It’s like it is 1999 all over again! Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is back with remastered versions of 1 & 2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater did get a HD remake way back in 2012…but we don’t talk about that one around here. Instead, it has been remastered by Vicarious Visions, the team behind the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Definitely a great move by Activision.
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series shaped me as a person in so many ways. I absolutely adored the series in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and didn’t realise until later years that my music taste is basically just one big Tony Hawk’s soundtrack. I have 3 different versions of Superman on my On Repeat playlist on Spotify. I also used to play in a skate punk cover band called Kickflip. These games had a huge impact on me, but will the game live up to the hype? Let’s drop into this review of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered
Pretending I’m A Superman
With the original game now being 21 years old (that makes me feel old), the graphics needed an overhaul for a release in 2020, and Vicarious Visions did a great job with it. Every map and skater has been recreated with such high detail. The environments are beautiful and look the way you imagined them back in the day. One huge compliment I have is the lighting in the game; it truly helps make the environments come alive.
Every level has great attention to detail, and they are all included, too. When looking at the originals and new versions side-by-side, it’s clear to see that the original level is completely intact, just modernised to look like a 2020 game rather than recreating what they think the level should be. It is more about putting a fresh coat of paint on an existing design rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
While the graphics aren’t 100% perfect, they don’t need to be, if I’m honest. The skater’s shirt won’t crinkle and move about as they skate, like you might see in a AAA RPG, but their shirts don’t need to crinkle as they bend; the experience wouldn’t be improved at all by it. Instead of focusing on pointless details, they have focused their attention on making the things that matter look great, and they do.
There’s A Place Where Everyone Can Be Happy
Tony Hawk’s has always been a more arcade-style skating game as opposed to the more realistic games like Skate later on, and it continues to do it very well. It is hard to really say much about the gameplay, because if you’ve played the originals, then this is the same as those. Vicarious Visions have done a great job at keeping the game as close to the original as possible.
Players are able to perform a wide range of tricks from flips, grabs, grinds and more by using the directional buttons and the 4 four action buttons. Each level features a variety of flat surfaces, ramps, and grindable objects to string together huge combos. Due to the game having a more arcade feel, players can fling themselves around the level pulling off 20,30,40,50+ trick combos, and it is so much fun. The game also tracks your high scores and places them on a global leaderboard. One thing I do worry about is cheaters ruining the leaderboards, giving us no real way of knowing where we rank, but hopefully they keep an eye on leaderboards and regularly remove cheaters.
One great change is the updated mechanics. In the original THPS game, the manual feature didn’t exist; it was introduced in THPS 2. Later on, other mechanics such as the revert were added to the game. Rather than going back in time and taking these away, they have been left in, as they have become standard for the series, meaning players can perform manuals on THPS 1 levels. There is also an option for either THPS 1 or 2 mechanics if players want a more nostalgic experience.
Bring Tha Noise
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is remembered fondly for its soundtracks. A perfect blend of skate punk, hip hop, and plenty of other genres all fused together to create an awesome audio backdrop to skate along to. These games also played a part in making some acts legendary. Superman by Goldfinger has become such an iconic song and one closely tied to the series. When the soundtrack was revealed, I was ecstatic. All of the songs you know and love from the first 2 games are included, including Superman by Goldfinger, You by Bad Religion, and Blood Brothers by Papa Roach. There are a handful of tracks missing from the original soundtracks, but to be honest, nothing really stands out and is missed. In addition to majority of the original soundtrack being included, plenty of new tracks have been added from acts such as MxPx, The Ataris, Zebrahead, and Billy Talent. These are all nice additions and add a little more sizzle to an already amazing soundtrack.
In addition to the music, the rest of the audio in the game is all perfectly recreated. The sounds of the skateboard, the skaters and the environment all sound fantastic. I don’t think I could pick a fault with the audio aspect of the game; they absolutely nailed this.
