When I heard that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was being remade with Unreal Engine and would include the first two games in the series, I was cautiously excited. After all, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 was not exactly a great game. However, I still ended up pre-ordering Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 and all the nostalgia has hit me. When I fired up the game on my PlayStation 4, I was immediately taken back to the early 2000s when I saw the introductory graffiti art and video compilation of pro skaters both legends and current skating around.
One of the best things about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is that the game felt almost exactly as it did from back then but is now a little smoother. In fact, they even included some controls that were added in from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. While players can use the analog stick if they so chose to play the game, the D-pad is the primary way that I play the game. In fact, because the original Tony Hawk’s game did not have an analog stick, the game is better able to read the D-pad than the analog stick, at least, that is my impression.
One of the biggest changes is the introduction of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2’s manual tricks and the revert flatland tricks from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3’s (which was requested by Tony Hawk himself). The addition of these tricks makes getting combos a lot easier to obtain which can create ridiculously high scores among veteran players to the series. For beginners to the series, there is an optional tutorial at the start of the game. The controls feel very smooth throughout the game and the camera is always centered on the skater. The right analog stick can be used to change the camera’s perspective which can be a bit disorienting. Personally, I left the camera on its own even though sometimes I will find some corners on a random map where the camera struggled to find an angle to keep the skater centered.
The career mode now has a list of goals or challenges for players to try to complete in order to unlock more maps to skate in. These include obtaining high scores, treasure hunting for letters to spell out “SKATE” or doing certain tricks. Veterans to the game will find that the secret tapes on each map are back but sadly, obtaining the secret tape only completes one of the goals and does not unlock anything this time.
There is also a skate park builder mode which includes several levels designed by developer Vicarious Visions. For each map, there is also an online leaderboard in a separate pillar of career mode but as with any online game, there may have already been some hackers so some scores are in the billions which is absolutely outrageous. Some entries may be legit so hopefully Vicarious Visions will be able to remove the ones that are fake. As well as leaderboards, there is also round robin play where players can all skate in the same park without fear of colliding with one another. You can watch some of the better players land trick after trick without breaking their combos.
One of my favourite features of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the split-screen multiplayer. This was definitely one of my fondest memories back in the heyday where my friends and I would take turns, two at a time, playing Tony Hawk’s. Adding the split-screen multiplayer makes this game another couch party game that one can play with friends. There is also a game mode called HORSE where you compete with one another to do the same trick.
Thankfully, Vicarious Visions also stuck true to the original maps of the Tony Hawk’s series. Warehouse looks almost exactly as I remembered it but with obviously highly updated graphics. Some things may have been changed or removed such as in the map for School, the graffiti wall has been replaced by climbing walls. There are some times when items in the game look like they are just a copy of a different item but with a different paint colour. The skaters themselves no longer look like cardboard cutouts but are far more detailed. The custom skater portion also is a massive improvement as more details can be implemented instead of just a few default selections. The graphic t-shirts no longer are blurry and can be clearly seen on the menu. However, when skating, it might be a bit too small to see sometimes or be unclear at certain angles.
The soundtrack in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 also makes a return with a few updated songs. Unfortunately for streamers, most, if not all of the songs are licensed so if one wishes to stream or make a video of their runs, they will have to be sure to turn off the music. Still, the choices are there and there is an easy way to skip songs if you wish.
Overall, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 delivers. For new players, this is an easy game to get into. For veterans to the series, this game holds true to the original with updated changes that are welcomed. Occasionally one might have some graphic issues and multiplayer is bound to be filled with “master class” players but for local games with friends, this will be a great party game to play.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remains true to the original with updated graphics and the original soundtrack. Occasionally cameras will struggle to find the right angle to follow the skater but this is a great game to play alone or with friends.