Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 – Review

Title   Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
Developer  Robomodo
Publisher  Activision
Platform  PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre  Sports, simulation, skating
Release Date  October 22nd, 2015
Official Site

tonyhawk5rev1If the series had ended after the first three games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater would be one of the greatest games series the world has ever known. Unfortunately, the series came a bit of a cropper with the needlessly Jackass-inspired Underground games, the bullshit difficult Project 8 and Proving Ground games and, of course, the dismal peripheral-powered Ride and Shred titles. Even Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 was a little bit of a disappointment. To add insult to injury, EA came along and created the excellent SKATE series (which thankfully did end as a trilogy) and rather stole the crown from California’s world-famous beanpole skater.

However, Activision still have the Tony Hawk license and it runs out this year so there was just enough time to get Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 (which, in true Assassin’s Creed style, is actually the twelfth game in the series) out of the door. If that indicates a rushed approach, it’s because Robomodo clearly had a harsh time limit on their hands with this one. Version 1.0 of the game is quite famously broken and a day one patch was required (which was far larger than the original game) in order to fix a few things. The reviews came in stating that it was still a broken mess and a video of glitches did seem to be quite damning. Which is kind of what you expect from Robomodo (who aren’t a patch on the original Neversoft dev team).


At least the game is making an effort to take the series back to its roots (hence the confusing title). That means there’s no BMX shit, no parkour, no Bam fucking Margera, no shopping trolleys, no massive open cities and no bullshit slo-mo focus mechanic. Instead, we get seven smallish levels of old-school skating action and it’s a bit of a relief. Each level is themed around a different area (skate parks, another school, etc) and come with the usual S, K, A, T, E and C, O, M, B, O letters to collect, scores to beat and gaps to conquer. There are also missions that are easily accessed that give you a fairly wide range of challenges. These tend to be best when they focus on skating and scoring but they can also be a bit fanciful (like shooting targets by doing flip tricks and other nonsense).

tonyhawk5rev3The difficulty isn’t quite up to Project 8 levels of bastard, thankfully, but you’ll need to de-rust those Tony Hawk skills if you want to make good progress, and at least the controls are pretty familiar. You still pull off jumps, flips, grabs and grinds in the same way as the other games but there is now a new ‘slam’ move (which is annoyingly mapped to the same button as grinding), which can throw your timing off at first but ends up being a useful addition to the game as it can save you from bailing. Also, X makes you jump when you are stationary and then kicks you off so you really need to get used to pushing off with R2, which, again, takes some getting used to but not too much.

As you mooch about the various levels, you’ll see them populated with online skaters. You can turn this option off but it does seem to turn itself back on when you finish a mission. Playing in co-op is quite good fun though; it seems solid enough and it’s nice to have extra help with the missions. Competitive online modes are also in place (but no horse mode for some baffling reason).


The return to old-school values is certainly welcome but the game does lack the heart and creativity of the early games. There aren’t many secrets, and the few there are don’t seem to be worth discovering, either. Where the early games were packed full of things to find, THPS5 seems to be playing it safe, and because of this it just doesn’t feel very special. This is reflected in the presentation, too. Opting for a cel-shaded look (it looks neither cartoony nor realistic) and weighed down with a fluctuating frame rate, the game isn’t going to impress. Not only that but seventeen years of the music industry commercialising punk and metal has led to a fairly dismal soundtrack. This makes the game feel a little bit dialled-in, which is a shame because I still remember seeing videos of the Neversoft guys attempting to skate in the videos on the early games and you used to get a real sense of passion from those guys.

tonyhawk5rev5That said, I’ve found the game to be a lot more solid than is being made out and I’m enjoying it. Chasing scores and objectives is still pretty addictive (and a little maddening) and online play is fun. It’s not what I wished for when the game was announced – far from it – but it is a solid skating game. While it will give you a bit of a nostalgia pang and it’ll get those thumbs feeling sharp again, THPS5 isn’t going to be remembered fondly. It does a good impression of a real Tony Hawk game but Robomodo appear to have phoned this one in.

  • Stripped down skating without any of the bloat of the later Tony Hawk games
  • Familiar controls that are responsive enough to let you rack up the big scores
  • Decent co-op play
  • Quite addictive
  • Lacks heart and ambition
  • Fairly average presentation
  • Weak soundtrack
  • Does the world need another skating game?
  • Already getting patched up the wazoo

This isn't the triumphant Tony Hawk game we were hoping for but it is the first credible skating game (apart from the OlliOlli games) to hit the shelves for a while, and there is some fun to be found here. Long-time Hawk fans will appreciate the back to basics approach but you'll be feeling stung if you pay much more than twenty quid for it.

Our review policy

Last five articles by Richie


One Comment

  1. Rook says:

    I hadn’t really thought about the music until I actually gave it some thought. By that I mean none of the songs stick in my mind enough to recall even one lyric. Thinking back to earlier Tony Hawk games hearing the songs so often I’d end up singing along to them as I played. I’ve put quite a bit of time into this latest game yet I couldn’t tell you anything about the soundtrack.

    Maybe it has been too long since I played a skateboarding game but I seem to be more about the manual and grind moves than pulling off tricks in a half pipe when it comes to scoring points.

Leave a Comment