Tony Hawk 5 is a disaster on four wheels

In fairness, I haven’t played it (ergo why this is not an Ethical Gamer post — that’s only for games I’ve actually played). I don’t know how prevalent these bugs are. But from all accounts, the physics engine in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 is a complete mess. Never mind the graphical aesthetic, which is like if you took a photograph and tried to cell shade it, then make all the objects more pointy so they’d work in a last-gen rendering engine — I can get over a weird set of graphical choices and a blocky art direction and even, horror upon horrors, a frame rate under 60fps. What I can’t forgive, though, is a giant price tag on a triple-A release from a venerated game franchise like Tony Hawk that looks, well, like this. I mean, just look at this nonsense.

Also strangely, the game shipped with 4.6 gigs on disc, and its day one patch was 7.8 gigs. Generally, these are to patch bugs that have been discovered since the disc shipped, though some conspiracy-minded folks seem to think it’s to keep people from shipping a game early. By some accounts, the only things that were playable pre-patch were the tutorial and the editor mode; others say, the game is fully playable without the patch. Either way, the physics is apparently still a wreck even with all the patches. AND, to make matters worse, it shipped without ever sending review copies to reviewers — a move widely recognized as an admission that they knew it was a mess internally before shipping. Remember when Hollywood tried to tell us that texting during movies was responsible for their poor showing? Seriously, Hollywood tried to blame viewers’ ability to rapidly warn away their friends for Gigli’s flop, because if it weren’t for all those easily-accessible reviews, nobody would know the movie sucked and they’d have been able to grift more people.

Of course, SINCE early reviews aren’t accessible for THPS5, more people like me who remember the franchise fondly would be willing to pre-order or buy this on launch only to find a buggy mess that downloads patches that almost double the shipped disc. Tell me this — which is more unethical, being a woman indie dev who didn’t have sex with a game journalist? Or being a big company selling a grossly broken product for a gigantic fistful of cash? Cross-reference Batman: Arkham Knight on the PC, or Assassin’s Creed: Unity everywhere.

Also of note is that Penny Arcade is now decrying criticizing a medium that you love, where once they argued the exact opposite. They are rapidly descending into a spiral that will inevitably land them in the cesspool of other reactionary right-wingers who just hate, hate, HATE that anyone could possibly think anything’s actually fundamentally wrong with their beloved medium, or, say, with themselves, like with their own Dick Wolves nonsense. (Trigger warnings galore if you decide to Google that shit. Just don’t.)

I’m kinda heartbroken that my childhood memories of Tony Hawk Pro Skater were so, so much better, less glitchy, and — compared to its contemporaries — competitive graphically than what passes for a $70 game today. But, I wasn’t planning on buying this before — and I’m definitely not going to now.

The Forbes article, incidentally, quotes liberally from our good friend Tauriq Moosa‘s twitter account, which, while you should definitely follow because Tauriq is awesome, I’m sure isn’t being written for Forbes’ benefit.

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Tony Hawk 5 is a disaster on four wheels
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28 thoughts on “Tony Hawk 5 is a disaster on four wheels

  1. 2

    I can’t even figure out why they made that comic. The accompanying text is, as always, useless and there is no indication as to what pissed the little snowflakes off this time.
    To be fair, this position is consistent with their latest work because they haven’t been criticizing games for a long time. Not surprisingly, since PA now mostly works as their personal blog, and games feature in roughly 50% of their strips, if that.

  2. 5

    Also of note is that Penny Arcade is now decrying criticizing a medium that you love, where once they argued the exact opposite. They are rapidly descending into a spiral that will inevitably land them in the cesspool of other reactionary right-wingers who just hate, hate, HATE that anyone could possibly think anything’s actually fundamentally wrong with their beloved medium, or, say, with themselves, like with their own Dick Wolves nonsense. (Trigger warnings galore if you decide to Google that shit. Just don’t.)

    Nope, that twitter conversation is just self-indulgent silliness. “They’ve gone full GamerGate” what the fuuuuuuuuuuuck.

