E3 '07: Tony Hawk's Proving Ground

It’s time for chapter 3 of our Activision journey at E3! Having just shared some new info and impressions on CoD4, we move now to the world of Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground.

The ninth game in the Tony Hawk series, Proving Ground is Neversoft’s most ambitious Hawk game yet. Activision producer Jennifer Oneal guided me through the E3 demo, explaining what makes this version different, and why a non-skater like me should care.

For starters, in Proving Ground your skater will be one of three groups: the hardcore skaters, the career skaters, and the rigger skaters. Hardcore skaters are those who skate for the love of it, and are willing to take risks for obtaining the perfect skating high; career skaters are the guys who want nothing more than to get their picture in a big magazine or on television; rigger skaters change the city, and make the unskateable skateable.

Much like the last Tony Hawk game, throughout each of the levels (all based on real cities, and containing, as Jennifer put it, "The best skating parts of each") there will be goals you can accomplish via missions and minigames. The one I got to experience involved setting up a camera and taking a picture of your skater as they got big air off of a jump. How it worked was relatively simple, but the payoff was great. Basically, you place a tripod and camera somewhere, select which way to rotate it, and head to the spot you picked. As you enter the camera’s "bubble," you’re able to set it off, capturing your image.

The rigger skater takes full advantage of the photography and filming in this game. On each level, you’re given a set number of pieces you can place wherever you want. See a cool American rocket at the Air and Space museum you want a good picture in front of? Jennifer did, so she set up a grinding rail in front of it. After placing it, it became part of the environment, and she attempted to set up a camera to capture her grind in front of the American spirit. Well, it didn’t work. Instead, she opted to just jump up and make it LOOK like she was grinding. Objective achieved, though, because the picture just SCREAMED America.

For those of you who love the idea of creating your own skating environments, you’ll likely love the video editing feature. As you capture video of your skater, you’re able to edit it together (cut clips, change angles, zoom in, place background music, etc.) and make your own skating highlight reels. Not only does this let anyone become a director, but the game also rewards people for well-made videos, and will include a leaderboard listing the top videos, giving the Spielberg’s out there bragging rights.

Outside of that, it’s mostly the same Tony Hawk with a few minor changes. You can now control manuals and grabs with the analog sticks (similar to the method in the last game), and the environments are huge in comparison. If you’ve liked Tony Hawk since the beginning, you’ll like this game just as much as the first ones, if not more. If you’ve never ventured into the series lately, though, because of it becoming stale, Proving Ground looks like a nice place to jump back in.

Oh, did I mention you can skate-by attack thugs and push people out of the way?


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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