History repeats itself. Case in point? Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
I remember when I first played the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the original Playstation. I was in Secondary 3 then and was introduced to the game by a friend of mine.
Newer and young gamers might be unaware, but when the original came out, it basically started a damn revolution in sports games. For the next few years after the first game came out, the gaming industry was besieged by me-too skateboarding games that wanted a piece of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Pie.
Of course, that would come full circle with the series too. It got to be too popular for its own good. With sequel after sequel, people soon just got sick and fed up with the games.
Now, after more than two decades since the original came out in 1999, here we are again.
So…has the game aged gracefully?
Find out in the review.
What is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a remaster of the first two games in the series for current platforms. Developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision, the game is the latest in the series since 2015’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.
It’s available for the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. Our review copy was awesomely provided by the folks over at Activision Singapore.
Wait up you say! The game is a remaster and not a remake?
Yeah, it caught me for a loop too!
Apparently Vicarious Visions went to great lengths to replicate everything from the original games for this version. All the skate lines, level geometry…even the handling. It’s all been redone with crisper visuals, in the Unreal Engine.
However…the game is enhanced over the originals.
It features moves (reverts, spine transfers and wall plants) that weren’t added into the series until later games. Unfortunately, the ability to get off the board (yet another feature from new games in the series) isn’t in.
The enhancements don’t stop there either.
A new XP system has been implemented, which unlocks new gear for your custom skater the more you play. Nearly everything you do in-game gets you XP, from doing the mission objectives, to just scoring points. Even a run with nothing accomplished (but with some points banked) will get you some XP for your trouble.
All content, all the time.
There’s still no story or anything of the like, which is a shame since Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland proved that even a simple plot can make a Tony Hawk game much, much better.
Instead, there be a ton of cosmetics to unlock and buy with in-game cash! It’s a damn shame that the custom skater creation tool is so limited though. You don’t even get to customize your skater’s face, just select from presets. Those presets aren’t even good looking! Every single face is horrendous.
The gameplay’s untouched though.
It’s still tough as nails, and very punishing to the uninitiated. The controls are still as intuitive as ever; I’ve not played a Tony Hawk game in years but I didn’t even need the tutorial to remember how to do everything. It all flows back naturally.
For the uninitiated, don’t worry.
The game holds your hand with its great tutorial.
It teaches you all the mechanics. It’s something I really wish the original games had. I remember spending months wondering how to do a manual in Pro Skater 2.
Once you get to the main game, you’ll find that nothing’s changed. All the stage objectives remain the same and the time limit’s still ever present. The bails have been tweaked a bit though, with a rewind effect to put your skater back on the board when you fall.
You’ll find that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is the more refined of the bunch. Its stages are bigger, more complex and some even feature secret areas you can unlock. To this day, that game’s Hangar stage still brings back awesome memories of grinding the chopper and watching it take off. Back in the day, that was so damn cool!
Once you’ve aced both games, yet even more content awaits with the awesome Create-a-Park mode. With it, not only can you create your own skate parks (and share it with the world), you’ll also be able to download parks other people make! It’s a near infinite amount of stages!
Music to Rock Out to!
Audio is perhaps where the game falters a bit. Most of the tunes from the games are back, joined by a boatload of new ones. I don’t have a problem with the older songs, they’re legacy.
It’s the new tunes I don’t like. I don’t find them as catchy or memorable as any song from the old soundtracks. Perhaps that’s just me being a fuddy duddy, but I’d have killed to have some recognizable 90s bands included. Perhaps Linkin Park, Offspring or Rob Zombie? I’m actually amazed Rob Zombie’s Dragula didn’t make the cut given its prominence in 90s culture.
The best new addition (at least when it comes to audio) is that the tracks don’t end when your run’s over or the game’s loading a new level. The music keeps on playing, which is a major improvement over the original games, which had the tracks restart!
Restarts and loads are lightning quick too, which is great because you’ll be repeating the stages a ton of times to nail every objective since you only have 2 minutes per run.
The Bottom Line.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is an awesome return for the series. Granted, it’s not a new entry. However, the original two games are still regarded as the best games in the series and that gameplay still holds true today.
The new XP and Challenges system adds longevity to the original games, by giving you incentive to keep playing. There’s a goal now that doesn’t involve completing the stage objectives.
The Create-A-Skater feature on the other hand, could use a rework. The customization options (especially for faces) are laughable. Luckily, the sheer amount of outfits and shoes you can unlock (and then buy) will keep you playing and help you stand out from other players.
It’s not a perfect remaster…but comes damn close.
Classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater gameplay packaged with a nifty new look and awesome additions.
- Classic gameplay.
- New XP and Challenge system adds longevity.
- Tons of content.
- Create-a-Park mode.
- Create-A-Skater feature.
- Unable to get off the skateboard.
- Soundtrack could be better.