Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 Review: Faceplant

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is not only the worst game in the franchise's history, but it may very well be the worst game to be released this year. Yes, worse than Hatred. Our review.

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I have fond memories of playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater with my brothers, spending afternoons trying to out-perform each other's insane score and combos. So when I heard a new Tony Hawk game was in development, I was excited to possibly relive those fun moments with my brothers now that we don't live under the same roof. Shortly after I started playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, I knew that I would not only be unable to relive those days, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Manual Labor

I wrote about the issues with THPS 5’s bugs shortly after it launched. As I said then, I knew I was in for a bad time as soon as I started the game considering the Activision logo was lagging when it popped on screen. But there were many, many, many more than I anticipated. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 features a total of 10 real-world skating pros, although I think the term is used loosely here as I don’t consider Lil Wayne to be a “pro.” Each skater has their own unique set of tricks and styles, which helps in allowing players to find an athlete that complements their play style. Players are also able to customize their skater’s head, body, and deck through the use of collectible cards that can be earned as you play. I decided to play as Tony Hawk, but customize him to look like a blonde woman with a hairy caveman body. 

There are a number of locations available to skate, but the game locks them away until I’m able to earn 15 stars from completing a previous location’s’ missions. While some location staples from the THPS series were included, like a schoolyard, indoor skate park, and beach, some others didn’t play very well. For example: one location is at a construction site which had a lot of gaps that I frequently fell into. It also didn’t help I found it very difficult to reach higher support beams in order to complete the goals of certain missions.

Each stage has a total of 15 missions to complete, although Robomodo didn’t put much variety in what kinds of missions I’d take on. Every stage had a mission which would require me to earn a specific high score, a high combo, collect and deliver random floating items, and more to earn stars. I’m aware the previous THPS games didn’t offer a wide variety in missions, but I’d hope by 2015, we wouldn’t get such a lazy cookie-cutter approach. While the difficulty in some of these missions weren’t too difficult, the constant bugs and poor level design caused some missions to appear impossible to complete, even at the amateur level.

Grind To A Halt

Then there's the much bigger problem. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is a technical mess.

During my time reviewing the game, my character randomly fell off of her skateboard when she obviously didn’t come into contact with anything, parts of my body would become stuck in the environment, and I’d fall inside of obstacles frequently. The game also suffers from poor optimization as I experienced frequent slow downs, stuttering, and camera shaking. The gameplay mechanics have also changed from the original series, but not in a good, progressive way. One new feature I disliked was Slamming, which causes a skater to slam their skateboard down when attempting to grind on an obstacle. I’m quite familiar with the traditional THPS controls, so I know that if I hold down the grind button, my skater would grind on a platform as soon as they make contact. That’s out the door now that Slamming is included as you now need to make absolute sure something is directly underneath the skater in order to perform a grind.

What makes this even more embarrassing is the fact that the game doesn’t exactly push the limits of current-gen consoles. If I had to pinpoint a console generation where I feel THPS 5’s graphics would be considered passable, I’d say it wouldn’t raise as many eyebrows if it was an early PlayStation 2 game. Considering it’s available on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which are capable of offering high-quality games that run at 1080p and 60fps, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5’s poor attempt at cell shade looks terrible.

Kickflip It To The Curb

Even without its technical issues, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, at its core, is a bad game. The graphics are two console generations old, it suffers bad level design, and missions are uninspiring throughout all stages. What makes this whole experience sting even more is the fact that this bad game has so many obvious issues, that even getting through it for the sake of a review was difficult. 


This review is based on a PlayStation 4 code provided by the publisher. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is available in retail and digital stores for $59.99. The game is rated T.

Senior Editor
Pros
Cons
  • Riddled with bugs
  • Poor level design
  • Bad graphics
  • Repetitive missions
  • Lil Wayne is not a "pro" skater
From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 1, 2015 1:50 PM

    Daniel Perez posted a new article, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 Review: Faceplant

    • reply
      October 1, 2015 1:50 PM

      Nice title for the article.

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        October 1, 2015 1:56 PM

        Thanks! It got an applause.gif from SporkyReeve himself!

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      October 1, 2015 2:06 PM

      Well fuck.

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      October 1, 2015 2:11 PM

      I don't know about the graphics being 2 generations old the more I see it. The simple geometry maybe, but the resolution, textures and draw distance are up to early 360/PS3 levels. Still terrible in the sense that it can't even maintain solid framerates at that quality on this hardware. Awful.

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        October 1, 2015 2:15 PM

        But as others have said the graphics wouldn't even matter if the game was fun to play and comparable to the originals. Framerate obviously matters but visually I could deal with what's here if it was a solid THPS experience. Which does not seem to be the case. Plus it's $60! How did they get away with that?

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      October 1, 2015 2:13 PM

      I watch the GB Quick Look and that game looked about as fun as watching flies fuck.

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      October 1, 2015 2:34 PM

      This infuriates me. It's been a long time; I'm ready for new Tony Hawk. (Sorry, I hated Skate and its ploddingly slow realism) I really wanted this to be good :(

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        October 1, 2015 3:19 PM

        Me too...

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        October 1, 2015 3:37 PM

        Yeah Skate was no fun to me.

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          October 1, 2015 3:48 PM

          I loved both series, but they are very different games. It's like Burnout vs Forza. Which I also enjoy both of.

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        October 2, 2015 3:03 AM

        Yeah, same here. THPS was my fucking jam, and this could/should have been great.

        But I rented it and played it myself just to see, and it really is as bad as this article suggests.

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      October 2, 2015 3:27 AM

      Damn. As others have said I was really this would be good. I have so many happy memories of playing thps2 on my ps2 that I was looking forward to rocking it again.

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      October 2, 2015 9:09 AM

      Seriously bummed out about this.