This year’s Summer of Arcade promotion has been a contentious one, most would agree it was one of (if not the) weakest offerings we’ve seen since the promotion began in 2008.
Now that all the games have been released, we here at XBLA Fans thought it’d be a good time to look back at the five games that were part of the promotion. Starting today and continuing every weekday we will be posting a roundtable discussion between our writers, focusing on a game a day. We’ll be going by order of release so let’s kick things off with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.
Andrew Crews: I’ll start by saying this is one of my most hated experiences on my XBox 360 since I’ve owned it.
Shawn Saris: Yeah I liked it a bit more than that, but why did you hate it Andrew?
Andrew Crews: It was not all there, they slapped the Tony Hawk name on a game that did not control like a Tony Hawk game. Everything seemed off and control in that game is by far the most important thing to focus on.
Shawn Saris: See I didn’t think controls were that bad. They didn’t feel tight like a new game, say Skate.
Andrew Crews: All the years of muscle memory you had from the golden days of this franchise was disrespected and spit on.
Christine Mitchell: I do think there was something funny with the controls. Or at least I certainly wasn’t as good as I remembered I was.
Steve Melton: Totally disagree. Played the original THPS alongside this for review and felt like this was great.
Andrew Crews: As I have said before though, you might not notice it if you play the game casually or anything less than super-competitively. But for me Tony Hawk is a bragging game, I used to tear that game up as a kid and I’ll be damned if those skills are not going to transfer.
Shawn Saris: Yeah I am with Steve, I felt they were quite similar. Maybe its just been to long for me, I can safely say I haven’t played THPS in many, many years
Andrew Crews: You can’t really notice it until you start trying to do all the in-game objectives or try to make 500K combos left and right but for me that’s what THPS is.
Steve Melton: I’ll concede that while I love the entire THPS series (board peripheral aside) I was never a multi-million combo scorer, yet I didn’t have any problems with the objectives.
Shawn Saris: I thought the price was a bit much and with DLC coming, the price will add up quickly.
Andrew Crews: For 1200MSP for whatever the finished product will be, that is fair. But it looks like it could end up costing a total of 25 or maybe 30 dollars if DLC keeps coming and that is a bit much.
Steve Melton: The lack of splitscreen is what really irked me. THPS was always a local competition. Online is fun, but it desperately needed both.
Christine Mitchell: I never play split screen, I prefer to take turns passing the controller.
Andrew Crews: Me either, I played split-screen a few times and remembered hating having half of the TV.
Christine Mitchell: Yeah it’s too squashed for the attention you need to give it.
Shawn Saris: I don’t ever play splitscreen either, but certainly seems like it could have been added for even the few who do.
Steve Melton: Again I’d have to say I was really happy that Activision attempted to give players what they wanted. Whether they succeeded or not seems to be a split issue amongst critics, but at least they’re listening.
Andrew Crews: Did anyone else have extreme performance issues with the game as well? Things like falling through the levels in to space, gaps and objectives not registering, etc?
Christine Mitchell: I had a few issues where I “flew” off the map. If I got too near a wall it sort of threw me into the air and wedged into the wall. Very odd.
Andrew Crews: And in projectives, when I collect the 8 skateboards, they never disappear which makes it really hard at times to remember if I picked that one up already. It seemed like when I wasn’t fighting controls, I was fighting the performance issues and this is why I hated it so much. It was rarely fun for me.
Shawn Saris: I think it is an ok game, but the price really hurts it in my eyes. I think at 800, it would of been a much easier sell. The gameplay is solid if not entirely there at times and it certainly is a faithful recreation
Steve Melton: It ended up being a game that more hardcore players won’t enjoy for it’s finesse issues, but those who are a bit more on the casual side will get oodles out of it.
Andrew Crews: Half-assed at best for the start of the SoA promotion. Also thought the demo was one of the worst demos I have ever seen. If it didn’t have franchise recognition, nobody would have bought it after trying the demo.
Christine Mitchell: I found it fun but the longer I played it the more frustrating I found it. I haven’t played it since Wreckateer came out.
Shawn Saris: I do agree the demo is awful.
Christine Mitchell: I would say I was on the “casual” scale and found it frustrating. I can see why the demo was short because I knew a lot of people who played the original THPS’s demo for years.
Andrew Crews: There are a lot of head scratchers in unlocks too. If you beat the game with Tony Hawk, you can’t access those levels with another skater. What is that?
Christine Mitchell: Yeah I started with Tony hawk and then wanted to play with my avatar but I’d need to redo all the objectives. No thanks!
Andrew Crews: I will say that they meant well with the mini-map too but when you complete an objective, they should disappear from that map and clear up some of the clutter. I like that they acknowledged players want to know where everything was and not forcing them to go to the internet to find that info was a smart move.
Christine Mitchell: I’ve got mixed feelings, I was disapointed but I’m not sure if that’s just because I’d hyped it up too much.
Shawn Saris: Seemed like a decent game. I think if you liked Tony Hawk before you will still like it now. If it is ever on sale, then a definite buy in my eyes
Andrew Crews: I really hated this game and of the dozens of people I have talked to about it, Steve is literally the only one I have ever heard defend it. Late night party chat sessions, work discussions and talks with my friends are all negative about this game. If you want to play it casually then go for it and you might enjoy it. But for me, Tony Hawk was always a hardcore game and you should stay far away from this game if you are the same way. It is frustration in digital form.
Check back tomorrow for our Wreckateer discussion. In the meantime let us know what you thought about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD in the comments, worth of Summer of Arcade or a lackluster update to a classic?