Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (Microsoft Xbox, 2004)
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|The Birdman goes back underground for his sixth foray into video games, this direct sequel to 2003's RPG-style on-board adventure. As in the original Tony Hawk's Underground, THUG 2 centers on a player-created character, who must work his or her way up from suburban obscurity to extreme sport stardom. As in the previous game, players create their characters from scratch, assigning skill points and choosing from the widest array of appearance options yet offered in the series. Once created, the player's character is picked by Mr. Hawk himself, to lead a team of skaters against a rival gang in the game's "World Destruction Tour" competition, which plays out in famous cities around the globe.
The rival team in question is "Team Bam," and it's lead by extreme sports bad boy Bam Margera against the player's own "Team Hawk." Challenges are diverse, with goals that range from claiming turf with graffiti and stickers to more mischievously destructive objectives. Players can now annoy local pedestrians, by pelting them with projectiles, but they'll want to keep an eye out for new talent. There are over 20 different skater characters in the game (often found going about their non-skater business) who may be persuaded to join up and strengthen the player's team. Gamers can switch between teammate characters on the fly, allowing them to use the strengths of different skaters as different situations call for them.
In addition to the extensive character creation tools it offers, THUG 2 also lets players design their own tricks, skate parks, and even custom graffiti "tags." For old-school Pro Skater fans, THUG 2 also features a "Classic" mode, with a play style more similar to that of earlier entries in the franchise. Here, virtual skaters will race to complete familiar goals such as collecting letters to spell the word "SKATE," finding the secret video tape, and earning top scores in timed runs.
The game received generally positive reviews from critics, with GameRankings scores ranging from 70% to 86% and Metacritic scores from 82% to 85%.
The plot received mixed comments. Douglass C. Perry of IGN found the plot to be less "endearing" than Underground's, and while he enjoyed the story mode's gameplay, other staff at IGN did not, opting instead for the Classic mode. A reviewer from GameSpot enjoyed the story mode, but felt it was too short. In contrast, Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer felt there were plenty of levels, and saw the plot as enjoyable and unintrusive, if unintelligent. Ben Silverman of Game Revolution also thought the campaign was noticeably short, but also that "that's actually a blessing, though, because the plot and cut-scenes are pretty lame." Perry enjoyed the level design, but noted some slowdown in the levels due to their size.
|Game||Tony Hawk's Underground 2|
|Number of Players||1 or 2|
|ESRB Rating||T - Teen|
|ESRB Descriptor||Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
|Game Special Features||
|Game Series||Tony Hawk's Underground Series|
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