Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is the definitive skateboarding game. That’s all there is to it and you should go play it; however, I should probably explain a bit to justify this written review.
Let’s start with how faithful this remake is. This game is technically not 100% faithful to the original two Pro Skater games, but in a good way. The levels are basically the same as the originals except with brand spanking new graphics that look absolutely gorgeous. There’s a few aesthetic changes in some levels, like how the Hangar level from Pro Skater 2 is now modern, clean and a shrine to the series’ original creators, Neversoft, whereas in the original it was abandoned and filthy. Most importantly though, both games play the same as the originals, but with a figurative coat of fresh paint.
The mission design in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is faithful to the structure used in the original games, bringing back the classic checklist of seemingly random tasks like jumping over bins, collecting floating letters and earning skill points, all while pulling off massive combos with no story or forced narrative connecting each level together. Fans of the original will love this, as it allows the addictive gameplay of the Tony Hawk games to be the highlight of this game.
Where this game differs from the original Pro Skater games is the control scheme. This game’s controls are a mixture of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 and Underground’s style, adding in tricks like reverts and wall plants which were not originally in the first two games. Personally, I see this as a massive improvement to these incredible games as it gives players even more freedom to pull off hugely complex combos that were simply not possible in the originals, and there’s even an option to change the controls back to the original PlayStation 1 style for the purists.
This game also contains all of the original playable skaters such as Chad Muska, Bob Burnquist and of course Tony Hawk himself, alongside new skaters from the younger generation such as Lizzie Armanto, Leticia Bufoni and even Tony’s own son Riley Hawk. There’s a total of 21 skaters to choose from who all have their own set of challenges to beat, but if none of them interest, ‘Create a Skater’ returns for you to create your dream skater, who comes with their own set of unique challenges to beat as well.
Alongside the main campaign, called ‘Skate Tours’, there’s also a multiplayer mode, which is fun, but could do with a custom games browser as currently you can only matchmake for random game modes instead of being able to search for or host the specific mode and map you want to play. There is also the ‘Create a Park’ mode which, if you couldn’t guess, allows you to create your very own skate park. This mode gives you a surprising amount of freedom with what you build, allowing you to warp half pipes and grind rails into almost any shape you want, and the best part is that you can upload your levels to the cloud, allowing anyone in the world to play your level, giving this game nearly infinite replayability.
Finally, I’d like to mention the game’s soundtrack, which is almost perfect. It features most of the original game’s 90s punk soundtrack including fan favourites such as Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Guerrilla Radio’ and Goldfinger’s ‘Superman’, which perfectly represent the 90’s skater culture. Where the soundtrack falls short for me though is the inclusion of newer songs such as Stormzy’s ‘Shutdown’, which doesn’t suit the game’s vibe, and sticks out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, the game allows you to customise the game’s playlist to remove songs you dislike, and at the end of the day, some players might actually like the 37 new songs added to the game, even if I didn’t.
Overall, I believe Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is the best entry in the series to date. It improves upon the already addictive gameplay of the Tony Hawk games, and perfectly represents skateboarding culture, while maintaining almost infinite replayability. It’s a triumphant return for the series, and I hope developers Vicarious Visions are able to make another Tony Hawk remake of some of the series’ newer games, or perhaps even a completely brand-new Tony Hawk game in the future.