Close But No Cigar
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered is packed full of content and customisation. It features a roster of 21 different skaters: all of the original skaters such as Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, Eric Koston, Geoff Rowley, and, of the course man the himself, Tony Hawk. In addition to the original roster, there are also a selection of new skaters such as Leticia Bufoni, Nyjlah Huston, and even Tony’s son Riley Hawk. They have also been created to match their current appearance rather than what they looked like in the original games, so you are generally playing as a middle-aged skater, but I like this touch. There is also room to create 4 custom skaters, and there are some unlockables, too.
Each skater has a selection of 10 skateboards to use, 9 of which need to be unlocked, and a selection of different outfits they can wear. For the custom skaters, there is a huge range of customisation. Players can customise the skater’s appearance and clothing, from hats to socks and everything in between, as well as choosing all aspects of the skateboard, from the deck, grip tape, trucks, wheels, and even how much wear is on the deck., this truly gives you ability to make a skater look how you want them to look.
There is also a Create A Park feature which allows players to create their own levels, with a huge level of depth too. These can then be uploaded to the cloud and shared with other players, and you can also jump into other people’s parks too.
To keep players grinding (no pun intended), there are over 700 challenges to complete too, as well as a level up system. Completing challenges earns the player cash to spend in the Skate Shop to purchase new cosmetics for their skaters.
When not in the career mode or multiplayer, players can also jump into any levels they want to practice with the Free Skate and Single Session modes. Free Skate lets players play for as long as they want, as a practice mode, and Single Session allows players to play a single 2-minute run to try and complete challenges or rack up a high score. There are also some cheats available by default, such as perfect balance, always special and never bail. Challenges also work with these turned on, so if you’re having trouble getting a certain score then these will definitely help.
One feature that is noticeably missing is a replay/theatre mode. These were present in previous games and would be a great feature to include, especially in the age of content creators. A theatre mode would allow players to create cinematic photos and videos to create content. I truly believe this game has potential to build a large community of content creators creating montages and cinematic content. It is a shame that no such feature is included, which will likely make creating content of high quality extremely difficult. On PC, it is possible to use Unreal Unlocker to access the camera to help create shots, but an official method would’ve been nice.
When World Collide
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered features all 17 of the levels found in the 2 games as well as all of the challenges to complete in each level. The campaigns, or Skate Tours as they’re called in this game, are split from each other, meaning you have to progress through each separately. There is also a ranked and free skate mode, allowing players to practice or fight to be top of the global leaderboard. It is great to see there is no cut content from the game; everything is as it should be.
Each level in the Skate Tour is unlocked by completing a number of challenges in other levels, such as high scores, collecting SKATE, finding the secret tape etc. However, all of the levels are unlocked by default in ranked and free skate, but no challenges are present in those. There is also a speedrun mode which is unlocked where players have to try complete all of the levels challenges in the fastest time possible, something that should definitely keep speedrunners playing for many months and years.
There is a lot of multiplayer content in the game, much more than I expected. Since we’re in the age of online play and no-one goes to people’s houses anymore to play games, there is a huge emphasis on online play. There is Jams mode, which is basically unranked, and a competitive ranked mode to prove you’re the best skater around. There is also local multiplayer, which is awesome to see.
There are a huge variety of modes from previous titles such as Free Skate, Trick Attack, Score Challenge, Combo Mambo, Combo Challenge, Graffiti, Horse, and Tag. Whether you want to prove yourself against the best or kick back and relive some childhood memories with friends, this has you covered.
I can’t confirm whether there is cross-platform play or not, but I don’t see why not, as no platform has a significant advantage over another.
Playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered gave me the same feelings I got at 9 years old when I first played the series and fell in love with the game, the music, and skateboard culture. The game has been recreated from the ground up, and it is clear Vicarious Visions have made sure to keep the integrity of the original games intact, much like they did with the N. Sane Trilogy.
If you played the original games back in the day, there is no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy these, and if you’ve never played the series before, hopefully you will get to experience why the originals are held in such high regard. And if skateboarding ends up becoming popular again and kick starts a new generation of punk bands, I wouldn’t complain about that either. Now…Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Remastered, anyone?