  3. 6

    Holms #5

    “They’ve gone full GamerGate”

    I don’t see where JT said that.
    What he did say is that this part of a pattern of problematic views from them. No, I don’t think they’re “full GamerGate”. Neither are many Gators for that matter. “Full GamerGate” is a fairly small group mostly lurking on 8chan. Its large impact, however, is due to people being sympathetic to their ideology. An ideology that, among other things, says that some things (games, because games are serious shit) should not be criticized in no way under any circumstance.
    Unless it’s a game they don’t like, of course.

  4. 7

    That quote was from the twitter conversation I mentioned; it was linked in the OP. It was not the main thrust of Jason’s mention of them, but it was exemplary to my mind at least that that conversation was ‘self-indulgent silliness’.

    I hope it is also clear that I reject the claim that they are anti-other-people-criticising-things-they-like.

  5. 8

    Penny Arcade built itself on immature and childish responses to nerd culture. It’s not exactly surprising that this is how they react now.

  6. 9

    Holms #7

    it was linked in the OP.

    I got the impression that the link was to the image in question and PA’s own counter argument from years back. Not as an endorsement of everything ever said in that conversation.

    I hope it is also clear that I reject the claim that they are anti-other-people-criticising-things-they-like.

    It’s clear, though I still don’t know why you think that.

  7. 10

    I hope it is also clear that I reject the claim that they are anti-other-people-criticising-things-they-like.

    It’s clear, though I still don’t know why you think that.

    Because the claim has very little weight behind it, and goes against their many years of acknowledging that other people are free to hold contrary opinions. Holkins / Tycho in particular often makes note of the fact that he is fascinated by things for reasons unlikely to be held by others, and accepts that other opinions will differ from his.

    Something so at odds with their years long habit requires a bit more than an uncharitable interpretation of a tiny number of their strips.

  8. 12

    Holms
    Today’s PA is about comment sections and freeze peach. From the people who gleefully state they don’t nor ever will read their forum.
    Or in Tycho’s own words:

    Robert asked me once how I’d feel about comments after my newspost; I laughed at him for ten minutes, without breathing.

    Clearly they’re completely consistent with their previous statements and there is no problematic trend here at all.

  9. 13

    These are the same people who coined the “greater internet shitwad theory” that is absolutely true about reactionaries and “shitposters”; they’re now criticizing removing comment sections where people do nothing but be shitwads and shitpost.

    This is a problematic trend, end of. The PA guys of five years ago wouldn’t even recognize the PA guys of today. They’re either cynically pandering to the reactionaries because the liberal folks upset with them for “dickwolves” left long ago, while not believing any of it themselves (as evidenced by their words about their own comment sections), or they’re seriously capable of some Olympic-event-level mental gymnastics with regard to compartmentalization.

  10. 14

    I’ll also note that articles in print publications don’t, in fact, constitute “conversations” and are, actually, considered articles. I have zero problem with sites that treat their articles like print publications instead of blogs. In fact, I find that blog comments are often destructive on important pieces of, say, science reporting — how many climate-related, evidence-based posts are shat all over by climate denialists who undercut the article in any way possible in the comments, for instance?

    Why should everything be a blog? Why can’t blogs be blogs and forums be forums and articles be articles? If it’s okay for comics to not have a comments section, why should articles? Tycho, Gabe, you’re a shadow of what you once were. Get it together, guys.

    And I’m saying this over here, on my blog, where I have a platform, because you don’t owe me a platform to say it on your comic. Just like Motherboard doesn’t owe you a platform on their articles.

  11. 15

    To be fair not all liberals left after “dickwolves”. The forums are still more progressive than the main site and the PA guys are being called out there.
    So there is that, at least. And I agree with you about forums vs blogs vs publications.

  12. 16

    Apologies for big wall of text, I guess I don’t understand how to line break here…

    So here’s this game, right, that is sold at full retail price in a depressingly broken state by an absolute juggernaut of a publisher. It was rushed to release and sold to gamers with fond memories of the PSX originals, and is an absolute betrayal of the fans of the franchise. It is emblematic of so many of the things that are horrifically wrong with the AAA games industry. I didn’t buy it because I thought something like this might happen, and I don’t preorder ANYTHING because I’m so often right (and I hate it).

