Reviewed: October 18, 2007
Released: October 17, 2007
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground takes skating to a whole new dimension on the Wii system and you better have your Wiimote ready. Tony Hawk's has been a franchise of skating games for several years and the latest introduces some new concepts to the ninth game in the line.
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground uses one of three story lines; Rigger, Hardcore and Street that you can follow at will. You learn from the best in skateboarding as you follow on these goal-laden paths with advice and tips while you try your best to keep your board under your feet.
Starting the Tony Hawk's Proving Grounds can be as fast as clicking on a premade character or adjusting and customizing your character to suite your tastes. This customizing is a great feature and a pleasant addition that creates an RPG feel along with the storyline and character building features.
Once you have your character you will start the story mode in the slums of Philadelphia for some skating basics. You can continue further in each career path once you have finished the basics for that career. The story mode follows the three career paths with the Street being the outlaw storyline while the Rigger uses his environment to create the tricks and landscape he needs. The Hardcore storyline will work towards a career of professional skating using the movies and television with a strong emphasis on videos.
The various career paths are very easy to find as you skate around the various scenes in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Baltimore. You spend some time in each area with a variety of landmarks learning from pros and other characters. Many of the tricks are from the other Tony Hawk's games with some added new ones and a few changes and challenges.
Each path will have a variety of goals that you get from the highlighted characters added in each area. Once a goal is completed you will find other people to meet and their goals to accomplish. Each area will also have others in the scene that can be aggressive or helpful depending on the area and character.
Goals include learning new tricks as well as other gameplay elements like shooting video and photos. Proving Ground comes with a nice video-shooting mode that a character will catch at many of your tricks and allow you to edit. The goals in the photo and video career were kind of a disappointment, when you were performing a trick you would have to switch in the middle of a trick to take a picture. This action would ruin your rhythm of the stunt and many of these tricks were difficult due to having to take your own picture and videos.
The various career paths will not be done easily or quickly but can add some great difficulties with each passing accomplished goal. The entire game does have a very good story and comes complete with a very good variety of moves to learn in your skateboarding career. Most of the tricks are a matter of timing and hand eye coordination and not how good you are or how fast your reflexes. This made many of the tricks a matter of trial and error until you got it right.
The Wii controls can be a bit difficult to handle while trying to perform some maneuvers. Using the Wii remote and Nunchuk takes some extra concentration and getting some of the moves down good enough to register as accomplished will take some practice.
The graphics in Tony Hawk's Proving Grounds is really very good for the Wii version, the best yet in realistic graphics with some very good textures and life like scenes. The various aspects of the lower definition system have been utilized to their fullest in Proving Ground and the game just looks great.
Scenery includes not only realistic textures and elements but also customizable and changeable aspects in your character that worked well when you select the various skin tones, bling and other parts of your character. The graffiti and other things like garbage and different aspects of the scenery add a lifelike quality to the general areas that were captured very well.
Of course there are the usual landmarks and nice parts of town but the smaller less noticeable things start to stand out more like telephone lines, railings and pot holes. These look very good and are nicely placed but there are way too many useable scenery items.
In the scenery you have the usual railings and stuff but they have really overdone many of the curves and other usable portions of the streets and have created the world’s largest skate park. If these were supposed to be totally realistic areas they have failed miserably on that part.
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground comes with a complete soundtrack with something like 50 songs related to skating or with tunes that are great to skate to. You can also use the soundtracks in your video editing to create unique video footage.
The voice acting is superb as well as the rest of the game with very good attention paid to getting the lip and mouth movements in sync with the animations. The makers have put a lot of effort into the characters and real life actors and it shows.
The sound effects like hearing the wheels rolling as you speed along adding in your Agro kick to move faster sounds realistic. The effects have been well done and the thuds and smacks when you hit the ground also sound very good, in an embarrassing sort of way.
If you enjoy skateboarding games like the Tony Hawk line you will be skating for weeks to come with Proving Ground. The three career paths will take hours just to get the hang of and to get through all of them at the very basic skill level is a feat. Catching the style and flair of skateboarding and putting it into a video game has been accomplished here with great accuracy.
To accomplish all the Sick level tricks will take a while and I cannot see anyone bragging they have done this completely anytime soon, unless they have a lot of time of their hands. There are plenty of areas to explore to find new places to skate and the rigger has all kinds of places to try out, just look up and around.
Tony Hawk's Proving Grounds is a very good skating game and I have only started to scratch the surface here. The Wii version is very good with a few problems with the controls but the graphics and other portions of the game are really very good.