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Tony Hawk's Project 8

Bloodied and bruised from his PS3 debut

Tony Hawk is probably the greatest skater of all time, but the game he's happily appeared in for so many years is stumbling along
like a kid who's just got his first board. For reasons best known only to someone we hope has now been sacked, the online play options that really make the Xbox 360 version have been dumped from PS3. Given the delay between the launch of the PS3 in the US and the UK, we expected something to be done about this. That's a huge selling point gone for no good reason.

Sadly, the game's problems don't stop there. The loading times are appalling, even grinding away on the character selection screen, and they're made worse by unskippable movies before the game has even started. If you aren't in a bad mood by the time you actually get to do some skating, then we salute you.

But for all that - and it's a very big 'but' given the score on the right - the actual skating is as good, if not better, than ever. Ignore the weak storyline and you can only admire the way you gain access to the huge city pretty rapidly and have the choice of completing tricks on three different difficulty settings. It doesn't take very long before you're inundated with tons of challenges and objectives, or if you want, you can ignore those for a while and just skate around tricking and racking up points.

Project 8 gets the balance right between moving you along in linear fashion towards your goal of joining Tone's elite team and giving you enough freedom to dick around without the city becoming daunting. The true expert skaters may even try using the Sixaxis to pull off tricks, which is actually possible after a lot of practise and much flinging about of the controller. It's telling that the default control scheme turns the Sixaxis off.

And that sums up the Project 8 experience on PS3 pretty well: a bit half-arsed. The game in general is muted by glitches, slowdown and painful loading times, while the best things about it - the online play options - have been removed. If the series is to last as long on PS3 as it did on PS2, then everyone involved must try harder.

The verdict

Still very good,but will definitely go down as a 'what might have been' game.

  • Tricking as satisfying as ever
  • Huge world and plenty to do
  • No online play
  • Laborious load times
PlayStation 3