Canada, Airport, and LA
The Tony Hawk series has had a bumpy ride lately. Although I noted my small affinity towards Shred in my Quest to beat every Tony Hawk game ever this year, it was too little too late: Activision had lost most of its market and former fans had become jaded.
Tony Hawk HD was an attempt to rekindle the love for said franchise, and I’d say they only partially succeeded. Although “HD” does recapture a lot of what made the series great in the first place, a lot of people outright didn’t like the lack of levels, the glitches, and how different the physics system was: all valid complaints.
But where Activision nearly lost everyone entirely was the way they handled the first, and only announced DLC pack. First, it was supposed to offer reverts only in the three scant levels the pack offered.
Then it was delayed for months on end, with little to no feedback on when it would actually be released. Then reverts were suddenly patched into every level in the game, and now, we’re ready to see what Robomodo has been working on all this time.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Revert Pack DLC
Release: December 5, 2012
MSRP: $4.99 (400 MSP)
As I stated above, reverts have already put into every level by way of a free patch, so you don’t need to buy the pack to experience them. Keep that in mind as I take you on a fairly underwhelming journey of the DLC that is the Revert Pack.
Since the price is a bit light, so is the included content. For your money, you’re getting four new characters, and three levels from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3: Airport, LA, and Canada.
As any hardcore Tony Hawk fan knows, these stages have already been remade in the past. In fact, strangely enough, these exact same three levels have been cherry-picked for the remake treatment in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2. The lack of originality should have stopped there, but to add to the pile, these levels are actually worse than the originals and the remakes.
Canada actually doesn’t look half bad, but this new rendition is fairly boring. The heart and soul is pretty much stripped from the level (no kids playing with snowballs or anything like that), but out of the entire selection of levels, it does look pretty good in HD.
The outdoor aspects of the level like wood and snow make it look less artificial and forced than a lot of the levels in the base package. Your career objectives are pretty standard fare though, and since this is the “first” level in the lot, they’re going to be extremely easy, so be prepared to knock that out fairly quickly.
Airport is easily the worst of the bunch. This is not the Airport you remember, folks! This version takes place at night, which would have been a cool idea: had it actually felt alive (you know, because airports don’t really…close at night). Yep, like every other level in the game, there are no people walking around; making the entire affair feel fairly barren and soulless.
The shortcut at the beginning through the baggage claim on the left is also gone, which forces you to go downhill the entire level if you just want to trick off of the flag area. There’s also shades of HD‘s really weird trademark neon green all over the stage. Robomodo missed the point of this level quite a bit.
LA is probably the best of the bunch, as it would have been pretty hard to screw it up. The original level had a lot going for it, and a lot of opportunities for both vert and street lines — this one is no different.
Other than the distinct lack of cars — and that one cool chase-scene quest — I don’t really have any complaints about LA. All in all, it’s kind of like Canada in that it’s not remarkable or offensive, but does have more challenging career objectives.
With these new levels, you can play them in career, projectives (with is basically an advanced career mode), Single Session, Free Skate, Hawkman, and multiplayer.
The pack also includes a few more playable characters: pro skaters Steve Caballero and Geoff Rowley, as well as James Hetfield (Ooooooo YEAAAA) and Robert Trujillo of Metallica fame. While there’s nothing wrong with the way any of them play, honestly, this is a missed opportunity; and it’s almost criminal.
I doubt many fans, in 2012, will spring to play as Metallica. Where are the characters that made the series unique, like Spider-Man and Darth Maul? How about some original characters like the Robomodo mascot from the core game? The lack of creativity in both the new levels and extra roster additions exemplifies this entire DLC.
If you’re a junkie who can’t get enough special moves, the new characters do come with a few of them, like air guitar, crowd surf, and the Metallica slide (throw up horns), but like the characters themselves, they’re nothing remarkable.
You also get a new song that’s cycled into the rotation: Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long.” Sadly, the game still doesn’t have the option to customize or skip tracks in-game, so one measly song most likely won’t fix any soundtrack woes you may have. There’s also no new achievements to be had, if you were looking for those.
At the end of the day, recommending this pack is pretty difficult. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys playing a Tony Hawk game over and over for the highest score possible, and you didn’t mind how HD plays, three extra levels for $5 can’t really hurt, despite how bare-bones the rest of the pack is.
Whatever the case, I doubt we’ll see a Tony Hawk 4 or THUG pack anytime soon given how long it’s taken for this DLC to actually see the light of day. Wherever Activision decides to take the franchise, I hope they know what they’re doing, as this add-on blunder may be the nail in the coffin for Tony Hawk — at least for the foreseeable future.