Pro Skater 5 leads to inevitable disappointment

Photo courtesy of Robomodo and Disruptive Games

Those who grew up playing wildly popular, punk-fueled Tony Hawk games were awaiting the arrival of “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5” (THPS5) for a while. After a string of truly awful games in the franchise (Ride, Shred, and Motion) was released across varying platforms, THPS5 was the chance to revive the series and bring back the unforgettable joy provided by the early Tony Hawk titles.

“Pro Skater 5” failed in almost every aspect. It is broken at the core and filled with a multitude of glitches and bugs that mar the game as a whole. New developers Robomodo and Disruptive Games rushed the release as the franchise licensing was soon to expire, leaving the game fundamentally flawed.

The gameplay is generally the same as previous installments in the Pro Skater series. Maps based on real-world cities are filled with objectives, gaps and missions that skaters can maneuver and explore. Robomodo made a good move to revert the controls back to their roots — no more standing on a clunky piece of plastic or hopping off your board.

The trick options remain the same: grinds, flips, grabs, and inverts are all present. The only new addition in this area is the “slam” button, which inconveniently takes the place of the grind button while in mid-air. Slamming allows the skater to fall back quickly to the ground, intended to help the player continue combos, but usually ruining them.

Players familiar to the series may find themselves settling back into the groove of stringing together long lines of tricks and learning their skill set. However, upon a lengthy session of play, the maps become blasé and uninspired. Many levels are a confused hodgepodge of fixtures, and elements from previous Pro Skater levels without any sense of flow. Collision detection glitches are everywhere thanks to poorly textured surfaces and confusing edge boundaries.

The general requirement to advance from map to map is to accomplish a set number of tasks. Among them are the familiar high score challenge, finding the secret tape and collecting S-K-A-T-E.

Stat points are scattered around each map and can be applied to a created skater, albeit with almost no tangible difference on the gameplay. Where older Pro Skater games had a great sense of progression throughout the campaign, THPS5 leaves the players unrewarded with their rather grueling journey through the game.

Online gameplay is a complete mess. Connectivity issues plague this mode, and private sessions are effectively impossible to start.

Game lobbies are limited to one map, and inviting friends to the party is still unacceptably buggy, despite a hefty 7.7 GB download before the game initially loads. A patch is much needed to make multi-player even half-accessible, let alone worthwhile.

“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5” provides elusive moments of joy in its gameplay that are unfortunately shrouded in clunky gameplay full of bugs and glitches. Those looking for interesting levels, character progression, or even just a solid soundtrack will be gravely disappointed.

The fact that this video game has a $60 price tag is an insult to Tony Hawk fans. To put it simply, the franchise’s newest installment is hard to enjoy.

Overall: 1/5