There Was A Moment When I Was Skating Around In The Remaster Of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 When My 13-Year-Old Daughter Came Into The Room And Said
“So you just get to skate around at a skate park and do tricks?”
“Pretty much,” I said.
“That’s amazing,” she said, looking genuinely in awe of this simple yet brilliant concept. She’s been learning how to skateboard and she’s gotten pretty good at it, but she’s not doing tricks yet. Well, here’s one way to do that without worrying about bailing. Or without me worrying about her breaking an ankle, at least.
I have missed the old Tony Hawk games. Back in the day, these were some of my favorites. I was pretty good back then, too. Not great, but I could string a few tricks together and complete enough challenges to unlock the next map. My friends and I would trade off controllers and play for hours (if we weren’t playing Halo). Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
There’s been a void in the skating genre since the first few Tony Hawk games. Nothing has really lived up to my expectations in the intervening years. And now, 20 years later, thanks to the talent and hard work over at Vicarious Visions, we have both the first two games completely remade from the ground up and they’re glorious.
What’s not to love?
You have a bunch of skaters to choose from or you can custom design your own. Completing challenges earns you in-game cash you can spend on apparel, board designs and so forth. The tutorial (courtesy of Tony Hawk) teaches you everything you need to know (or gives you a solid refresher, if you’re super rusty like me). Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
The graphics are completely modernized and the game looks great, tapping into that nostalgia vein hard with a largely intact soundtrack filled with glorious 90s jams from bands like Goldfinger, Rage Against The Machine and Primus (plus 37 new additions).
The game bundles both Tony Hawk 1 and 2 and you can tackle either/or to complete challenges in timed sessions, unlocking maps as you go, or just hop into free skate to practice tricks. Whether you’re into skateboarding or not, it’s a blast. You don’t need to have any interest in skating culture or any experience actually on a board to enjoy racking up points, pulling off wicked combos or unleashing sweet special moves, all while listening to fun music in gorgeously remade tracks from Phoenix, AZ to Marseilles, France. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
There are some old games out there that I’ve always hoped would make a comeback. Some have already, like Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. Others remain on the shelf, like the old NES game Ice Hockey. For a long time I hoped that we’d get a remake of Tony Hawk 1 and 2 (and 3 and 4), rather than the super disappointing newer releases like Tony Hawk 5, and now we have it and it’s basically all that I hoped for.
The levels themselves are essentially 1:1 remakes of the original tracks, but the level of detail and graphical fidelity is just insane. (Frankly, I felt like the original games looked amazing back in the day, but that’s how brains work I guess. Watch some side-by-side comparisons to see just how far we’ve come). Nostalgia is key in Vicarious Vision’s design. You feel like you’re right back on the old tracks you loved back in the day. They just look way, way better now. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
In terms of mechanics, having not played the originals in so many years, I can’t say with certainty how loyal the game is to the controls. We’re using newer gamepads now, but other than that it feels exactly as good as it did back in the day and probably better (I had to change the default inverted controls, however).
The skating is as tight as ever. Pulling off tricks takes practice and skill, but you’re not hampered by clunky controls. It’s a smooth ride from start to finish. You will bail plenty, but you’ll be grinding out five-trick combos in no time if you stick with it. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Which you should, whether or not you skate or played these back in the day. The nostalgia is strong with this one, but not a necessary component. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is just plain, good old-fashioned arcade fun. I think we could all use a healthy dose of that right now.
Other cool stuff:
- You can create your own tracks with create-a-park and unlock new bits and pieces for these tracks the same way you unlock new boards.
- Split-screen! (Though frame-rate takes a hit, unfortunately). Also online multiplayer!
- Lots of modes to keep you occupied, like Graffiti and H-O-R-S-E.
- Good clean fun for the whole family.
Activision ATVI -2.9% should be a case study in how to do quality remakes/remasters. This, along with the Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2 remasters, proves that. Say what you will about the publisher—and there’s plenty to critique—but the quality on display here is beyond reproach.
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remake
- Platform: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC (Epic Game Store)
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Vicarious Visions
- Cost: $39.99 (standard), $49.99 (deluxe)
- Score: 9.5/10
This news was originally published at forbes.com