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Tony Hawk's Project 8

To seasoned Tony Hawk pros, single-player mode is akin to storytime in kindergarten. Hardcore fans play for the challenge and competition - finding the best lines to maximize combos and rack up insane point totals to best their rivals and impress any suitors that may inexplicably be watching. They're gonna drop a deuce in their baggy shorts when they get to play Project 8 on next-gen consoles.

Sure, the game features a livelier, more active story mode world and leaderboards for every goal to appease your competitive nature. However, as Ric Flair says, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." That means head-to-head showdowns, either online or via system link, where kings are crowned. At Activision's Santa Monica event, we were given a vast skate-opia to explore and exploit in group fashion.

The new multiplayer mode being pimped is called Walls. In it, every skater has a color-coded, human-high wall trailing behind them. No matter where you go, the wall follows like a lonely puppy. Actually, maybe calling it a rabid pit bull is more accurate, because running into another skater's wall will cause you to fall flat. This gives the opposing player a point. The goal is to cause the highest number of bails among your fellow players.

Throughout the course of a game of Walls, the landscape will become painted with these floating 2D barriers. It's possible to pass through them, but the toll is usually a point for the other person. Walls is far from a flagship mode, and was sometimes a little more annoying than innovative, but it's a nice deviation from the norm. Traditional modes like trick attack and graffiti were also played in several sessions. These played as expected, though of course with the benefit of Project 8's new tweaks.

All the aspects that make Tony Hawk's Project 8 truly next-gen shine in multiplayer, and it was very polished as a whole. The graphics look great, and revamped physics make the play smoother. Bails have benefited from this as much as anything, and we're hoping the game will feature a crash-centric mode or goal set - taking a page from Amped 3 and Saints Row.

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