    On the other hand, Undertale was released on Steam about three weeks ago. It was made almost entirely by one person. It’s ten US dollars and I absolutely suggest that everyone buy it without reading anything else about it, because it is basically the best game I can remember from the past ten years or so. I’m serious. I have high standards when it comes to games, and I was completely unprepared. Not a joke, just go buy it, I promise you’ll love it. Play it for an hour and a half and get a refund if you don’t like where it’s going, but at least give it a chance, because it is truly something special, a legitimate modern day classic, and I sincerely hope a turning point for gaming in general.

    Maybe you aren’t convinced because you don’t know me and hype is hype? Ok, let me explain a little bit. It’s a JRPG, but even if you hate JRPGs you should give it a look. The writing is miraculous. The combat system is actually fun, and is used to do everything from illustrate the emotional state of enemies to making you crack up at unexpected inversions of expected RPG tropes. You will never have to grind. You will never have to do a fetch quest. You will never have to kill a single enemy. In fact, nobody ever has to die. Sure, you CAN kill the enemies. But you won’t want to. Fighting is the least fun thing to do in the game. The most fun thing to do is make friends with an amazing cast of characters. If you do this, and complete the game without killing anyone, you will be rewarded with the most emotionally satisfying ending to a game I’ve ever seen. Yes, more so than Mother 3, or Bioshock Infinite, or really anything.

    On the other hand, you can go through the game killing everyone. If you do this, the game becomes a horror game in which you are the monster. The bright and happy towns, full of incredible characters with hilarious dialogue, become empty and lifeless as they are evacuated in preparation for your approach, sucking all of the joy and humor out of the game. The soundtrack becomes a chilling noisescape. Characters will attempt to convince you to give up your murderous quest, and you’ll probably do it, because it is horrifying. It’s incredibly effective horror, because the thing that scares you is YOURSELF. And if you DO make it all the way to the end and kill everyone? There are consequences. Permanent ones. The game never forgets, and will never let YOU forget, what you did. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s brutal. It plays on all of your expectations from years of playing other RPGs. Accidentally killed someone? No problem, right? I’ll just load my save and try again. Hey, it worked! See, this game can’t get the better of me, right? Uh… Right… You just keep telling yourself that.

    Seriously, I could go on for hours about this game, about the fact that two of the three female leads are a genius scientist and a badass warrior, and both are depicted EXCELLENTLY. About the fact that there are multiple same sex relationships that the game takes as granted are normal and don’t need to be commented on in a really refreshing way. About the fact that, through the gameplay and metanarrative, it asks questions about the medium itself, and why we think killing things is fun. Plus you get to date a skeleton, and encourage an adorable volcano who’s really only trying to help, and help someone overcome their fear of being honest with the people they truly care about, and you’ll smile the entire time, until you cry.

    I’m really sorry if this comes across as a bit of a long advertisement, Jason, feel free to leave it trapped in moderation if you’d like, but I can’t imagine a better group of people to introduce this game to, and I get the impression that you in particular would have an absolute blast playing this thing.

  13. 18

    It’s just double-enter, M0N0P0LE. I added some linebreaks in what I think are sensible spots for readability’s sake.

    Undertale is a game I’ve been very much interested in since the kickstarter, though I haven’t gotten around to buying / playing yet. Seeing so many people compare it favourably to Earthbound is great, and seeing how it plays with video game tropes like saving/reloading and good karma / bad karma — that’s epic. Brilliant. Especially remembering that you’re the type of person to game the system by using it to achieve more favourable circumstances when you screw up, that’s really novel. I’m definitely going to get it and review it at some point in the future.

  14. 19

    Thanks so much, those line breaks are in the precise places I was trying to put them.

    I was actually hoping you’d plan to review it at some point, I really enjoyed your Mercenary Kings review, pretty much hit the nail on the head on every point in my opinion.

  15. 20

    AlexanderZ
    Today’s PA is about comment sections and freeze peach. From the people who gleefully state they don’t nor ever will read their forum.

