Another year, another Hawk. To most, the arrival of any new Tony Hawk is a splendid thing, while others will dependably gripe about new additions making the worst Tony Hawk ever. While the later isn't altogether true, there are some skinned knees to go along with this trucks-and-bearings stunt spectacular.
Say what you will about the goofy THUG stories and the me-too create-a-character modes, the heart and soul of TH has always been the skating mechanics, and the trick system has remained stellar throughout the franchise's lifespan. That other stuff is just window dressing.
On the other hand, after eight incarnations, the TH formula is... a little less than fresh. Each year, efforts are made to breathe new life into the game. Manuals and reverts are now vital in creating the ludicrous combos we've become accustomed to, leaving armchair skate rats wondering how they ever lived without them.
In Project 8 we get new buttons for back flips and manual pivots, but the most notable addition to your arsenal is Nail the Trick. This ambitious mode uses the dual analog sticks as the player’s right and left legs; for example, pushing the right stick up kicks your right foot forward, sending your deck into a controlled kickflip. Kudos to the developers for taking a bold step into a new area of interactivity, even if it isn't very practical. To pull it off, the game goes into slow-mo (but what game doesn’t nowadays) enabling a limited variety of moves while in air.
Landing Nail the Trick moves scores more than your average trick, but any T-Hawker worth his salt can easily perform the equivalent using conventional techniques given the same amount of time. And the slightest fumble of thumb sends you flailing to the ground in the most prolonged and humiliating way, killing combos and wasting time. This isn't to say that Nail the Trick isn’t fun, but one wonders if it will dissolve into the TH canon after the novelty has worn off.