If you couldn’t tell from our demo impressions, we were absolutely floored at how good the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remaster turned out to be. From the updated visuals to perfectly capturing the accuracy of the controls, Tony Hawk was primed for a glorious comeback, and it would remiss to say that Vicarious Visions really nailed the landing on this one.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (THPS1+2, for short) takes the first 2 games from Neversoft and gives it more than just a facelift, modernizing the game all while keeping the heart and soul of what made it a classic among the 90’s gamers. It has been a long time coming for a decent Skateboarding game and it’s about time the younger audience gets introduced to the man, and the game, responsible for it all.
In with the old
THPS1+2 is not a complicated game to understand. You’re given a wide roster of skaters to choose from, a diverse selection of tracks each with collectibles and challenges to overcome, and 2 minutes to strut your stuff. It sounds simple enough for the uninitiated to jump into, but can also be something you can sink tens and hundreds of hours on, trying to pull off that million dollar string.
The remaster gets so many things right, but also because the original formula was fantastic enough to begin with.
The original cast of oldies like Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Chad Muska are reinforced by the new kings and queens of the sport like Nyjah Huston and Lizzie Armanto, with the veterans looking rather flaky and old, which is a nice touch of detail. Each skater can have their looks customized, all while having their own set of trademark moves. Likewise, you can choose to create your own legend through a fairly decent character creator system, giving you a wide array of clothes, decks, wheels, and much more.
Further reinforcing the nostalgia trip is the soundtrack for the game, which totals to over 50 tracks from artists like Rage Against the Machine, Sublime, Goldfinger, Machine Gun Kelly, and much more. The selection is wide, but is a solid fit for the game that certainly benefits from the riffs and beats.
For lack of a better term, all the levels in this game are exact recreations of the original, just snazzier looking. There’s a certain level of detail to it, and while it doesn’t compare to photorealistic games like Ghost of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part II, THPS1+2 looks really great and a title worthy of being in this current generation.
All those S K A T E letters and secret tapes are exactly where you remember them to be, to the point that even looking at 20 year old guides will help you out in completing all the collectibles per level. There are also stat points to collect per level, which will let you improve certain aspects of your skater – whether you prefer to go faster, master all the rail grinds, or even achieve inhuman hang time. All of these, multiplied by each of the skaters, will certainly lead to replay
Most importantly, the remaster faithfully captures the responsive controls and the tight skating mechanics from 20 years ago. Skating feels good and responds even better, and the intuitive trick system will leave old hands like mine with a pain that not many titles can produce.
How do you do, fellow kids?
All of this talk about a game from the 90’s may be music to the ears of people like me, who are relatively older than a lot of gamers out there, but THPS1+2 is accessible even to the newer, younger audience as well as first-time skaters.
Players can activate certain mods that would allow for skating newbies to enjoy without being penalized too much. They can be switched on and off at any time, so purists and hardcore skaters wouldn’t be worried about the game being easier.
While the game isn’t particularly hard to enjoy, mastering it is a different story. It will definitely take you a bit of time to pull of tricks that consist of 5 or more moves but the tracks and courses are well designed that all levels of “pro-ness” involved can appreciate. New skaters may find the bigger levels overwhelming at first, so the warehouse is actually a perfect level to get acquainted with the ins and outs of the game. The warehouse is so iconic, in fact, that Tony Hawk himself, creaky bones and all, took and owned the course. He probably didn’t get the secret tape at the top, we’re guessing.
Some levels are also updated to represent the current situation, like a school notice about learning from home and the “new normal” to the mall level being an abandoned level that looks like something straight out of The Last of Us expansion. You can even use a mask as a custom facial hair option! These are such nice touches that make this more than just a lazy remaster.
Vicarious Visions did such a great job at merging the old with the new, reaching out to fans of the classic but still opening up the game to new gamers who may not know half of these 40 year old skaters. It was enough to do a 1:1, and a lot of people would have been happy, but going the extra mile is really just the cherry on top.
The same could be said with the soundtrack, with 37 new songs, more than half of which I don’t know even existed but sound equally as rocking as Guerilla Radio or Superman.
Due to the technology at hand today, THPS1+2 also features online multiplayer and even a create-a-park mode where you can share your creation as well as test out other courses created by the community, giving the title insane replayability if you’re looking to burn hours into this game.
All of this packaged in a 4K 60fps game with impressive loading times and you’ve got an extremely enticing title that, while 20 years old, can still find its place in the current generation of games.
What we liked:
- Responsive and intuitive controls
- Fast loading times
- Very clean 4K 60fps performance
- It’s just $39.99
What we didn’t like:
- Menus could be streamlined a bit better
There really isn’t much to be said about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 except that it is worth every penny. One of the easiest verdicts we’ve had to give, the game is a textbook example of how great remasters are done and how, with the proper care and respect to the property, nostalgia can be captured properly.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro via a code provided by the publishers.