    That strip is quite clealy laughing at a website taking away the article comment function while claiming that they are increasing the channels of communication. It’s fairly clear in execution I thought, but if the strip was not clear enough, the text update spells it out at length. Some excerpts:

    “I go to the comments not to find consensus but literally to find people criticizing the article. I want to see the idea of that article discussed.”

    “You don’t have to have comments on in order to be a good person. I don’t have comments on my posts, for example, and I’m an incredible person.”

    “So, comments are not required, as I said. I don’t think you’re obligated to donate the footer of your article to people that hate you. Adding comments to our strip page – when everyone else was removing such things – was certainly a conversation.”

    That last quote mentions adding comments to their strip page. I know you and others have seized on the point that there are no comments at the end of the news updates, but did even you know that they added a comment thread for every comic? It has rules of conduct and moderation, but it is immensely clear that they are not anti-commentary.

    I know you’re being sarcastic when you finish by saying:

    Clearly they’re completely consistent with their previous statements and there is no problematic trend here at all.

    But that happens to be completely true.

    These are the same people who coined the “greater internet shitwad [fuckwad, actually] theory” that is absolutely true about reactionaries and “shitposters”; they’re now criticizing removing comment sections where people do nothing but be shitwads and shitpost.

    You’ve missed their text update too, I see. As noted above, Tycho / Holkins explicitly notes that comment sections are double edged to say the least, and that no content creator / news purveyor / etc. is under any obligation to have one.

  16. 21

    Holms:

    That strip is quite clealy laughing at a website taking away the article comment function while claiming that they are increasing the channels of communication.

    Quite clearly, we do not know that that is the point of the comic, because we do not know that Motherboard is both claiming to be increasing channels of communication while also not providing them. And in fact, that isn’t the case, based on simply reading the short information that PA themselves were mocking: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/im-on-twitter-too

    What percentage of comments on any site are valuable enough to be published on their own? One percent? Less? Based on the disparity in quality between emails we get and the average state of comments here and all over the web, I think the problem is a matter of the medium.

    Comment sections inspire quick, potent remarks, which too easily veer into being useless or worse. Sending an email knowing that a human will actually see it tends to foster thought, which is what we want. So in addition to encouraging that you reach out to our reporters via email or social media, you can now also share your thoughts with editors via [email protected]. Once a week or thereabouts we’ll publish a digest of the most insightful letters we get. …..

    We’re still human and praise always feels great, but criticism is necessary for the strength of our publication. So instead of burying discussion in a comments section, we want to publish the best for all to see

    So, despite their hilarious observation that the comment section is being replaced with Nothing, it is actually being replaced with a weekly publication of e-mails. With the explicit argument that comment sections are not productive or insightful while the e-mails they get actually are. Kinda makes the comedy fall flat. Kinda means that Tycho’s actual complaint is simply that their ability to possibly see critiques of a Motherboard article will now involve finding a different article on site to read rather than scrolling down to the bottom of the present article. Serious Business.

    Also, this: https://twitter.com/WarrenIsDead/status/651782394010300416

  17. 22

    Yes, I read these perfectly obvious things too. Did you read the text post where Holkins elaborates on the strips, and demonstrates that he understands the reasoning? It’s almost as if they use the strip to make jokes sometimes…!

    And yes, I saw that twitter conversation in JT’s twitter feed. I found it to be extraordinarily silly and not worth the electrons storing it.

  18. 23

    Yes, I read these perfectly obvious things too. Did you read the text post where Holkins elaborates on the strips, and demonstrates that he understands the reasoning? It’s almost as if they use the strip to make jokes sometimes…!

    Oh fuck off you self righteous schmuck.

  19. 24

    I feel I wasn’t generous enough in my last comment. Schmuck’s tend to be half decent people capable of reading what others respond with. Holms couldn’t do that if you paid them to.

  20. 25

    Holms says:

    Did you read the text post where Holkins elaborates on the strips, and demonstrates that he understands the reasoning?

    Did you?

    Here’s the link, btw, to the thing that Holms seemingly can’t stop talking about but can never bother to show anyone the way to: http://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2015/10/07/vox-something-or-other

    And here is what is said at the end of that post, conveniently immediately after the very last thing Holms quotes from them in comment 20.

