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Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam review

Can the PS2 do what Nintendoes?

In aninterviewwe conducted with Downhill Jam's producer Kragen Lum, he stated that players apparently weren't ready for Tony Hawk on the Wii. Of course this is a subtle way of saying the game didn't sell well, due insome small part to the cumbersome flailing of armsused tocontrol your skater.So on the PS2, classic Hawkers will have no problem diving head first into DJ's trickery, though it's this traditional method of control that weakens the overall experience here. Either due to the gimmicky nature of Nintendo's new Remote, or conversely,itsinimitable distinction, the controls are where things get lost in translation.

For the most part, actual trickage takes a backseat to careening down the game's well designed courses fortime and pole position,and to simplyinflicting general mayhem.Then, whentricks are used they're absurdly easy to pull off with the classic PS2 pad-enabled control scheme. Other than crashing into guard rails, holding a trick presents little to no challenge whatsoever.

It's an interesting case study as far as Wii ports go.Were the Wii controls that crucial to the gameplay, or simplya flashy carnival trickwhose novelty and imprecision disguised an otherwise medicore game?Either way, with the motion controls now excised, what you're left with is an unpolished and somewhat lackluster snowboarding gamethat doesn't come anywhere close toachieving the refinement of anySSX game currently in existence.

There's still plenty to do here, including 10 new events anddecks exclusive to the PS2, but it's hardly enough to merit a purchase over the superior Wii version, if you have the means. And say what you will about the processing power of the Nintendo's little white rectangle, but the PS2's Downhill Jam suffers from the move; it's riddled with graphical hiccups, occasional slowdown and - especially given the brevity of the tracks - some fairly heinous load times.

More Info

GenreSports
DescriptionA Wii - and DS-exclusive entry in the Tony series that ditches the open environments and goes for an adrenaline-pumping, downhill ride.
PlatformWii, DS, PS2
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date14 November 2006 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)