A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Though this is a skateboarding game, which seems harmless enough (so long as players don't try some of these over-the-top moves in real life), the game's songs glorify drugs, have sexual references.
Positive Role Models
Based on real-life pro skaters – such as Tony Hawk, Nyjah Huston, Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, Leticia Bufoni -- who are mostly positive role models in real life. Players don’t get to know the characters in this game; it's more of an arcade-like skateboarding sim.
Ease of Play
Controls take some getting used to, but fairly easy to play. Natural learning curve to game, moves.
Violence & Scariness
Some cringeworthy moments when skateboarders wipe out -- they don’t wear protective gear, but hopefully kids wills in real life. There's no blood, unlike in past games.
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Sexually suggestive lyrics in soundtrack.
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Products & Purchases
Tons of product placement, with logos for Mountain Dew, GoPro, Skullcandy, and D&G (Dolce & Gabbana), among others. The game likely will have paid DLC (downloadable content), but Activision claims first DLC update will be free.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some songs make references to illegal narcotics.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is an arcade skateboarding sim that features questionable lyrics in some of its songs, including references to sex and drugs. The characters have major wipeouts, and they don't wear protective gear, so parents will want to ensure kids don't try these crazy moves in real life (and certainly not without protection). Finally, parents should know there are a ton of advertisements, and multiplayer is unmoderated, potentially leaving players open to inappropriate content.
Is It Any Good?
Here's what you need to know about this popular arcade-like skateboarding sim: It's not quite finished yet. There's a decent (and long-overdue) sequel here, without much competition. Both seasoned gamers and newbies to this genre should get a kick out of the many moves and combos you can pull off, the comfortable controls, and the many modes. The problem is that the game is incredibly buggy -- whether it's unpredictable crashes, sluggish online multiplayer and frame rates, or graphical glitches, it all winds up marring the experience. Apparently, Activision is working on a downloadable patch that repairs these assorted and annoying issues.
The game also feels incomplete because of the lack of skate parks and skaters. Paltry compared to previous games and the now-defunct Skate franchise from EA, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 ships with only eight levels and 10 skaters, so Activision is promising two additional stages and five more skaters to be added in a future update (though there are no details on what will be added and when it'll be available). One last problem, which likely can't be fixed with an update: some repetitive or unimaginative challenges. The game isn't a bomb -- it has potential -- but publishers can't get away with shipping incomplete games, especially when fans shell out $60.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.