Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Buy On
  1. 100
    The story ramps up the difficulty gradually, so you build skills as you go, but there are now four difficulty levels, making THUG totally accessible to newbies.
  2. For immersing entertainment, this game is totally up our halfpipe.
  3. Entertainment Weekly
    Offers subplots and jokes galore, and a nuevo-punk soundtrack with some hip-hop flair. [21 Nov 2003, p.L2T 46]
  4. This game rocks! It is like "Grand Theft Auto 3" on a skateboard! I am so glad the developers chose to go in a new direction with the Tony Hawk franchise! This game is by far the best of all 5 titles to date!
  5. I'll trade in better sound and graphics and smoother gameplay any day over a few features.
  6. Just when you thought that there couldn't be any more tricks added to a Tony Hawk game, they add more.
  7. With an enormous amount of customizable options, absorbing story mode and large mod community, T.H.U.G. provides just about anything a gamer could want in a skateboarding title without grabbing a board and hitting the streets. Combine that with the ability to "place" yourself into the game with the face mapping feature, and you have a product that could easily be considered one of the best games of the year.
  8. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    While THUG offers some innovation, it remains fundamentally the same game...Fundamantally, Hawk hasn't evolved enough. [Jan 2004, p.112]
  9. 92
    The gameplay is still as stellar as ever: Neversoft's brilliant collage of on-the-fly experimentation and lighting-fast trick-popping is still as addictive as any drug and as intoxicating as any exotic woman.
  10. While it's inexcusable that there's still no Xbox Live support, and the GTA story mode isn't the revolutionary addition it could have been, THUG's overall great features and customary amazing skating action assure that this is again not only a great skateboarding game, but a great game period.
  11. Coupled with the unrivalled level design, the marriage of elements is a strong one... one that easily claims the extreme top spot and raises the bar that one notch higher.
  12. While at its heart the game is still an arcade-based skateboarding simulation that challenges players to perform tricks for points, the emphasis is less on Tony Hawk and other pro skaters and more on, well, nobodies like us.
  13. The new story mode takes the genre in another direction that is engaging but still keeps the tried-and-true Tony Hawk goodness intact. If you love the series then you are going to cream over Tony Hawk’s Underground.
  14. Official Xbox Magazine
    We didn't get the "face in the game" feature that the PS2 has, which admittedly sucks, but this is still the best out there and it keeps getting better. [Jan 2004, p.66]
  15. 90
    It's painful to see that the ultra-cool face-mapping and online eight-player multiplayer game is absent from the final Xbox package. However, THUG for the Xbox remains one of the best games you'll play this year.
  16. 90
    At its core, Tony Hawk's Underground is still the best skateboarding game out there and it's much more than "Tony Hawk 4" ever was. That being said, while some of the new features are great, others just aren't up to the level of quality that we've come to expect from Neversoft.
  17. The new story-driven model is amusing, but there's far too much chaff amongst the wheat, in the form of gimmicky, pointless missions; dreadful driving; and repetitive "fetch me five of these" goals. [Dec 2003, p.164]
  18. The score is brought down a bit because of the timed nature of many missions. The car-based missions are especially tough because of the loose controls and the small amount of time you have to complete your mission.
  19. While the classic Tony Hawk gameplay is present, and still fantastic after all this time, the new story mode doesn't make as dramatic of a change as it probably could have.
  20. Tony Hawk novices will be happily overwhelmed, while Tony Hawk masters will enjoy taking the game even further.
  21. 85
    If Neversoft is doing what I hope they're doing, and that is using THUG as a bridge towards a lot of fully realized ideas then Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 6 is going to be damn awesome.
  22. It’s a massive, exceptional product that expands every aspect of its predecessors without sacrificing much, though it’s a better game on the PS2 than the Xbox or Gamecube thanks to its great online functionality.
  23. An addictive sequel which adds so much to the mix that you can't help but spend hours exploring it all.
  24. Play Magazine
    The game is so fun and addicting, and the environments so brimming with goodness, you'll care not. Too bad the art is lacking. [Jan 2004, p.64]
  25. The ability to roam the level on foot or in a vehicle were great ideas for moving the series forward, but shoddy animations and lousy collision detection make it not worth the effort and wind up dragging down the otherwise stellar gameplay and controls.
  26. games(TM)
    Year on year, the main modes in the THPS games have moved further away from traditional over-the-top skating to encompass more and more 'crazy' goals, something we're not entirely sure we approve of. One thing we are sure of, though, is that the core skating engine makes for by far the best extreme sports game of this generation. [Christmas 2003, p.98]
  27. On one hand it feels as though the game doesn’t push the franchise far enough, mainly because the story isn’t tied into the gameplay strongly enough, but on the other hand THUG offers far more then previous Tony Hawks titles and is still as enjoyable as it was in 1999.
  28. The thing I’d really like to express is the need for online play. It’s not an option in this generation of games; it’s almost a requirement, especially for a game of this kind. A significantly longer career mode would be nice.
  29. Xbox Nation Magazine
    The on-foot play mechanic and the expanded story mode stand as the game's weakest elements. [Mar 2004, p.85]
  30. Weekly Famitsu
    6 / 7 / 7 / 6 - 26 [Vol 805; 28 May 2004]
  31. 64
    The plot itself makes THUG both the best and worst game with a Tony Hawk label. While having a central story is a refreshing change of pace to the series, but to say that the plot is weak is a huge understatement.
  32. Edge Magazine
    The fifth Tony Hawk's title doesn't just suffer because of its embarrassing attempts to be edgy and urban, it's poorer because it lacks the verve and imagination so prevalent in previous iterations. [Christmas 2003, p.122]
  33. They've managed to dilute the entire essence of the extreme sports genre into a cheap, unsubtle and far too easy story-based adventure.

Awards & Rankings

#39 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 28
  3. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. JacobB.
    Aug 16, 2004
    This game is sick.
  2. AaronW.
    Jul 7, 2004
    It is the best Tony Hawk's game yet!
  3. ArttuJ.
    Dec 13, 2003
    The best Tony Hawk game. Beautiful graphics, smooth tricks, good story... Don't miss this.