REVIEW / Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (XO)
I love the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. I always have, from the moment I first played the demo on my Dreamcast (yes, the first two games did come out on Dreamcast.) And while I stopped playing new installments after American Wasteland, I never stopped going back to the old ones. I’ve been wanting to see some representation of the series on modern consoles for a long time, and now that the completely remastered Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is here, I can’t put it down. I could end the review right there, but I have a feeling some people might need a bit more convincing.
While I see this game being called a “remaster” officially, it feels more like a remake to me. The controls and gameplay still feel familiar, but everything has been modernized. This is a faster, weightier version of the Pro Skater gameplay you know and love. Going back, I think you would be surprised how slow the original titles were. Dropping the floaty physics and increasing the speed makes it feel like that much more of an accomplishment when you nail a sick combo, and helps make different moves feel different. It’s a refresh that the series needed, but it isn’t so big a change that it will confuse long time players. I also appreciate the inclusion of most of the maneuvers that had been added in later games, like reverts and double tap tricks; while they may upset purests, they really do open up a ton of possibilities for new ways to explore the stages and keep your combos going. And if it really bothers you, or if you want the extra challenge, you can toggle the mechanics between this default mode, THPS1 mode (including the lack of manuals), or THPS2 mode. That was a great choice; there are options to make everyone happy.
Speaking of the stages, all of them make a return from Pro Skater 1 and Pro Skater 2, though sadly, the extra levels from Pro Skater 2X aren’t included. Still, everything else is here, which fixes one of the biggest issues with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. Each park has a brand new coat of paint on it, massively updating the relatively generic original environments into places with real personality and charm. The layouts haven’t changed, which I know is important for purests, but some of the stages still feel almost new. The out-of-place wooden quarter pipes in Roswell are now sleek metal, the classic Warehouse actually looks like an abandoned warehouse, and so on. Pro Skater 1+2 is a beautiful game through and through. You’ll want to spend more time in these places, and the remaster has your back there, too: there are tons of new challenges outside of the classic missions for each level.
So, it feels great and looks great; what could be wrong with it? Well, I would have liked to see a bit more content, and the creation options are lackluster. When it comes to creating a skater, you don’t even get to choose a body type or customize the face; you just pick a face from a handful of presets. There aren’t a ton of options for gear either; even the stuff you unlock later in the game by completing challenges comes down to basic everyday clothes. This is in line with most of the series, I realize, but there is so much more they could have done with this mode. Content is limited in other ways as well; the pool of possible Special Tricks is small, and there are sadly no guest skaters (unless you count Jack Black).
That being said, this is ultimately meant to be a remaster of THPS1 and THPS2, and it’s everything I could want from that. For those who do enjoy the Tony Hawk games, this is a no-brainer. It’s a great update to the originals, and it has enough to be worth the $40 price tag. And if you’re somehow new to the series, or haven’t tried it since the days of the PS1, this is as good a place as any to jump in. Despite being a lighter package (matching the price, I suppose), Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a return to form for the series after a number of lackluster games, and I really hope we see another brand new game in the series soon. Or if not that, at least some new stages for this one. For now, I’ll see you in the Warehouse.
Feels like it never left
+ Looks beautiful
+ Plays like before but modernized
+ Multiple play modes
– Lacking options for Create A Skater