Tuesday 24 March 2020

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Sega Dreamcast review)

Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Released: 2000

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is a sports game that was released in the same year as the original on the Sega Dreamcast.

This time the levels have been increased from six to ten and include locations such as New York City, Venice Beach and a Bullring in Mexico. What makes the skating so appealing is that you're encouraged to explore each one in depth as there are many hidden sections to be found; also, the objectives have been raised to ten per level with much more variety and trick-specific goals. The main control innovation is the introduction of manuals; these are performed by quickly pressing Up then Down on the d-pad and they allow you to link tricks together for much bigger scores. This seemingly minor addition opens up gameplay possibilities as it connects the levels and trick objects together in a way that felt much more isolated in the first game. Instead of automatically levelling up you gain cash for each completed objective which you can spend in the shop to increase your stats; this adds replayability, as you can challenge yourself to beat the game in both vert and street styles. The competitions return where you have one minute to get the highest possible score; these are a great place to work on tricks and it's fun scouting around in an attempt to find the best area to suit your skating approach. There's also a Park Editor which allows you to create your own arenas. Once again, the music shines and the variety of hip hop, rock and punk tracks really compliment the action. Compared to other versions, this Dreamcast port has a much better draw distance and higher resolution textures. Also, the entire set of unlockable skater and bail compilation videos are featured, unlike the N64 version (2001).

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is an absolute gem that never gets old thanks to its supreme level design, top-notch presentation, enjoyable missions and awesome gameplay innovations. Everything comes together to create a cohesive whole that's a magical experience and one that you'll want to return to again and again.

Random trivia: At the time of writing, this Sega Dreamcast version is one of the highest rated games of all time on Metacritic, with an average review score of 97.

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