Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 PS2 Review

Number six is a significant digit for the Tony Hawk’s series, as it’s testament to how mega-popular the series has remained, throughout it’s rather long and rich history. We can’t help but feel that Neversoft and Activision must now be running out of ideas though, and the gaming populace do begin to get restless with formulaic titles in general, which begs the question, where next for a series that has seemingly done it all?

Those expecting a radical overhaul will be disappointed as Underground 2 only builds on the prior game rather than march forward. Like we said in the opening paragraph, this is one franchise that has basically evolved into something very different over the years, leaving little room for any additional invention and if the series did evolve again we’d be extremely surprised. If you are looking for something very different from the previous title, take our advice and approach with caution.

Like the previous game, Underground 2 boasts a story, and if you needed a reason to be skating around and acting like a fool, this is it. Tony Hawk has assembled a team of skaters, who are to be opposed by another team led by Bam Margera. This is real competition, it’s not about pride or anything like that, the loser has basically got to put his hand in his pocket and pay all the accumulated expenses of the global trip, there’s plenty of incentive for your own team to win then.

Delving into the story mode it is instantly apparent that everything is expectedly in place. The structure remains the same as the previous game. You take on various tasks and when succesful you are awarded with points, eventually you are granted with a suitable number to move onto the next location. There is also incentive for seeking out professional and bizarre boarders (or whatever they may ride), as doing so will award you with new tasks, assuring that moving on is never an impossible assignment.

As far as the actual skateboarding is concerned, there are a few notable improvements to Neversoft’s credit. The sticker slap is definitely the most helpful, allowing you to continue a combo right off a wall and into a new direction; whist the slow-motion focus (gained when your special meter is full) may come in handy for rookie players. Then there’s the new freak out feature, which has you tapping the button to fill a meter up after stumbling off your board, if successful it results in your character getting angry with their board, it’s actually quite funny to witness.

Is the above not satisfactory enough for you, would you prefer to dust down old copies from earlier on in the series? Then you’ll be delighted to find a classic mode included on the disc, which returns to the more simplistic roots of the series. The 2-minute time limits, goals and stages all make a return, which will delight veterans and provide newcomers with a slice of history from the first three games in the series.

Still not enough? Then you’ll be thankful that the PS2 version also allows for online play for up to eight players, which sets it apart from the other console versions as well as give another valid reason to own a network adaptor. There’s plenty of variety in the modes and this is undoubtedly one of the greatest online games that PS2 offers exclusively.

Not a huge leap forward but fans of the Hawk series, who don’t mind a little spring cleaning, will be in bliss and as for series virgins, this is one special place to start. The over the top storyline may not be on the same level as the previous game, but the diverse missions and locations are just as good. Basically what we’ve been trying to say for this entire review is that this is radical stuff, there said it.