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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PlayStation) artwork

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PlayStation) review


"Tony Hawk’s is probably one of the most ubiquitous franchises of the last decade. It’s appeared on every format made since ollie-ing into the PlayStation park in 1999, and when each game is designed to be built better than the last, playing this eight-year old title is like skating backwards into a time machine. "



Tony Hawk’s is probably one of the most ubiquitous franchises of the last decade. It’s appeared on every format made since ollie-ing into the PlayStation park in 1999, and when each game is designed to be built better than the last, playing this eight-year old title is like skating backwards into a time machine.

It isn’t hard to notice how the franchise has since moved on. The draw-in distance is horrible; half the level draws itself in front of your eyes and trying to locate the good half-pipes is a mere memory game. There’s only a handful of accompanying songs. The controls are a pain to negotiate with when trying to turn the skater around, when in subsequent games the skater navigate around off their board (leading to farfetched level goals), and there are far less tricks on offer.

But despite it supposed sparseness; it doesn’t take long for this bygone PSone title to grow on you again. The game-play is tougher and more down-to-earth. Whereas player had it easy racking up points by grabbing the edge of a ramp and switching positions on later versions, this is not the case here. Points have to be gained the hard way. Grabs and flips have to be pulled off the quarter pipes, balance needs maintaining from the numerous grind tricks, amongst interconnecting the combos off different ramps with manuals. The revert is the only major addition from the PS2 version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. Before landing a vert trick, pressing R2 will allow the combo-chain to continue. After that you can manual to another ramp and rack up the multiplier even more.

Everything here presents what Tony Hawk’s skating games are about, no matter which one you started with. Whereas future releases like Tony Hawk’s Underground added novelty stories with rags to riches scenarios or a World Tour modelled on Bam Margera’s Viva la Bam! TV series, the career mode here is far more down to earth. By choosing either a real-life or custom skater, you start off with only basic stats and accumulate stat points through the levels. Levels are mostly accomplishing a list of goals in just two minutes. Some goals are relatively simple, such as finding five items or the letters that spell SKATE. Others require more masterful skill and precision. Maintaining balance on a long string grind, finding a secret tape through a carefully timed series of jumps and linking high combos to achieve progressively steeper scores are the real challenges here. As a respite from smashing satellite dishes/transformers/trees, there are also three heat competitions. Competing against other skaters, the judges need impressing by pulling off a variety of high-scoring tricks, the best two of three attempts are accounted for. Only a podium finish will do!

The classic two-minute level formula makes this as addictive as any modern Tony Hawks. Inevitably it can be frustrating when you’ve just bailed a 50,000 combo or fallen off the grind pole before the secret tape generates a few snarls. But eventually finding it or achieving a 150,000 sick score immsensely ads to the satisfaction. It may test your patience, angry moments will erupt, but the “just-one-more-go” element isn’t something found find in every game. You won’t realise how often you restart the scenario. Coupled with a spot-on inventory of skate parks, ranging from the generic factory, airport and suburbia levels to real-world locations like Rio, Los Angeles and a neon-covered Tokyo, plus a park creator is at your disposal, there is no question of variety. Unfortunately cars and people have been removed making for a somewhat lifeless feel. But when concentrating on stringing together combos, it’s hardly noticeable.

When Tony Hawk’s games are on tap for every console except the iPhone, truth be told it’s hard to recommend this over eight years worth of since-improved titles spanning two console-generations. However, that doesn’t stop this from being a good title in its own right. If you’re after pure, classic Tony Hawk’s on the console where it all started, THPS3 is a safe bet. The graphics are decent for PSone standards, and the soundtrack line-up is ace, featuring hip-hop by Ozomalti and The Nextmen, punk-metal tracks by Bodyjar and Zebrahead and classics by the Ramones and Motorhead, all accompanying the experience marvellously. Although THPS3 proves it’s not easy to skate backwards, it’s decent when given a chance. There’s plenty of goals to beat and gaps to uncover, providing a perfect example of the old-skool simplicity that has somewhat vanished from recent releases. Ride on!

Rating: 8/10

bigcj34's avatar
Community review by bigcj34 (June 03, 2009)

Cormac Murray is a freelance contributor for HG and is a fanboy of Sega and older Sony consoles. For modern games though he pledges allegiance to the PC Master Race, by virtue of a MacBook running Windows.

