Tony Hawk games are quite tricky when it comes to handheld systems; though Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 proved that it could actually work well with handheld systems. However, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 was not given the same attention and is denied the chance to perform better on PSP. It’s basically fun with spurts of excitement along the way, but it destroys the whole concept of innovation aimed at the new addition to the series.
Based on Underground 2’s engine, Project 8 has 10 varied areas, none of which are actually connected. Just like old Tony Hawk games, you need to finish one area first before you can open another; then you can choose the particular levels that you see fit for you to play. It’s not entirely one city just like other next-gen versions. Your main goal is to rise up from that embarrassing #200 amateur skaters ranking and emerge among the top eight. You move up the rankings when you find every secret token in the game, cross gaps, and beat challenges. If you complete ample number of challenges, you may enter the Birdman’s cream of the crop Project 8.
There are moderately sized levels that have a number of healthy challenges. Skate towards highlighted characters; this opens up challenges that are added to the traditional Classic mode, which now works better in the Career Mode. Yes, you read it right. Instead of you going around short challenges, you can basically roam around to play challenges and at the same time increase your rankings. In fact, if you get to complete ten challenges it can definitely boost your rankings up.
Quite new to this release is the Spot Challenges. These challenges basically test your skating skills in grinding a specific distance or when you’re trying to gain air. Though, for technical reasons, you need to talk to certain characters to activate the challenges. This effectively negates the reason for the challenges in the next-gen versions in which you’re supposed to get the tasks done while also performing free skating in the levels. It’s a separate event, but it seems to be quite pointless.
Most of the contests involving skill have three precise rankings: Amateur, Pro and Sick. You can surface to Project 8 when you’ve mastered the Amateur level of difficulty in the challenges. Playing the Pro level is a piece of cake. Your skating skills are truly tested when you play in the Sick level, though. Some of these Sick level challenges can be extremely tough but Tony Hawk fans would probably just sweep away through these challenges.
The Classic Mode is exclusive to the PSP version. In this mode you can pick a skater and then play in 8 redesigned levels. You need to accomplish 10 different tasks in a 2-minute time limit. You have to collect the letters S-K-A-T-E to earn high scores, and find the secret disc, which is another part of this quite-old-school mode. It’s a perfect addition to Project 8, especially for those who find the Career Mode to be quite a drag.
There are definitely extra modes and the wireless play makes Project 8 a good release but it doesn’t quite pay up for its many deficiencies. The graphics are a so-so and runs relatively smoothly for the most part. As for the sound, the game has a lot of music tracks that you’d be able to listen to; though the game lacks voice acting and also ambient noise. As for the gameplay, it’s not really that hot and you can’t really be jumping for it. Overall, the game is quite a nuisance to play but if you enjoy skating games, then it might be a good idea to help yourself to Tony Hawk’s Project 8.