Tony Hawk's Massive Fail

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Remember Ride? That goofy skateboard-like peripheral Tony Hawk and Activision tried schilling over the course of a few games when another Activision title (Guitar Hero) was hitting its stride? That outdated peripheral might be better for those with moderate to severe mobile impairments than the recently released Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.

In my review of the game, I mentioned that cheat codes might be able to make the game not so bad for certain types of individuals? In my overzealous state I overlooked one really important thing – THE CHEAT CODES IN THPSHD ARE A SLAP IN THE FACE TO THE DISABLED GAMING COMMUNITY. Yes, that did need to be emphasized beyond italics alone.

I scored THPSHD a 1 out of 10 for mobile disability only because Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD has no quicktime events. BUT, with the aid of one of the cheats included in THPSHD, it could have scored 7 out of 10.
What is this cheat and why is it that important and why is it so important that it was once important but now isn’t? Good questions! I’m talking about Slomo Mode; which can be unlocked either by completing 40 tasks throughout the career of each skater you’d like to skate with - or – players are able to unlock cheat mode by inputting the most boring cheat code in all of the game – the code to unlock everything.

This is the point in this article where I was going to offer the code to anyone who might want it, but I decided that it wasn’t worth sharing because it isn’t worth sharing with those who could use it, but never really be able to get anywhere with it.

We recently adopted a scoring system for games beyond just give it what you feel like – I alluded to it above just as I did with the possibility of scoring higher than it did if it had allowed Slomo Mode from the beginning.

It’s really tough to argue that THPSHD has a remap-able control scheme or difficulty levels, but an argument could have been made for button mashing as with more time to perform tricks the player has more time to react and access the buttons with a plan in place as opposed to having to act less we have no idea what we’re doing when we actually do. That could have been 1 point.

Precision also could have benefitted from Slomo Mode’s inclusion not as a cheat or something to be unlocked but from being an option. Would Slomo Mode have been made something like a “Game Assist” and THPSHD could have recouped about 2 points.

Actually, it can all be taken care of by the same basic thought as mentioned two paragraphs back – by slowing down the passage of time is so accommodating to so many disabilities if allowed to exist in a game from the first second things like Button Mashing, Precision, Camera/Movement Sensitivity, Timing of Movement/Button Pressing matter less than they would otherwise. As for my own personal interpretation of Game Assists; if there’s something in a game to help someone out, that game includes Game Assists. That’s an easy 6 points they had in their pocket that they lost for a fairly stupid reason.

What this means is that had Slomo Mode been included, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD would have gotten a 7 for mobility compared to the 1 it received. I scored the game as getting an overall score of 5 out of 10. The score with Slomo Mode from the start would have been 7 out of 10.
That takes care of part of the “what if?” of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, now for the other half; if you so choose to enter any cheat code where you go to enter cheat codes, upon “successful” entry, you’ll be met with the following message:

Cheat Activated.

Saving, earning Achievements, using the Share feature and the ability to post scores to leaderboards are disabled. To re-enable these features, return to the title Screen by pressing the B button on the Main Menu.

Tony-Hawks-Pro-Skater-HD-3The same also goes for cheats that can be unlocked; I unlocked Perfect Rail Balance pretty early on in the game, but I’m not quite sure how I did it. I made it through a couple areas before I shut off my Xbox without realizing it wasn’t saving. I turned my console back on and started to play again. All the progress I made was gone because the game wouldn’t let me play the game using a reward it gave to me.
The basic deal with cheat codes is that you can use them and you can complete tasks, but what you can’t do is save the game, earn achievements, post to leaderboards, or do any of that sharing stuff. It’s nice when toys toy with people isn’t it?

I understand the whole evening the playing field thing. I, personally could even do without the achievements, but taking away leaderboards and sharing? That’s a little on the bogus side; shouldn’t anyone have the ability to share anything they do be it in slow-motion or otherwise?

How about leaderboards? It’s really not all that difficult to get a really high score while using Slomo Mode and I can easily understand why you’d want to keep Slomo Mode scores separate from regular scores, but really, how hard is it to find space for another leaderboard for those using a specific cheat? For some reason I don’t see it being all that hard to do. I actually think it’s kind of a dumb thing not to do,
There aren’t many games out there that can be played successfully in a slowed-down state, provide a type of multiplayer arena, and also exist on a console. It’s a short list – if there’s a list at all. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say “there’s a list because of us?” I bet it would.

Over the course of this article, I kept running into the same question that I’d really like to get an answer to; what’s the point? If it’s too hard to part with a couple MB of space to include remap-able controls, and it’s too hard to allow a player to use something included with the game to allow them to successfully play the game, why are these cheats like Slomo Mode, Perfect Rail Balance, Perfect Manual Balance, or Perfect Lip Balance even there?

About the Author
Rob McCaulley
I'm Rob McCaulley, one of the staff writers here on AbleGamers. (Thank you for the oppertunity.)

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