Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a remaster that brings together two of the most iconic skate games launched in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series helped define what skate games would become in following decades, such as the various Tony Hawk sequences and even his rival the series “Skateboard”. Messing with these games was a risky bet by Activision, we will see in this review the high and low points of this new game.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 review
The idea of taking everything that was done by Neversoft in classic games, maintaining the essence and, at the same time, updating a product after 20 years, was not a simple thing to do.
The studio responsible for this remaster was Vicarious Visions, who had previously worked on the collection / remake Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was released digitally on September 4, 2020 for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC (Via Epic Games Store). The game costs R $ 199.00 in its standard version, while the Deluxe version costs R $ 229.00. Prices are the same on all platforms until the time this review was written.
Activision and the remakes / remasters of classics
Tony Hawk’s new game is part of Activision’s initiative to bring back some of its old series to please the most nostalgic fans, introduce them to new audiences and, in the process of measuring, public interest in these franchises. We saw this in remakes as already mentioned Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Besides Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled.
Back to 1999, but in a different way
In the first image of the game, we see the mix between the new and the classic. Right away we have, Tony Hawk with his current look in a half pipe taking his signature maneuver: The “900”. Then, the video cuts to an edition with several images of the other skaters in the game in older videos with Guerrilla Radio, of Rage Against The Machine, playing in the background.
As soon as we start, we see a very beautiful menu with several stylized graphic elements, something different from the simple menus of yesteryear.
Current elements include subtitles and dubbing in Portuguese. After all, today, Brazil is seen as an important market. Although there are not many dialogues in the game, these features make a difference in the tutorial.
Since we talk about tutorials, here is a complete one that explains everything from the most basic mechanics like: “taking out an Ollie”, to mechanics that were not part of the original games like the ones Reverts, Trick Transitions and Spine Transfers that were added in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and 4.
The inclusion of these elements made the game much more dynamic in the creation of maneuver combos, because when combining Reverts, with Manuals and maneuver transitions it is possible to achieve very high scores.
As Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was launched at a time when games still didn’t help players, the production company introduced some accessibility options like, facilitating balance in grinds and Manuals to help those who don’t adapt well right away. Perhaps this displeases some more purists, but this is a trend in today’s games.
The game has all the skaters from the first games and some new faces that are successful in the sport today, so we have Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and a strong team among the veterans. Among the newcomers we have very popular figures like the Brazilian Leticia Bufoni, Riley Hawk, the son of Tony Hawk and Nyjah Huston, the most awarded athlete in the sport today.
Graphically the game is very beautiful, the characters have a good modeling. Old skaters have their older look, so legends like Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, look like “big guys”. After all, time has passed for everyone, hasn’t it?
The graphic work done in the scenarios is very detailed, with the inclusion of several elements such as mailboxes, cones, flying papers and even animals. These elements combined with different lighting, reflections on objects, the inclusion of water in some places, made the scenarios much more alive.
Some maps like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1’s Minneapolis had a visual treatment so careful it looks like another game, while THPS2’s Venice Beach has great color and shadow contrasts. Therefore, it is perhaps the most beautiful scenario of this collection.
The phases focused on Downhill such as Shopping or the THPS1 Dam have a better fluidity than the originals and are much more pleasant to play.
Campaign and Progression
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s main game mode is “Skate Tours”. In this mode, you choose which campaign to play, whether THPS1 or THPS2. Games work as two separate campaigns.
The structure of the matches follows the same pattern as in the past. Enter a scenario and try to accomplish the greatest number of objectives in 2 minutes.
Among the objectives, we have those already known: Collect the letters of the word “SKATE”, hit high scores, send a maneuver in a certain location, and the classic “Find the secret tape”. Which is funny, since many gamers today don’t even know what a VHS tape is.
These objectives, although simple, make the player explore the game a lot, since some require precision and memorization of the scenarios, to facilitate the execution of larger combos, which guarantee high scores.
There are other objectives that make the player explore the scene well, behind the requested elements, which often results in the activation of secret passages that further expand the maps.
Each skateboarder starts with a certain number of attributes, but during the stages it is possible to collect items with the game logo that serve to increase those attributes. So, if your character is very slow at the beginning of the game, rest assured that it will be possible to improve him during the campaign.
While writing this review, I saw a lot of people complaining that I liked the game, but I couldn’t progress in the campaign. The point is that you don’t have to complete all the objectives at all stages to advance. I would recommend, going through levels, improving the status of the characters and then going back to the levels that had pending challenges.
