Reviewed by Callan Davison
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Reviewed on: PC
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One,
Release: September 4th 2020
So, here I am, feeling older all the time, feeling younger in my mind. Never has a song lyric from a video game rung more true to me, than sitting down and playing the remaster of a classic, 20 years on.
I first played the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back in 1999 and immediately fell in love with the simple but fun arcade skating gameplay that earned the franchise dedicated fans everywhere.
But I’ve been burned before. After the failure of Tony Hawks HD remaster and Tony Hawk 5 these last few years, I was apprehensive at what the makers would do one of my favourite games. Fortunately, it took only two minutes to realise that THIS TIME THPS 1+2 has been remade with every intention to make it feel just like those classic games we remember.
The gameplay sticks true to its roots, you have two minutes to skate around a level, doing tricks, racking up high scores and collecting letters and items scattered throughout the stage. Every single level from Tony Hawk 1 and 2 make an appearance here, from the classic warehouse through to the wacky skate heaven.
The remaster retains the old control system we know and love from the original games. Flips, grinds and grabs having their own buttons and the faithful manuel is back in all of its glory to link your crazy combos together. Something Vicarious Visions has added this time around, though, is the revert, which wasn’t part of the franchise until THPS3. It’s a welcome addition, allowing you to also link in your vert tricks with manuels to keep that all-important combo ticking over.
A new feature in the remake is the ability to take on challenges. These act as mini achievements throughout the game with difficulty ranging from performing a certain trick over a gap, to connecting multiple gaps throughout the level in one big combo. In all, there are over 700 of these challenges in the game which will keep skaters busy in the months and years to come.
Another fantastic feature that has been added is that of speed runs. The objective is simple; complete every task a level has to offer, in a single run, in the quickest time possible. These are super fun and will have you constantly working out the best path through a level to improve your best time.
Obviously, a remake of the two games that released twenty years ago was going to look a lot better than the originals but here Vicarious Visions have taken it to the next level. Every single stage in the game looks fantastic, with beautiful lighting effects, crisp player models and solid scenery.
The game runs at a smooth 60fps, with some texture popping on the PS4 and xbox versions but this is hardly noticeable. The PC version had the best performance with near instant load times.
Ask any fan of the originals and they’ll tell you the soundtracks are unforgettable. Thankfully, almost all of the songs are back, with only three missing, due to licensing restrictions. Over thirty new songs have been added to the soundtrack as well but they mesh so seamlessly, it almost feels like they were always there.
Create-a-skater and Create-a-park are both back, giving the more creative user plenty of options to customise your skater and build out your own dream skate park which can be shared online for others to marvel at.
A lot has changed in gaming in the past 20 years, including the fact online multiplayer has taken over in a big way. With the new remake it’s super easy to jump into an online match and get skating straight away. The level selection is randomised and on each level you compete against other players in five different events;
Combo Mambo - The goal to get the highest combo at the end of a two minute run;
Trick attack - Get the highest total score at the end of a two minute run;
Score and Combo Challenge - Whoever gets to the target score and combo first is the winner;
Graffiti Mode – The classic, which has players pulling tricks on as many objects in the park as possible changing the colour of objects as they go.
The multiplayer online has been mostly a lag free experience with just the occasional spike from time to time. Split Screen/Couch co op is also available for those purists out there and this mode also has the addition of the classic “Horse” game.
Sadly, at the time of writing this review you cannot make private lobbies with friends only. Vicarious Visions have said though that this feature is coming down the track sometime.
In all, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 does an amazing job at bringing a classic franchise into the modern age. For those new to the series or diehard fans who just couldn’t get enough skating in their lives, back in the day, THPS 1+2 is a fantastic package full of content and challenges that keeps the look and feel of the originals.