Proving Ground - extended hands-on

Aug 20 2007

We're now nine games into Tony Hawk's virtual career, a carnival of score-obsessed, larger-than-life skateboarding that's been one hell of a ride, and one that's given us knuckles of steel. Irrepressible as always, Tony's back for more - Proving Ground should be hittingstores in November - but will you be joining him?

Yes, in short, thanks to the way the game expands its Nail the Trick system. You remember how even the most sneering of burnt-out Hawk vets were refreshed by this beautiful, slow-mo trick system, introduced by 2006's Tony Hawk's Project 8? Well, now it's fleshed out to include grabs and manuals instead of just spins and kickflips.

That's not news. What is, however, is that it's been implemented so very slickly. If you're already comfortable with Nail the Trick, the new aspects begin making solid sense within 30 seconds. Nail the Grab is activated by holding the left trigger, while the left/right analogue sticks represent your hands and where they grip the board.

Hold the right trigger instead, and you'll activate Nail the Manual, where the sticks control the height of each foot, allowing you to land in a balanced manual, even on an inverted board. And - presto! - you're now in a brand new Hawk's groove, impressing both yourself and onlookers by pushing your skills, cursing when you bail, and considering the game world with fresh eyes all once again.