too. Activision did their homework in the band selection. The tracks aren't just pulled from Top 40 radio stations. Instead, they simply sound like good skating music.

Basically, everything that was good about the previous games is still good here. The basic skating gameplay is still as good as it gets for a skating game.

The Bad

While you would think that removing the time limits would make the game easier, Neversoft has, in my opinion, overcompensated for this by making some of the goals nearly impossible. It took me many, many tries to complete some of the goals. It's fun for a while, but it gets old pretty quick when you're trying to pull the same stunt over and over again. I suppose if you're a hard core fan of the series, you expect a serious challenge from this 3rd sequel. But, the increased difficulty makes the game less accessible to the gamer who's only casually interested in the sport.

Graphically, Tony Hawk 4 has fallen a little behind the standard set by the previous games. Sure, the environments are bigger and somewhat more detailed, but they still look blank and sterile. I think better lighting would go a long way towards making the game look more realistic. The GameCube version seems to suffer from some frame rate problems when there are a lot of complex objects on the screen. I don't know if the other platforms have this issue, but it indicates a lack of polish on this version of the game. THPS 1 looked amazing for it's time, THPS4 looks merely average.

The Bottom Line

Activision and Neversoft have done an admirable job of providing something new and worthwhile for Tony Hawk fans year after year. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is a good game for most players, and a great game for fans of the series.