Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Review

The name of this Tony Hawk title should be your first clue that something is different here. Downhill Jam changes the emphasis from pulling off tricks to winning races, all of which take place on steep hills. Itís good to see the Tony Hawk franchise trying new things, but while new is always different, different is not always good. Is Downhill Jam the good kind of different or the bad?

The streets of San Francisco.
With the emphasis on racing, your overriding goal on most of the levels to cross the finish line before any of your competitors do. In short, just win baby. Tricks have by no means been eliminated from the game, though. To go really fast youíll need boost and to get boost youíll need to pull off tricks. To facilitate your tricks youíll find ramps placed here and there on the course as well as plenty of environmental stunt points such as rails. Some levels will have other challenges such as collecting a required number of items, pulling off certain tricks, or reaching a minimum trick point total, but these all take place on downhill courses like the races. This can make things a bit tricky because things move really quickly and itís easy to skate right past terrain features before you even know that they are there. That and itís hard to go back uphill once youíve missed something. Even when youíre racing these things can be problematic and it will often take a few losses on a course before you know the lay of the land and can begin contending for the win.

Downhill Jamís primary mode is the World Tour. In this mode you and Tony Hawk are out to establish a championship team of downhill racers and need to travel the world to recruit your crew. Along the way youíre continually dogged by a top racing team with an unhealthy obsession with the 1980s. Each location that you visit will have twelve events, three of which are tied to recruiting a new team member. The other main mode is Jam Session. This is a bit more like the traditional Tony Hawk games in that youíre given a whole list of objectives and you must try to knock off as many of them as possible. Lastly you can compete in quick races on any of the gameís levels.

Downhill Jam also supports Nintendo Wi-Fi. You can race against up to three other players either in straight or goal-based races (get the most air time during the race). The multiplayer races can be fun, but sometimes itís a little tricky finding three other players ready to race in a four-way.

Downhill Jam is basically a racing game and as such may not appeal to the seriesí long term fans. Sure the tricks are there, but you can earn plenty of boost doing the most basic of tricks. You lose some of the satisfaction gained in other Tony Hawk games when you finally pulled off a particularly hard trick or discovered a secret hard to reach area. Itís not that Downhill Jam is a bad game; itís just that you need to realize that itís a racer and that there are better racers out there. As far as I know none are on skateboards, thoughÖ

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 81%. Downhill Jam is a decent racer but it doesnít feel like as much of a skateboard game as do previous Tony Hawk games.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 2 

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