Games & Tech

Review: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Allows You to Ollie into a Radical Time Machine

Remasters and remakes are nothing new to video games. Sometimes classics get new life like in Halo: The Master Chief Collection or the recent run of Resident Evil remakes. Sometimes an old game shows its age when brought into the modern era like Shadow of the Colossus (sorry, not sorry).

For Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 it’s more of the former than the latter. This game is a remaster of 1999’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and 2000’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The nostalgia for that era is very real. The remaster feels like you imagine it did in your memory, which is impressive because those games came out for the original PlayStation, the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Dreamcast among others.

All the original levels and characters are back. The same collectibles, tricks and skill moves, plus some new stuff. A good chunk of the soundtrack is back in addition to some new songs.

Screenshot: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

The game really is a time capsule because of how it is styled. From the opening movie (remember when sports games had those?) showcasing all the skateboarding legends to a Rage Against the Machine song my mind went to a specific time and place. That’s impressive because while I remember the phenomenon that was the Tony Hawk games back in the day, I never played them much.

The nostalgia is in the mix of pop-punk and hip-hop music from that era. It’s in the quirky way level secrets give you more stuff to do in the game so you don’t have to ask your parents for a new game. It’s in its not fully grown-up style. Video games have matured a lot since then, but this was decidedly a game for kids. Kids who are now in their late 20s or 30s.

Screenshot: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

As a throwback and a port of an old game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is excellent. The game runs well, the visuals look like a game that came out in 2020 and it’s still fun. You couldn’t ask for much more in terms of revitalizing a series that appeared on its deathbed after 2015’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 released to a Metacritic in the 30s.

As a game in 2020, it’s not perfect, but undeniably fun. Its free-flowing nature allows for it to be enjoyable as you learn the skateboarding basics. However, getting good enough to pull off the high-scoring tricks the game asks of you takes some time to learn and there will be some frustration on the way.

Screenshot: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 has both of the original games separated into different tours, where you can chase high scores, pull off level-specific tricks and grab collectibles in two-minute runs. In addition to the tours, you can create your own levels and play other people’s creations. There’s also a handful of multiplayer modes.

The tours are the main gameplay. Getting collectibles, some simple to grab and others trickier, was fun. Being able to see a thing, but not knowing how to get to it presented a pleasant challenge most of the time. However, hitting score targets was less enjoyable for me.

The game asks a lot of you to hit its high score targets and you need to cross off a bunch of “park goals” to unlock the next level. That became a tough challenge and not one I found fulfilling. When I was scouring for collectibles or trying to pull off a random trick or combo I came up with because of a cool area in the level, I was having a good time. When I was asked to string together a long, tough combo to hit a high score mark to unlock the next level, I had less fun.

Screenshot: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a perfect podcast game –a game you play while listening to podcasts because it’s mindless and stress-free. I wanted to play every level with relatively simple tasks. Grab the collectibles, do a few score runs and move onto the next one. The high-score chasing did nothing for me.

Thankfully, there’s free skate, where you can do whatever you want with no clock or tasks. Maybe this is the participation medal area for people like me, but I’ve never been one to score chase.

The level creator is impressive and can give the game some extra life. You are given access to the various elements of levels and can chuck them anywhere and upload it. Some of the early ones players have uploaded are truly impressive and different. On the downside, they are often vapid when compared to the real levels. They lack visual details, making them look like an early prototype of the game.

Screenshot: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

The multiplayer is mostly more of the same, but with other players competing against you. There are five modes, but four of them are slightly different versions of the same thing. Strangely, you can’t pick a specific game mode. You can only join a “quick playlist” and the game mode is randomly chosen beyond your control.

Overall, if you have any fond memories of the original games, you will love Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. It will go down as one of the true success stories of remasters. If you’re new to the series, it’s also a good game without the nostalgia.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.




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