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zippdementia posted June 03, 2009:

Okay, Big C, I'm gonna get down and dirty with ya. After reading your Sonic 2 review, I have high expectations for your growth as a writer, and I'm going to take just your first paragraph here and show you how it could be better. As usual, your points and pacing are great, your sentence structure is not.

Here we go.




Sentence 1
"Tony Hawk’s is probably one of the most ubiquitous franchises of the last decade, appearing on every format that has ever been made since opening the world’s eyes to skateboarding PlayStation in 1999."

First of all, this is quite a mouthful. Read it out loud. It doesn't make any sense when it's this long, it just becomes a jumble of words. So our first task is to reduce sentence size.

Now, what are we trying to say here? It seems that you are trying to say that Tony Hawk's is everywhere, or as you actually write, is ubiquitous with gaming. So just say that. Cut everything else out, it's just repetitive fluff, and you're left with:

"Tony Hawk is probably one of the most ubiquitous franchises of the last decade."

Now, that's not a very interesting sentence. And it's not very strong either. It makes a general point and it doesn't even make it with bravado. It sounds unsure of itself. So we're gonna make some more changes, give it some personality, and we're gonna remove that "probably." Probably is a terrible word for reviews. It means you either didn't do your research or you're afraid someone's gonna call you out. Never say probably when making a point.

I also want to personify this a bit. Now that might not be your style, but check out what it does:

"Tony Hawk has skated his way onto every gaming platform since the PS1."

Okay, bam, first sentence done. It's shorter, it's simpler, and it's a little bit more lively. We'll be coming back to it, though, but let's move on for now.

Sentence 2
"But after having enjoyed Tony Hawk’s games on the PS2 and even a bash on the Xbox 360, going back to attempt the third rendition from eight years ago was a severe retrograding fest when each annual Tony Hawk game is designed to be built upon the last."

Alright, another big run on sentence made up of a jumble of words that don't really make sense when thrown together. You mention the Ps2, a bash, a third rendition, eight years ago, a design goal... there's too much here for us to really get what the sentence is about.

Now, reading it, I think your strongest point here is that it was hard to go back and enjoy an old Tony Hawk game when the new ones make so many improvements to the design. So, let's focus on that. Keeping with our personification we started in the last sentence, we end up with something like this:

"However, the eight year old Tony Hawk 3 proves it is much easier to skate forwards than it is to go backwards."

Sentence 3
"Sure, I’ve gone back to playing other favourites on my PSone, but playing an early game sorely missing on since-added features with basic graphics is a severe dive into austere-gaming."

This doesn't run on so badly, but read it out loud. Can you do it? It's like a tongue-twister with all those hyphens and comnmas and spliced sentences. And what does it mean to take a "severe dive into austere-gaming?" I mean, I can work it out after a bit, but you want your point to be immediately clear.

And honestly... I don't think this sentence makes a point that isn't covered in your first two. It basically re-iterates that it's hard to play old games, though it admits you've done it before. That's not very powerful. Let's get rid of this altogether.

So, now we're left with two sentences to open your piece.

"Tony Hawk has skated his way onto every gaming platform since the PS1."

"However, the eight year old Tony Hawk 3 proves it is much easier to skate forwards than it is to go backwards."

I think we can jazz this up a little bit more, and connect the two sentences with some decent personal pro-nounage, to get this:

final sentence
"Tony Hawk has skated his way onto every gaming platform since the PS1, and I've been there with him. However, the eight year old Tony Hawk 3 proves it is much easier to skate forwards than it is to go backwards."

And there you have it. A concise, but clear, opening. It's all your points, and it's mostly your words. I just removed all the fat. That's just the first sentence in this piece, and honestly, most of the piece needs this treatment. But hopefully this has helped you to see where your reviews are failing. Read them out loud, fix up the length and fuzziness of your sentences, and you'll be a top-notch reviewer in no time. Because you have interesting things to say, and that I can't teach you.
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bigcj34 posted June 03, 2009:

OK. I'll have to look at that. I never read my reviews through enough. I think I string to many long sentences together. Always has been a problem with my college essays, mistakes are easier spotted with a fresh look through the next day.
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zippdementia posted June 03, 2009:

Like I've said numerous times, you have the hard stuff down. Now you just have to work on grammar and presentation.
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bigcj34 posted June 04, 2009:

Updated it. Thanks for putting the time in for a very thorough feedback, hopefully its better!

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