Once in a while, I browse the App Store as I am downloading various updates for the applications on my iPod Touch. Over the past few months, I have become increasingly impressed with the quality of apps being released on the store. The first app I can really remember being surprised at was Call of Duty: Zombies. After a few weeks of speculation on the price ($9.99), I decided to buy it. The first time I loaded up the app, I was pretty surprised. The graphics on this app far surpassed the graphics on the entire DS version of World at War. This surprised me, and disappointed me with the Nintendo DS. How is it that an iPod, an MP3 player can produce higher quality visuals than a Nintendo DS, and handheld game console. The next app that surprised me was Plants vs. Zombies. Being a hit on the PC, I heard nothing but great things about the game. It was the same thing for the iPhone App. It is one of the few games on the store that has a 5 star rating. Once again, the iPod Touch impressed me. This little device is producing top notch games at great prices. How is all of this possible? When I saw Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on the store, I responded with something like, “Wow, this is going to suck!” After playing the Application, I can easily tell you that this app does not suck. This is a great way to relive the past on the go, while having fun!
The App’s gameplay is essentially identical to the 2000 version of the game. The Career Mode still consists of using 2 minute runs to find the secret tape, accomplish various goals, and bring in high scores. The career is exactly the same as the THPS2 we all know and love. As for the Create a Skater/Skatepark modes, they are not present here. That is pretty unfortunate in my opinion, as those modes really enhanced the gameplay experience. However, the Career Mode still has a ton to offer, so I am not crying. Another low point here is that the game does not have the series classic multiplayer game modes. Considering the fact that the iPhone/iPod Touch is a device that connects to the internet, online multiplayer was a definite possibility for the developers here. That would have made this game incredible, and added hours of replay value to it. Here is a list of other features that have been included and left out.
Obviously, the iPod Touch has a touch screen, not a controller. This means that all of the game’s controls are present on the touch screen. A mock D-Pad is placed in the left side of the screen, that acts just as a controller would when touched. As for jumping, grinding, flipping, and grabbing, the four buttons are placed on the right side of the screen, in rhombus form. So basically, if you have played Tony Hawk games before, there is nothing new here. There is however, a learning curve. When first playing the game, adjusting yourself to the touch screen buttons can be a bit frustrating, especially so with the D-Pad. However, after a few hours of playing (1-2), you will steadily become more and more comfortable with the controls. However, they are not perfect, as the touch screen does cause complications, such as accidentally hitting the wrong buttons. It is surprising how much more difficult a game becomes when a controller is not available. In my opinion, 1-2 hours is not that much time to grasp a game’s control scheme, but some gamers need to be ready to go right off the gate. I am not one of those people. The controls are the weakest point of the game, and if there was one reason for you not to buy this, the controls are that reason.
The most impressive part of the game is the graphics. They are completely on par with the console version of this game. Some may think, well the game was created in 2000, so that really isn’t that big of a deal, but it is. A remake of Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland was released for the DS in 2005, and the graphics were horribly worse than the console version of the game. It just blows my mind that a cell phone/MP3 player is able to pull this off. The graphics are incredible, and an assuring notice that gaming on the iPod Touch/iPhone is turning into a very quality ordeal.
The games sound is pretty much identical to the console companions of the game, except for one thing; The soundtrack is completely different, which bothers me immensely. The likes of Anthrax were replaced by relatively unknown bands, and for what reason? The original soundtrack for Pro Skater 2 was for me arguably the best in the entire series. It was raved about through the gaming community as well. Changing it just does not make sense to me. They always say, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” That term applies great here.
Over the years, handheld games have always been the knockoffs of console games. It still rings true today, but the iPhone is slowly changing that. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a true vision of the future of handheld gaming. It is slowly returning to be the high quality experience that it once was. Buying this game for $4.99 (current price) is a complete steal. The GameBoy versions of this game cost around $39.99, and they were nothing like the real thing. Here, this is the real thing, and it is a fraction of that price. I would recommend this App to any fans of the THPS series, or skateboarding games in general. This App blows the likes of Touchgrind out of the water.
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