“Game of the year contender!!”
The year was 1999. We were on the verge of the new millennium, and I was 7 years old. My PlayStation had been a portal into the worlds of Spyro the dragon, Rayman and Gex the Gecko. It had even put me in the driver seat in Gran Turismo and Colin McRae Rally. However, a sporting game had never touched the tray of my PlayStation before. Not until the original Tony Hawk’s pro skater.
Now at the time, I didn’t appreciate the entirety of what the game had to offer (that came later), all I cared about was pulling off the perfect kickflip or landing the perfect ollie. When I think back now to the original pro skater, I remember the hours and hours of fun I enjoyed playing that game.
Fast-forward 21 years and my love of gaming has grown even stronger. When I first heard that there would be a remake of such a beloved classic, a mixture of emotions started to circle around my head. Firstly the excitement of being able to play a game that I had loved so much as a child, now with updated graphics and modern controls. The second emotion, however, was that of apprehension. There have been many remakes and remasters of games in recent years which haven’t entirely lived up to the originals. Star Wars Battlefront (2015) for example. These remakes attempt to make what made the original game great for nostalgia’s sake but strip it back of what made it actually fun and enjoyable, to begin with.
That being said, there have also been some good remasters in recent years as well as the bad. Most recently (for example) the ‘Destroy all humans’ remaster took what made the original game great and improved upon it to make it even more fun and enjoyable.
Now to say the Tony Hawks franchise hasn’t suffered in recent years is an understatement. Ride and Pro skater 5 were considered a massive step back for the franchise. The games became riddled with technical issues and the enjoyment of the originals was lost.
So the big question is; how does Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 & 2 (2020) hold up as a remake?
I’m going to go ahead and say this right off the bat. This game is hands down the best remake I have ever played. It has been a very long time since I’ve had this much fun playing a video game. It took me having to paint my bathroom in order to put my controller down as I was that engrossed in playing it.
What makes this game so great then?
Well, I shall tell you why.
Fundamentally the game is a faithful representation of the original Tony Hawk. It takes what made the first two pro skater games great and combines them into 1 awesome package.
Nostalgia flows throughout this game. Hearing that soundtrack brought back a flood of memories, mostly of me as a young boy sat down in front of a small screen enjoying the original. The new soundtrack incorporates songs from the original while also adding new editions, adapting it for returning hardcore fans and new gamers.
The first noticeable difference and major improvement were the character models. Tony Hawk actually looks like Tony Hawk (and not a blocky version of him). Each character is highly detailed and is a true representation of their real-life counterparts.
Which brings me onto the graphics, and they are phenomenal. The lighting in the Warehouse skate park is so well done that it gave me goosebumps when I first loaded it up. It just looks gorgeous. It’s a world that looks and feels lived in. Which it should be, as half of your life now will be spent within this game, learning all the combos and mastering all your tricks.
The gameplay is highly addictive. As I said, I could barely put my controller down. I must have played the Warehouse skate park about 20 times (yes for nostalgia’s sake but also) to complete all the challenges.
There are 9 parks on pro skater 1 and 8 parks in pro skater 2, giving you a total of 17 parks to play around in. Each park comes with its own set of challenges. These range from collecting each letter of the word ‘skate’, smashing boxes, collecting the hidden mixtape and of course obtaining high scores. Completing these challenges allows you to unlock more parks. It also allows you to complete your own personal challenges.
The game literally tracks everything you do. From how many tricks and combos you perform, to even the amount of poles you grind. Each challenge that you complete becomes redeemable, giving you XP towards levelling up and money to unlock cosmetics.
The level of customisation is amazing. You can select whichever pro skater you want (male or female). All skaters boards and attire are fully customisable from purchasing cosmetic upgrades from the skater shop. Each pro skaters stats can also be improved and upgraded the more you play at them and is transferable between pro skater 1 and 2. The digital deluxe edition of the game grants you access to new costumes for your pro skaters and ‘The Ripper’ (skeleton) pro skater.
The game also gives you the option to play as your own custom pro skater. From here you can personalise how you look too however you want. The only issue is there are very limited facial models to choose from. There are no sliders for advanced customisation meaning you are limited to one body type and the facial models available. This is a bit of a let-down as I would have loved to have spent time creating a skater that looks like me to then thrash around a skate park.
There are also characters available to unlock from completing challenges. My favourite being Officer Dick, portrayed by non-other than comedy legend and Tenacious D front man Jack Black. I had a feeling he was in this game as I could hear his voice coming from a golf cart that zooms around the School 2 skate park in pro skater 2. Even in the extras section of the menu are movies for each pro skater which are unlockable by collecting stat points in game.
You can even create your own skate park or choose to skate around other parks that the community has created and shared online.
Honestly, the amount of content this game has to offer is insane and will keep you playing for hours on end.
One thing that really took me by surprise was the games multiplayer and how much I enjoyed it. There are two game modes to choose from. Jam mode (my favourite) which is a social fun mode where players compete for the highest score. It’s a more relaxed mode for more social enjoyment. Competitive mode on the other hand is for more advanced players wanting the thrill of head-to-head competition. The game also has the one thing most games lack these days. I’m talking about good old-fashioned split-screen multiplayer. You and a friend can enjoy the game together with the way it used to be.
In the end, I love this game. I can’t say it enough. It has resurrected the franchise with a breath of fresh air, and think it could be a definite contender for game of the year. It’s fun and beautiful to look at. The controls are easy to use and the combos become ingrained in your muscle memory the more you use them. The soundtrack is superb and the gameplay is so addictive. It’s nostalgic, creative and a top-class remake.
Everything about this game is perfect. Vicarious Visions have poured so much love into this game (like with their Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remake) and it really shows. Neversoft would be proud.
I’m very happy to give this game a solid and well deserved 10/10
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 & 2 Remaster is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X, and on PC through the Epic platform.
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Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 & 2 Remaster
DROP BACK IN WITH THE MOST ICONIC SKATEBOARDING GAMES EVER MADE. PLAY TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER; TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER 2 IN ONE EPIC COLLECTION, REBUILT FROM THE GROUND UP IN INCREDIBLE HD. ALL THE PRO SKATERS, LEVELS AND TRICKS ARE BACK AND FULLY-REMASTERED, PLUS MORE.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 39.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut