More Reviews
REVIEWS Dragon Ball XENOVERSE Review
Bandai Namco resurrects the DB fighting franchise without the use of a Dragon Ball. Are the new features worth the sacrifice in combat depth?

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is adorably cute but frustrating to play.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Danganronpa Another Episode: Ult Preview
At NIS America's press event, the publisher revealed the third-person action side story to the Danganronpa series.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Screamride
Release date: 03/03/15

Helldivers
Release date: 03/04/15

La Mulana Ex
Release date: 03/04/15

BLADESTORM: Nightmare (working title)
Release date: 03/17/15


LATEST FEATURES The Top 20 Custom Amiibo Ever Customized
Well, that was redundant. But these amiibo are still awesome, and not sold in traditional stores.

Mortal Kombat X Roster (So Far)
And the crawl of character reveals for Mortal Kombat X continues...

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437
A Means to Disseminate Honest-to-God Leaks
By oblivion437
Posted on 02/02/15
Wikileaks, though technically not a wiki, provides an easy means to disseminate information that some find it desirable to share against the wishes of those who find it desirable to keep secret. Aside from the morality of the leaking itself, such a service provides a look into the activities of...

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Review

Tim_Tackett By:
Tim_Tackett
12/12/06
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Sports 
PLAYERS 1- 4 
PUBLISHER Activision 
DEVELOPER Toys For Bob 
RELEASE DATE  
E10+ Contains Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Violence

What do these ratings mean?

A slippery slope.

At E3 2006, nothing short of two stealth kills, a hail of business cards, some lies, and an impressive series of back flips got me past miles of nerds and into the forbidden Wii booth. I quickly found out that the inside was as crowded as the out, and started trying to figure out which lines I could cut into, because patient waiting just isn’t the GR way.

Anyway, right before I chloroformed that fanboy and stuffed him behind a kiosk, I noticed one lonely Wii in the corner, devoid of any line, and I had to know. Is it broken? What could it be? I strolled up to an even lonelier booth man (poor bastard), and he showed me skate boarding’s first Wii title, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam.
 
click to enlargeThat ‘skateboarding’ part might be misleading, since Downhill Jam is uncannily similar to SSX, Amped, or any other snowboarding game, since the whole thing is played on downhill, snowboarding style courses. While a good portion of the ride is straight up racing, there are a few different things to do along your trip. It’s no Project 8, but it can still grease your bearings.
 
It’s incredibly easy to pick up due to the simplified controls. Just tilt the wiimote to turn, using the two buttons for jumps, grinds, and tricks. The D-pad works as a modifier for tricks just like any other Tony Hawk game. The only new additions to the equation are the ‘Zone Bone’, a horrible name for a boost meter than fills up when you do tricks, and combat, which is as easy to master as punching yourself in the face.
 
Anyway, you pick from a group of skaters that will educate you thoroughly about every awful teenaged stereotype from the past ten years, and Uncle Hawk, of course. Before every event, you’re treated to an interview clip with one of these clichés. It adds personality to the game, it’s just bad personality. There’s little technical difference between the skaters, just the order of missions you’ll undertake as you work up through the tiers.
 
Finishing an event will net you points to open up a new tier of missions, and there certainly are a lot of them. The bulk of the work gets done in Race, Slalom or Trick events, but there are a few other types to spice it up, like a challenge to break stuff, hit people as you fly by, or grind a few thousand feet and still finish. These few other missions show promise, and it’s a shame there aren’t more of them, especially to replace the Trick events.
 
Busting tricks is as easy as ever, the problem is the environment. Scoring a billion-point combo is easy in a free roaming, normal Tony Hawk environment, but it doesn’t translate well to this downhill format. Holding a trick line together while careening down a hill full of people, cars and fruit carts leads to some of the game’s most frustrating acts of trial and error. It feels very pasted on.
 
click to enlargeIt isn’t helped one bit by the ho-hum graphics engine, and looks no better than a Gamecube title. But although the character models are so-so and the textures are muddy, Downhill Jam manages to convey a good sense of speed. The track design is even better, with lots of short cuts and branching paths. The only downside is that looking for shortcuts can frequently seduce you into a wrong turn. 
 
The real problem in Downhill Jam is the lack of replay value, simply because you’ll find yourself replaying so much of the game the first time through. Even with a ton of events and twelve skaters, the goals become more and more difficult, nudging you ever closer to pure trial and error. After retrying a tough slalom ten times, you’ll never need to play it again.
 
With friends, though, things get a little better. Up to four players can queue up a list of favorite courses and event types from the single player game. It tends to lead to better competition, as the computer-controlled skaters are pretty predictable.
 
Strangely, Downhill Jam is host to about forty or so high-class tunes, from Iron Maiden to Bad Brains to Peanut Butter Wolf. You can even customize each skater’s playlist or build one to rule them all. The voice-over work is also pretty good. The script is pretty lame, but the actors do a decent job.
 
So was it right that this little punker was left all alone in the corner at E3? Well, it may not provide the most revolutionary take on the Wii controller, but it works well enough. I said it last year, “Every console launch will have a Tony Hawk game,” and while Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam isn’t the biggest or best, it’s still a decent ride.
C+ Revolution report card
  • Good control
  • Fast
  • Top-notch soundtrack
  • Lots of events
  • Lackluster graphics
  • Repetitive
  • Repetitive

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam


More On GameRevolution