THUG2 is the biggest Tony Hawk game so far and is right up there among the best. Even if you have been disappointed with the last couple of games in the series, THUG2 will absolutely win you back. There are more levels, more tricks, more customization options, and just plain more stuff than in any previous game in the series. Neversoft went back and addressed the problems some of us had with THUG and the result is an amazing game that is highly recommended.
Just like the first THUG, this game features a story mode. Rather than taking an amateur to the top of the pro ranks, though, you start off as a pro and join Tony Hawk and Bam Margera on the World Destruction Tour. The story is pretty much a combination of the characteristic THPS gameplay with the crazy antics that made the Jackass crew famous. The result is a storyline and set of goals that is less about skateboarding and more about doing stunts and trying to piss people off. Goals include covering up rival graffiti with your own, throwing tomatoes and other objects at people, and generally causing a ruckus. Along the way, youll come across other playable characters that ride tricked out scooters, wheelchairs, and go-carts instead of skateboards but they can all grind and do flip and grab tricks just the same. These are a whole lot better than the poorly implemented cars and stuff in the first THUG, which is a relief. There are hidden characters and several sets of goals on each of the 8 story mode levels, so there is a lot to do here.
If, however, the Jackass inspired antics dont appeal to you, you can play classic mode. Yes, the two-minute timer and classic goals such as collect S-K-A-T-E are back in a big way. There are 14 levels including past favorites such as Canada, Philadelphia, Airport, School, Warehouse, Downhill Jam, and Los Angeles. It is simply awesome to be able to go through these great old school levels with a new set of goals. The new levels in THUG2 are also available in the classic mode and put kind of a different spin on the classic gameplay since the new levels are a lot bigger than the older ones. The C-O-M-B-O goals are back and the way they are set up in these levels is really tricky and many of them are pretty difficult since you usually have to cover an incredibly long distance to collect them all while keeping one combo going. A lot of the goals in classic mode are rather challenging and are just the sort of things that THPS vets can really sink their teeth into. Classic mode is big enough and good enough that they could have called it THPS5 and sold it separately. Lucky for us, they didnt. Now we get both an amazing old school mode along with a fun story mode all in one package!
Same Great Gameplay
The gameplay isnt all that different from any other Tony Hawk game. All of the moves that have been introduced over the years manuals, reverts, spine transfers, and the ability to get off of your board are all here along with a couple of new ones. You could wallplant in THUG, but it has been renamed the sticker slap in THUG2 and it has been simplified a bit. Now, instead of pressing down and jump to wall plant, you simply press the jump button when you are coming up to a wall. Youll do a quick 180 and be back on your way. This makes for some very interesting combo possibilities where you can find a rail between two walls and literally go back and forth forever to rack up points. Throw that onto the end of a long vert or street run and were talking some massive point totals. Another move is the natas spin. Find a fire hydrant or something low and narrow and you can now jump on top of them and perform a nifty spin move. Combining all of the various moves into one long chain has always been the most satisfying part about the Tony Hawk games, and THUG2 gives you even more moves to play with and a lot of different ways to use them.
Solid Level Design
The level designs in THUG2 are also very good. Unlike THUG where the levels were more realistic and there were definite skate spots in each level, THUG2 isnt afraid to just stick quarterpipes and ramps and rails all over the place. It isnt realistic, but it is sure a lot more fun. None of the new levels really have any huge annoyances like some levels in the last two games. They arent all super memorable and fantabulous like in the first three games, but they definitely arent bad. The new levels include Boston, Barcelona, Australia, Berlin, and the happiest place on Earth, Skatopia. All of the levels have great lines and are just fun to skate in, and that is what really is important. All of the classic levels have been tweaked just a little bit and they are better than ever.