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March 12 2007
Tony Hawk's Project 8 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
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Performing tricks in the air.
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Note the background logo!

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Player animation is impressive.
Activision's Tony Hawk series is one which set new benchmarks in terms of extreme sports. Since the series was first introduced on the PSOne it has grown a legion of fans, and the almost yearly updates have ensured a steady cash flow for the company. In recent years though some criticism has

The title to this game doesn't indicate that this is the 8th game in the long running series, but rather the fact that in the game you have to find the eight best amateur skaters across America. You do this by firstly creating a skater which starts with a ranking of 200 - the ultimate goal, to improve your ranking to make it to the Top 8.

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No, this is not a photo!
In essence Neversoft, who are developing the next-generation versions, are stripping the game back to its essentials. The game no longer includes cities based on real-world locations but rather an entirely new city made up for the game. For the first time ever, players must impress in-game citizens and pedestrians to build up respect. The pedestrians watch players perform tricks, laugh at brutal bails and punch players in the gut for knocking into them.

Tony Hawk’s Project 8 offers more goals, side-missions, secret areas and mini games than any other Tony Hawk game. Players track stats with new in-game record keeping, switch characters mid-game to accomplish a goal, or just skate how they want to skate. On the way to #1 pro-skater status, players must trick through photo shoot locations, or follow a filmer with a video camera and complete his instructions while keeping up with him. Players interact with pro skaters who teach special tricks and show paths to secret areas.

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Texturing on the walls is impressive.
The new physics system introduces advanced grinds and bails that allow players to control falls and minimize or maximize damage for fun with the innovative new ragdoll bail mode. A greater sense of momentum and gravity is impossible to miss, and provides the most realistic virtual skate experience ever.

There are some other additional features in the game. Neversoft are including a "Picture-in-a-Picture" mode where the player can watch gameplay unfold on the main screen while observing the action on film in a superimposed video box. It's also possible to place ramps and rails to set up amazing lines and/or gain access to secret spots.

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Expect this to be a launch title.
Graphically the game looks pretty nice. The trailers released in recent days show a fair amount of detail, some wonderful animations and slow-mo shots and certainly plenty of promise. Tony Hawk's Project 8 features the most advanced graphics ever for a Tony Hawk game, including full 3D body scans of pro athletes and motion captured skateboard tricks. If there is one issue it's that at times the skaters foot doesn't appear to connect with the board when kicking it during tricks which spoils the illusion somewhat, but we would expect this to be fixed prior to release.

A lot of effort is going into this title with Neversoft rebuilding the entire game from the ground up for the next generation. While we have been a little disappointed with recent titles in the series Tony Hawk's Project 8 looks like returning it to its early (read: glory) days. Expect this game to hit the shelves in time for the PS3's launch this November in America, and on March 23rd in Europe and Australia.