Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Series – Ranking Every Console Tony Hawk Game From Worst To Best

8- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD

TonyHD

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD isn’t quite a remaster, and it isn’t quite a remake, and it isn’t quite appealing enough to reach the upper echelon of Tony Hawk games. Sure, Robomodo got the feel of Tony Hawk down and made a nice mix of levels from the first two games, but the lack of several classic stages and tunes doesn’t make up for the neat additions (like Exploding Head mode).

7 – Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground

ProvingGround

On paper, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground has some seriously substantial additions; the single-player mode defines your character by their skating type and the “nail-a-trick” feature of Project 8 was expanded upon with “nail-a-grab” and “nail-a-manual.” Unfortunately, the skater class types were too much of deviation from the standard skating experience fans had grown to love, while the new “nail-a” moves were not as groundbreaking as Project 8’s addition. After THP8 reinvented the wheel, Proving Ground hit a major bump in the road.

6 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

Pro4

After Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Activision instituted some pretty major changes in almost every new iteration. On one hand, it was necessary, as THPS 4’s new additions (spine transfers and skitching) were hardly impressive when put up against the seismic shifts that the manual and revert added to the two previous sequels. On the other hand, THPS 4 was the last game in quite some time to stay bolted to the board and focused solely on arcade action instead of weird stories.

5 – Tony Hawk’s Underground

THUG

Tony Hawk games and story usually don’t mix. Usually. Tony Hawk’s Underground was the rare exception, as the simple-yet-effective story of skating fame and jealousy made the journey through THUG’s well-designed stages a fun romp. What other extreme sports game has a final boss battle where you have to tail (and out-do) your ex-friend as he attempts the world’s longest grind?

4- Tony Hawk’s Project 8

Project8

After Tony Hawk’ American Wasteland, Activision needed a big reinvention, which Project 8 delivered in spades. With a visual upgrade worthy of high-definition and a grittier style the eschewed the goofier stories of recent iterations THP8 was already a marked improvement over its predecessor, but the nail-a-trick feature was the biggest (and best) addition to the series since the revert. It’s a shame it was only put to use in this game and its immediate successor – nail-a-trick had the potential to make a big impact on the franchise as a whole.

3 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Pro2

Here we have the upper-echelon of Tony Hawk games, where the skateboarding sims go from “great” to “transformative.” The addition of the manual made trick-linking possible and infinitely increased the risk-versus-reward factor when it came to continuing tricks. No longer did you need to find an infinite grind loop somewhere within a stage; the manual could bridge the gap between non-grab tricks and made paths through each level limitless. Combine that with perhaps the best stages in franchise history and a pretty good soundtrack, and you’ve got an undeniable classic.

2 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Pro1

It’s really astonishing how Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater came out of nowhere to revolutionize gaming in 1999. While there had been skateboarding games before, nothing was as approachable, replayable, and reflective of skateboarding culture as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It made skating popular, it made the music on its soundtrack popular, and it made the PlayStation (even more) popular. Even without the great additions of the next two games, the original’s skating is still a blast, and while the downhill levels are a far cry from the unforgettable standard stages, they at least add a certain flair unique to the Birdman’s first ever game.

1 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

Pro3

And now, the apex of skateboarding video games and one of the finest interactive experiences ever pressed to a disc. You’ve got great levels on par with the classics from the first two Tony Hawk games, but the addition of the revert made the entire world your skatepark. With the ability to keep a combo going after both of the core trick types now available, THPS3 brought the skill, risk, and reward for tricky skating to its pinnacle. This was also the first Tony Hawk game to feature online play, and you can bet that many a PS2 owner plunked down some cash for the Network Adaptor just to skate alongside some friends. Tony Hawk 3 was nothing less than extreme sports perfected.

What do you think of our rankings? What’s your most underrated (and overrated) Tony Hawk title? Sound off below!

23 thoughts on “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Series – Ranking Every Console Tony Hawk Game From Worst To Best

  1. I’m not going to disagree with the top three, though I would replace 2 with 4 because I didn’t play the 2nd game. Also, I’m glad to see Project 8 ranked so high as it is probably my favorite in the series.

    However, I do take umbrage with THUG 2 ranking lower than the the original THUG. I enjoyed THUG, but I felt it was lacking, something, a feeling I had while playing the previous games. Its kinda hard to explain but overall, THUG was good, but not as great as 1-3.

    THUG 2 did a lot for me. I know opinion of the game depends on how accepting one is of Jackass & Bam Margera’s antics, but that game was an absolute blast. I loved the story and humor, the levels were great, the stylized graphics were awesome, and the soundtrack was top notch.

    1. Also wanted to add that American Wasteland is my least favorite in the series. I hated that I couldn’t create a female skater, the story was not interesting, the soundtrack didn’t match the quality of previous games, and LA was boring to skate around. THPS HD
      was disappointing. The physics didn’t feel right, and was a worse game because of it. It also didn’t help that the PC port was garbage.

