Skateboarding is fun. To see how fun, throw yourself down 16 stairs, and when you arrive at bottom, absorb the brutal concrete smack that surges up through the bones of your feet to crush your ankles, knees and spine. If that doesn't sound pleasurable, then at least know Tony Hawk's Project 8's virtual reenactment is massively so. Score one for gaming versus the real world.
If you skate, or if you've ever wanted to, the lifelike physics and painstakingly motion-captured animation in THP8 make grinding a handrail or hammering a kick-flip down a stair-set a detailed event, portrayed with authentic weight and balance.
Realistic or not, Tony Hawk's Project 8 still plays largely like the same arcade combo-worship that’s been rocking the public for seven years. It's ridiculous scores and ridiculous goals wrapped in a generic representation of skate ethos, squealing with mall-punk clichés like "big air" and "bust out" that should force any hardcore skaters to cringe at the shameless reaming of their culture.
Yet undeniably, the game is absurd fun. The new engine, plus Nail the Trick, a slow motion tool that gives you precise control over footwork, plus a few more ditties, dropped into a truthfully free-roaming skate heaven cooks an undeniably addictive next-gen video drug.