    But here’s what I would say: having them and then taking them away is strange. And trying to present the fundamentally censorious act as being of a piece with greater communication is simply a lie. You aren’t supposed to call people liars; it’s one of those things you aren’t supposed to do. It seems like a rule cooked up by liars, frankly. But what if a person dissembles madly, and writhes rhetorically, in the service of a goal oblique to their stated aims? I see no reason to invent another word.

    So here is the situation:

    The comic claims that the comment section is closed and replaced by NOTHING.
    The actual post the comic is responding to states that instead of the comment section, they will be regularly posting e-mails as an online equivalent to letters to the editor.
    Holms claims the comic isn’t wrong and is just exaggerating to comedic effect, just read the newspost!
    The newspost ends by insisting that Motherboard is lying and censoring, with no apparent attempt at deliberate humor.

    And then Holms just blatantly dismisses any concerns or questions about the fact that they decided to illustrate the person making the announcement as a fat effeminate man with dyed hair (aptly described by someone else as “queercoding”), even though the actual person making the announcement had none of those traits.

    I’ve seen many kinds of apologetics and apologists. This one is new to me…..

    (Meta: I wonder if the “It was just a joke!” defense will itself be defended with a “It was just a joke!” defense.)

  21. 26

    anteprepro #25

    The newspost ends by insisting that Motherboard is lying and censoring, with no apparent attempt at deliberate humor.

    Not to mention that calling Motherboard liars, even if we ignore the strip entirely, is to put it mildly, not entirely truthful. If the comments section was too hostile for many commenters, or if reasonable comments were berried under pages of shitposts, then removing the comments and placing a letters section does in fact enable greater conversation.
    Not to mention that there is nothing “censorious” about this act. This is the internet, where anyone can say anything, including things which would, with good reason, put the person saying them behind bars if they were delivered in print. They can still say what they want in a millions of other places.

  22. 27

    #23 julian
    Oh fuck off you self righteous schmuck.

    No.

    ___

    #25 anteprepro
    Did you?

    Yes.

    Here’s the link, btw, to the thing that Holms seemingly can’t stop talking about but can never bother to show anyone the way to: http://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2015/10/07/vox-something-or-other

    Oh I wasn’t aware that it really needed a link, being that the corresponding comic strip had already been linked. Of course this is borne of my familiarity of the site, the strip / update pairs are always tied with links. However since you’re being snide about it, I’ll note that 1) saying I “can’t stop talking about [the text update]” is a bit rich when I have only mentioned it in two of my five posts to this thread (three of six when this goes up); and 2) I DID link it, in post #20.

    So here is the situation:

    The comic claims that the comment section is closed and replaced by NOTHING.
    The actual post the comic is responding to states that instead of the comment section, they will be regularly posting e-mails as an online equivalent to letters to the editor.
    Holms claims the comic isn’t wrong and is just exaggerating to comedic effect, just read the newspost!
    The newspost ends by insisting that Motherboard is lying and censoring, with no apparent attempt at deliberate humor.

    A better summary would be:

    – JT’s post made the claim that Penny Arcade are against criticising them and the things they like, and linked to a twitter conversation that also made that claim.

    – I disagreed with the linked-to twitter conversation, but did not make it clear why I did so.

    – A brief back-and-forth with AlexanderZ, which ended with “let’s see how this develops”.

    – A new PA post was linked to by AlexanderZ, claiming that it confirms the original assertion.

    – I disagreed that it confirms that original assertion, and quoted several passages from the text update that quite clearly demonstrate they are not anti-criticism. I thought I made that clear when I said in #20 “…it is immensely clear that they are not anti-commentary” but I see that the joke had been conflated with this point.

    So for clarity: 1) I actually thought the joke in the strip was clear, but came at the expense of being uncharitable for an easy laugh. 2) I maintain that PA are not anti-commentary / anti-criticising-the-things-they-like.

  23. 28

    Oops, second to last paragraph should end with “…but I see that the joke had been conflated with the intended issue by this point.”

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