Conclusion: It’s good to see the Tony Hawk series continue to try to do something different with itself while still maintaining the basic idea of skating. Downhill Jam however is a step in a different direction; not forward, but not really backwards either because I think it does cater to a different skating crowd and because it does have its merits, despite being flawed.
Excerpt: Skaters have always had a love/hate relationship with gravity and now Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam takes that relationship to a new level. The object is no longer to pull off as many tricks as possible before Mother Earth comes calling, but rather to start at the top of huge hills and let gravity take its course in the kind of racing that’s usually reserved for those who prefer snow under their boards.
Excerpt: Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam introduces a major paradigm shift to the Tony Hawk franchise. Instead of challenging players to string together their best tricks in large, open environments, as previous Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games on the Game Boy Advance have done, this one shifts the focus toward beating opponents to the finish line in a series of enclosed downhill courses.
Pros: Adds a Tony Hawk twist to what is primarily a racing game, 3D graphics are impressive considering the hardware, plenty to do if you want to unlock all of the boards and outfits
Cons: This isn't the trick-filled Tony Hawk experience you're used to, audio is weak, apart from the recorded dialogue in the cutaways, obstacles can sneak up on you thanks to the limited sight distance
Excerpt: Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam was a departure for the series. Ignoring the Wii-specific control system, the game dumped the open-world play of past games in favor of a SSX -styled, trick-oriented racing game. The PS2 iteration of Downhill Jam is the same game as the Wii version, only without the motion-control, though in its place are a few new multiplayer races and three new characters. Graphically, the PS2 version of Downhill Jam is a few notches below the Wii version.
Excerpt: The Tony Hawk series has always been about skating around various environments performing huge tricks to accumulate points to reach goals. At least, it was until the Wii came out. The Wii demanded a whole new approach to the Tony Hawk license, that of downhill racing. Evidently the game was quite successful, for Activision has now ported it to the PS2. Is the PS2 version of Downhill Jam worthy of a spot in the collection of skateboarding fans? I believe that it is.
Excerpt: Even the greatest gaming franchises of all time have taken small side-steps in genre to increase their mass market appeal. Take that chubby little Italian pipe cleaner with the way-out-of-his-league little blonde honey. While the bread and butter of the franchise has always been the adventure games that we’ve been playing since the NES, Nintendo has taken Mario and his entire posse in multiple directions over the years.
Conclusion: Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam really wants to be the next SSX, but due to its repetitive levels, boring single player mode, and bad trick system the game never quite hits the same high notes as EA's popular extreme sports series.
Excerpt: Anybody remember the ‘Xtreme’ games for the original PlayStation? There was ESPN Extreme Games (which would late be known as 1 Xtreme), its sequel 2 Xtreme, and the final (and worst) 3 Xtreme. The games have always combined skateboards, rollerblades, bikes, and snowboards and spread them across various stages. It was essentially Road Rash, minus the bikes.