Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix ReviewCain Dornan
The Tony Hawk series of skateboarding titles have long earned themselves a decent reputation for providing a solid, enjoyable take on the extreme sport of skateboarding. With the success of Tony Hawks Underground 2 on home consoles, it was only a matter of time before Activision opted to send the moneymaking, high-selling series onto Sonys impressive portable system. The end result is a satisfying port of Underground 2 onto the PSP, which is virtually identical to its console brother. Apart from the inclusion of four additional levels in the games humorous storyline mode, the game conjures up virtually identical controls, visuals and overall gameplay that was found in its additive console brother.
Veterans of last years console outing will find that Tony Hawks Underground 2 Remix is extremely similar in almost every aspect. The same crew has made a triumphant return, with Jackass Bam Margera offering a thoroughly amusing performance. The games Story Mode, which varies from the games usual career-esque mode that appeared in the Pro Skater series in which the game revolves around a central storyline, pits players into the role of an unknown skater as you attempt to make yourself known on Bam and Tonys World Destruction Tour. Essentially, the tour sends you around the world in a crazy skating fest to determine the overall best skater. Naturally, there are no plans to slowly dawdle around the world and skate on authorized skating parks in an orderly fashion. Rather, you will be turning large sections of cities into your personal citizen-terrorizing skating haven. Such famous locations include Bondi Beach in Australia, Boston in the USA and a classic bull-riding adventure in Spain make a triumphant appearance, providing a varying range of objects and obstacles as you attempt to complete a set collection of goals.
With each level, you will begin as your unknown fictional character, who is tasked with a variety of challenges that will vary from performing a specific move or combo in a limited area or causing destruction by smashing the remaining windows in an abandoned hotel. A selected famous skater will also be playable, which varies with each level, complete with a separate range of challenges that are usually slightly more difficult than the challenges found with your created character. Adding a bit of tasty variety is the inclusion of additional guest skaters, which range from a barbeque-equipped shrimp vendor on Bondi Beach through to Ben Franklin in Boston. Apart from the humorous visual difference, these skaters also offer a small collection of challenges, which usually stick to the characters background.
For those who grow tired of the games Story Mode, the developer has kindly included a singe player experience that is presented in the classic style. The Classic Mode presents a goal-driven single player experience that is presented in the style that was used throughout the Tony Hawks Pro Skater series. After playing the more interesting Story Mode, it is somewhat difficult to take a step-back and participate in a mode that is obviously several years old. As a result, the Classic Mode is really only intended for the hardcore skating fan, or those who wish to squeeze every once of lifetime available.
Underground 2 Remix includes the ability to get off your skateboard and roam around the locales on-foot, which was first introduced in the original THUG. A new inclusion, however, is the ability to freak out when you bail from an unsuccessful move. Essentially, this ability allows you to re-gain lost points by repeatedly tapping the triangle button to fill an on-screen meter as quickly as possible. The more of the meter you fill, the more points you will be repaid.
The famous Create-A-Something modes make a fantastic return, allowing you to create your own skater, graffiti tag or goal. The simplistic and easy-to-use tools allow for virtually anyone to pick-up and quickly begin forming their own creations.
Underground 2 Remix supports wireless multiplayer LAN gaming, allowing players to participate in all of the multiplayer levels that were evident in the its console counterpart. The classic Trick Attack is available for those who wish to do nothing more than compare their trick skills with their friends, while a small range of more interesting and fun modes offer a more social experience. Scavenger Hunt, for example, requires players to collect objects, with whoever collects the most wins. Slap involves participants to slap each other as much as possible within the time limit. Firefight is similar to a deathmatch shoot fireballs from your skater in order to kill your opponent. The last one standing wins.
Visually, Tony Hawks Underground 2 Remix is quite impressive. The in-game graphics are clearly equal to its Playstation 2 origin, offering a range of atmospheric levels that include a style of detail that perfectly suits the games sport that it is based off. Character animation whilst in game is smooth and realistic, performing a large range of moves and resulting to numerous occurrences in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, some jutting animation and bland facial detail during cutscenes is somewhat disappointing, an aspect that we are sure developer Shaba Games could have polished further.
In the audio aspects, Underground 2 Remix manages to accurately offer a collection of realistic sound effects that range from the sound of the skateboard rolling over numerous surfaces through to the bone-crushing sounds as your skater slams into the pavement after failing to successfully land on the half-pipe. A range of quality voice-overs also aid in presenting an authentic audio experience.
While the Playstation Portable has launched with an expansive variety of titles that safely cover almost all genres, it is evident that the sports genre has somehow been overlooked. Activisions acclaimed Tony Hawks series was certainly a worthy candidate of taking the pathway of console-to-handheld port, with the end result being a satisfying experience that will keep the skateboarding enthusiast satisfied during their long train journeys.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.