Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

The Tony Hawk games are legendary. The collaboration between Activision and Tony Hawk was one of the biggest in gaming history and comes to an end this year. Activision wanted to create one final Tony Hawk game, a game that would be the best for the fans. A game that would combine all the good elements of the past, but that didn’t happen. It’s hard to admit but this Tony Hawk is the worst of them all.

Former glory

The Tony Hawk games were legendary and were part of one of the best-sold old-school franchises. I remember my hours with Tony Hawk on my original PlayStation just like yesterday. The games were known for their fluent controls, great environments and sick combos. Those elements transformed the skating game to a truly great game. Tony Hawk was bigger than Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty back in the days. Activision and Tony Hawk formed a big player on the market, until the moment the company was forced to put the franchise in the fridge after the ridiculous Tony Hawk: Shred. This game tried to combine a skateboard peripheral with an actual game but it bombed right after launch.


It wasn’t the first time a bad Tony Hawk game hit the market but it was by far the most expensive mistake for Activision. Fans gave up hope of ever seeing a return of Tony Hawk until Activision revealed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 for the first time. When it was firs revealed, it looked like the game would be based on the former glory of the franchise and it promised to bring back all the good things ever found in a Hawk game. Too bad the deadline of the game came too fast, resulting it what can best be described as an early tech demo of a final product.

This is blasphemy 

It’s clear right from the start that this game isn’t good. The moment you start the game, you need to install a patch that’s even bigger than the game. Once you’re ready to go, you’ll bump into boring menus guiding you towards the Tony Hawk 5 levels. You also get an option to create your own tracks but this is so limited nobody will really want to bother anyway.

So instead of creating your own tracks, you’ll jump straight into the free skating levels. These levels were supposed to homage the best Tony Hawk levels of history but none of the levels could be compared to the legendary Hawk levels of the past. Every level feels empty and the objects are placed too far from each other to create combos. Creating combos is what the Tony Hawk games were all about. Grinding, flipping your board, wall grinding your way to the next pit… It’s what created those sick combos and it’s absolutely impossible now. Since the levels are bigger, there’s simply too much distance between the objects so forget creating combos.


The only good thing is Skrillex


The levels look like a first version of a tech demo and have nothing to do with actual skating. If a city would create a skate park based on these levels, we’re sure no skater would set foot on them. To make thing worse, the creators thought it would be funny to include fantasy levels like the Asteroid Belt level. This level is played in lower gravity, resulting in floating skaters when you try to perform an Olly. Seriously… This has nothing to do with skating, it’s ridiculous!

What’s going on with those missions?!

The problems don’t end there; the missions you’re supposed to complete are as ridiculous as the levels. Sure, you have the classic ‘gain an amount of points to advance’ missions but most of the other missions are just too weird. One of the most returning missions is to avoid an exploding head by performing tricks. Yes, you’re head grows until it explodes and stops growing if you perform tricks. Sounds weird? Wait until the moment you’re forced to carry ice cream to a pool with no people, I guess pools get hungry, right? Talking about pools, another great mission is to push away the balls that randomly appeared in the pool. These missions have nothing to do with skating and it’s an insult the developers tried to make them work.


Not everything is bad however, for those feeling nostalgic, you can still collect the iconic SKATE and COMBO letters in the stages. Well, the COMBO letters are hard to get since the objects are too far away but yay for nostalgia?

Even the controls don’t work

And yes, the pain doesn’t end there; remember that smooth Tony Hawk gameplay? It’s gone. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 controls like a beta version and it’s never easy to perform the tricks you had in mind. If this was because of realistic physics, you might understand it but if it’s thanks to inaccurate controls you simply can’t. The input is always lagging and the ability to push your board to the ground while airborne isn’t best placed under the same button as the grind button. Thanks to the weird controls you’ll do a lot of things you didn’t want to do. Forget the awesome combos you had in mind, the controls will mess them up most of the time. Sure, it’s something you can get used to and we were getting better and better after time but it’s sad to say the controls of the original game were better, that game released more than ten years ago.

Skate with other people 

Developer Robomodo did try to innovate by allowing other skaters into your world. This results in other gamers skating in your level. It looks cool but the possibilities are limited. Since you need to play most of the missions on your own, it really doesn’t matter that those other players are online in your level. Aside of that, the online is constantly lagging or dropping out. Since the game needs to contact the server after each mission, you’ll be forced to wait a lot and see a lot of loading screens while you’re at it. It sounded promising on paper but it appears the deadline killed all the potential.


Incredible soundtrack

To conclude with a positive note, it must be said that the soundtrack is incredible. This soundtrack actually delivers what the game was supposed to deliver. The best of the past combined with the best of the present. The soundtrack features music of Anti-Flag, For Year Strong, Skrillex and a lot more. The music takes us back to the days where skating was the real deal, an era where punk rock was the biggest genre and combines it with modern sounds of Skrillex and Royal Blood. The soundtrack is incredible but not worth getting the game for. If you want to listen to the soundtrack, just activate this:


It doesn’t happen that much but we’re disappointed. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 has nothing to do with the former games but is a game that was published way too soon. We understand that the game needed to be published in time before the end of the collaboration, but it would have been better for everybody if this game got cancelled. This has nothing to do with skating and is a pure waste of your time and money.


Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.