A couple of months ago, a video surfaced from Youtube displaying Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 running on the iPhone. Of course, the video was confirmed as real, but the developers behind it weren’t sanctioned by Activision to develop this application. As Activision owns all the rights to Tony Hawk Pro Skater and anything to do with it, that story has now become somewhat like dust in the wind.
And while Activision doesn’t seem to be willing in bringing many games to the iPhone, Gameloft is all for it. Bringing to us Modern Combat Sandstorm disguised as its console counterpart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare along with Gangstar: West Coast Hustle disguised as Grand Theft Auto. Up next in their line up of console counterparts is Skater Nation, which is of course, Tony Hawk in disguise.
Graphics: Who can’t like the graphics in Gameloft games? 3D player models were quite accurate in my opinion, and detail was definitely present. I didn’t see much pixelation in the game, and the player models were especially well done. I usually keep my expectations in check when it comes to games, but Gameloft always seems to hit that high-bar I set for them in terms of graphics.
Tricks: Skaters shouldn’t be displeased with the amount of tricks available including 360 flip, nose grind, and other sweet skateboarding tricks. With more than 30 tricks available in the trick book, you shouldn’t run out of any anytime soon.
Free Roam: Free roam hasn’t exactly taken off on the iPhone, but it hasn’t been ignored either. We’ve seen two open-world games so far including Gangstar the newly released Ravensword: The Fallen King. The free roam works great in Skater Nation also, giving you the ability to perform tricks on anything, and almost anywhere. Of course, there are some limitations set by walls or road blockages, but the overall free roam style worked great.
Content: Skater Nation is definitely not a short game, and after playing for over five hours, I’ve generated only around 50% completion percentage. At the rate I’m going, you’ll find me playing this game for ten hours until the game is completely finished. If you’re one of those people that are asking whether or not $6.99 is a good price tag for the content, I’m just going to answer you and say yes.
Controls: The controls aren’t unplayable, but they definitely need some work. I would find myself using the control scheme from Modern Combat and Gangstar rather than the new control scheme implemented here, and while it may have been better for the testers there over at the Gameloft offices, it still would have been nice for them to tweak it a little more.
Camera Angles: When you’re performing tricks in the air and flipping through half pipes, the camera angles do tend to become a little out of order and in somewhat of a disarray. Gameloft is constantly hving these camera problems, whether it be in NFL 2010 or Gangstar, and there doesn’t seem to be any real answer for it. Let’s just hope Gameloft updates it.
Character Customization: There isn’t much character customization in the game, and it would have been a lot better if you were able to make your own character and all that jazz. Maybe even put on a shirt on the shirtless, ripped tattooed guy. Either way, character customization seems to be a little lacking.
Get Your Own: I’m not a big Debbie downer when it comes to Gameloft bringing us obvious console copies, but I do sometimes wish they would take the time and make up something from their creative minds. They did bring us the joystick control scheme, so why not something original? Maybe I’m asking too much, but when there’s a hope there’s a way right?
As you can see, Skater Nation is full of small little problems, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best skating simulators on the iPhone. It’s basically Tony Hawk Pro Skater in the palm of your hand, with some name and graphical changes here and there. Overall, Gameloft did a solid job with bringing a free roam skating experience to the iPhone, and I’m not disappointed one bit.