      It’s sad to see THPS 5 being in the state that it is in. I was looking forward to it, hoping it would be a proper revival of one of my favorite series ever, and bring back a niche of games that I miss.

  2. I honestly can’t believe Ride ever saw the light of day. I’m not skateboarder but I know that you need the forward moving force in order to do anything. How would that work with a plastic board. Secondly, why the hell wouldn’t you just go skateboarding? Guitar Hero was fun because it was a much less complicated version of playing the guitar. I fail to see why anyone would buy Ride instead of just going outside with an actual skateboard.

  3. I dug a lot of TH games, but the 2 I got the most playtime out of were THPS 2 and THUG 2. I know the latter isn’t popular with a lot of fans, but since I skipped a few entries, it was a lot of new stuff that was really interesting (manuals, reverts, etc.). Also, because I was a dumb teenager when I played it, I enjoyed the story mode. *hides face in shame for all eternity*

  4. I still don’t think it’s a great game, but I would’ve ranked Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland a little higher. Yes, the story was dumb and the claims of one big open-world city to skate around in were a complete lie, but it also brought the focus back onto skating. The first THUG was alright, but it (and especially its sequel) lost focus, and you spend almost as much time pulling off dumb missions on foot or driving poorly programmed cars around as you do skating. The THUG games are the Tony Hawk equivalent of Sonic Adventure: all you want to do is the one thing the series is famous for, but it keeps forcing you to try out these new styles of gameplay that are half as fun as the old stuff. American Wasteland still definitely has problems, but it at least had the good sense to keep you on a skateboard most of the time.

  5. I’m amazed Project 8 is that high, as I thought the series ran out of vitality by then. I’ll have to track it down sometime then, but I’m glad Dave put 3 as number one. There was something grimly hilarious I found about the suburb stage in 3 where you got a “squirrel stew” bonus if you ran over one of the photorealistic squirrels scurrying over the stage. I think squirrels are adorable and I’d never dream of actually harming them, but I respect a game that has the audacity to reward you for animal cruelty.

  6. Some of the best times I ever had was tuning to Love Line, taking some “California medicine” and playing THPS 4 for hours on end. The fourth Tony Hawk may be my favorite, but 3 is definitely the best. Tighter focus, better music and way more interesting levels, if you haven’t played it and still own a PS2 (hell, I remember the gba version being pretty good) pick that shit up. It’s like a buck fifty or something

  7. I definitely believe 4 was the best one. 3 was great but, and I’m going off of memory here, the levels seemed smaller than 2 because of the jump to a new system. 4 had huge levels and got rid of the timed runs of the first 3 games. I would just skate around and if I decided to do a mission I didn’t have to exit out of the stage. I played every one from 1 to American Wasteland even the N64 versions which looked better but sounded baaad. It’s amazing how I never grew tired of the series and then when they jumped to PS3 I just forgot about them. I would like to try Project 8 and Proving Ground someday.
    One other thing to note was I loved the DS version of American Wastland. Proving Ground on the DS was alright but looked like shit. American Wasteland had a cell shaded look and a different story than the console version (it even had a slightly different name, American Sk8land) and played great. It worked really well on the DS.

  8. “… and the worst soundtrack in franchise history” -from the THPS5 segment.

    LOL. I just found out that a band I used to play in is on the soundtrack. Sure, I’m a little jealous, but I aint defending them.

  9. I can agree with most of the list but I wouldn’t have rated 2X and THUG2 so low. 2X is essentially an improved version of the first two games so while I can understand not rating it as high as those games due to a few nitpicks, I think it should at least be fairly close to them on the list. THUG2 did have a stupid career mode with tons of bullshit but it also introduced Classic Mode which lets you play through all of the levels THPS-style without any of that bullshit. I think it deserves to be higher on the list for that mode alone.

    One thing I have to commend you for is for putting American Wasteland so low on the list. Many people give it undue praise for being a “return to form” with its focus on skating. Even if that were true it doesn’t stop the levels, missions, and soundtrack from being shit. Even Classic Mode sucked in that game.

  10. American Wasteland is hilarious to play! You use skate tricks to steal everything in LA and build your own garbage park that would never work. I do agree on Pro Skater 3. The levels were expansive, the challenges were clever and the secret characters! Darth Maul and Wolverine shredding it up!

  11. I loved American Wasteland, it felt a lot like the older games to me, but I only played the GameCube version—maybe that’s why? I never even knew there was an HD version, but I’m betting it was pretty buggy, as even Project 8 was kind of a mess on the HD consoles. 4 will always be my favorite, I like the open-level format a lot more than timed runs. It blew my mind as a kid, and I was already a huge fan of the first three games.

  12. The Capture the Flag in THPS3 was incredible. In fact, I found this article because I was looking for the latest THPS available to play. And to find out if any of the latest versions were worth it. (THPS3 is difficult to get running on Windows 10 with modern controllers.) I know people still play THPS3.

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