New stages are released as the player completes the objectives and, every three stages, a competition track appears, which the player must make the highest score possible. To clear the next stage, it is necessary to be in the top 3, but rest assured that third place is very easy to reach.
Updated controls (or nearly so)
The controls work well, the whole system of execution of maneuvers is similar to what was shown in the originals, so if you still remember the basic commands, it will be as if you had stopped for six months, instead of 20 years.
The camera system has a certain difficulty to accompany players when it is necessary to change direction in small spaces. In this case, the camera ends up closing on the player’s character and makes it difficult to see the rest of the scene.
This factor is nothing that gets in the way, but it could have been seen better. There is even the possibility to move the camera with the right analog, but with the character in motion it was not very efficient there.
Another point to note is the use of the left analog stick to control the character and execute the maneuver commands. I found the analog too sensitive and when executing many different commands in a row it can disturb the player, especially in commands that use diagonals.
It is possible to use the digital directional pad of the controller and I believe it is the best choice, because you can have a better control of the commands you execute. At the beginning of the game, it doesn’t make much difference. However, towards the middle of the first campaign, when you need to make bigger combos, this can be decisive.
However, this is my experience, it may be that someone starting out in the franchise now sees no difference or prefers to play on the analog. I suggest you test both options and see what works best for you.
Character Creation, clues and lots of content
The game also has a character editor where you can create your skater. There is a good variety of models, as well as a wide range of personalization props such as: clothes, tattoos, different shapes for skateboards and so on.
These items can be unlocked through completed challenges or purchased with in-game money as you level up.
The game also features a track editor where you can set up your skate park and upload it for other gamers to play.
The Tony Hawk’s series has always had the presence of Brazil, whether in games where Bob Burnquist was present, or even with a somewhat “weird” version of Rio de Janeiro presented in THPS3, which resembled that version of the city in the controversial Simpsons episode in Brazil.
In this game, besides having the presence of Bob Burnquist and Leticia Bufoni, even the band Charlie Brown Jr, was present with the track “Confisco”, after a great campaign made by Brazilian internet users on the web. There was only one scenario missing here. Who knows via DLC?
A lot of Rock, Hip-Hop and its variations
The soundtrack has several famous names that made the original games something memorable, so we have names like: Papa Roach, Bad Religion among others. In addition to these names, the game included a very large number of new bands and the game was well divided between various styles within Rock and Hip-Hop.
Offline and online multiplayer: There’s something for everyone
The game features local multiplayer for that sofa fun with friends on the same console, as it did in 1999. In this mode, the screen is divided and allows two people to compete on the same track in different game modes such as:
- Free style: Just to go through the stages;
- Proof of Maneuvers: The player with the highest score wins at the end;
- Scoring challenge: Whoever reaches the defined score first wins;
- Combo battle: Wins whoever performs the biggest combo until the end of the session;
- Combo challenge: Wins whoever hits the defined score through combos;
- Graphite: The one who graffiti the most objects wins. Think of a territory control, you must perform maneuvers in most places to paint them with the color referring to your character;
- HORSE: A player is placed in a random part of the scene and has 8 seconds to perform a maneuver or combo. The score obtained must be beaten by Player 2.
Online multiplayer is divided into rooms with up to 8 players and focused on modes related to maneuver and graffiti challenges. The pace is very fluid and there is not a long wait between matches.
In general, there is a gap of about 20 seconds between one game and another, but you can play on the stage during this period, so it ends up not being boring or tiring.
There is also an online mode in which players can use their created character to dispute online score rankings, fulfilling objectives similar to those of the main campaign.
THE Vicarious Visions did well in this remaster of the old Tony Hawk games. The games received a treatment that matches the main releases of 2020. In addition, the insertion of the new elements of gameplay made everything more beautiful, dynamic and fun.
Two points bothered me a little, but not to the point of abandoning the game. The first was the camera system which, as said, was a problem in the original and could have been improved. The second was the question of when you finish the campaign with the character, it counts as complete and you cannot redo all the goals with another character in the game.
I hope to launch some kind of “New Game +” to give you the option to remake the team with another skater. After all, the game is fun and as each skateboarder has different attributes, completing the campaign with each one would involve different strategies.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a great remaster who brings everything positive that the original games had, satisfying the nostalgia of the fans, but also made a necessary visual redesign and included new elements to win over a new audience after 20 years. The game is recommended both for veterans in the series and for new virtual skaters.
- Visually very beautiful
- Soundtrack with good old and new bands
- Lots of content
- Fast online mode
- Camera system a bit inaccurate
- Controlling the character with the analog stick can be tricky
- Not being able to complete the campaign with more than one character