Everything Old Is Rad Again
HIGH The levels look modern without losing the classic vibe.
LOW Timed fetchquests are still annoying.
WTF Some of these guys haven’t aged well.
There have been a lot of skateboarding sims covered here at Gamecritics over the past few months, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a skateboarding game. And it’s a good one, giving longtime fans a true return to thumb-flicking form after a decade’s worth of retreads and misfires.
For those new to the series, Pro Skater 1+2 is a modern remake of the first two entries in this venerable arcade skateboarding series, and it’s a perfect entry point that combines the series’ most beloved entries into one title, while ramping the graphics up to modern expectations and also preserving every last detail of the classic control scheme.
Even better is how Activision and Vicarious Visions preserved the responsive feel of the original Tony Hawk titles. Grinding, pumping for acceleration, connecting moves with manuals and reverts — it all feels natural from the moment users drop into the legendary Warehouse.
Fan-favorite levels like the wide-open Hangar and hilly San Francisco are lovingly recreated in high resolution, with all of their secrets and features exactly where gamers remember. Even a certain belligerent security officer makes a triumphant return in the expansive School levels … though he’s now played by a slightly more — ahem — tenacious actor.
Interestingly, all levels are available from the outset for free skating, but Pro Skater 1+2 is best experienced as a progression, and I recommend gamers work their way through each level’s challenges while aiming for new gaps to traverse and new secrets to find.
There are also a slew of subtle new additions that add some complexity to the gameplay, such as additional ramps and new grinding surfaces that don’t change the way classic combos are performed, but do add new opportunities to extend and enhance them.
As enjoyable as it is to revisit new versions of these classic skating environments, Pro Skater 1+2’s finest modern upgrade is the level creator, which lets users build their own over-the-top maps and share them with others. In this sense, Pro Skater 1+2 is more of an ever-growing platform than a game. In the month since release, thousands of new levels have been uploaded, giving users a tremendous amount of value for one title.
Visually, the developers did a solid job bringing Pro Skater to modern consoles, with suitably sharp textures and animations. And, in a nice touch, they also “aged” the classic lineup of skaters to their current, middle-aged looks. Though wrinkled faces don’t mean much when the user is positioned behind their avatar, these details continue the series’ strong focus on humor.
As nice as the visual upgrades are, Tony Hawk always featured amazing audio, and Pro Skater 1+2 is no exception. The expansive soundtrack seamlessly blends the best punk and hip-hop from its era with tracks that are more familiar to today’s kids, while the unmistakable sound of urethane hitting plywood or boards grinding ledges is as thrilling as ever, especially with the volume cranked.
The only negative to be found in Pro Skater 1+2 is the relatively limited online play. While a handful of competitive events is a nice add, there’s not much motivation to fight laggy controls and questionable servers when there’s already so much to do in the singleplayer modes. Activision will likely expand the online offerings over time, but fans of the series probably won’t spend much time there.
The Tony Hawk series was never about realism, and whether they’re old enough to have nostalgia for it or not, Pro Skater 1+2 is a fantastic remake offering intuitive and massively enjoyable gameplay that deserves any skate fan’s attention.
Disclosures: This game is published by Activision and developed by Vicarious Visions. It is currently available on PC, PS4 and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via purchase and reviewed on the XBO. Approximately 26 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to online multiplayer.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T for Lyrics and Users Interact. The official description reads as follows: This is a collection of two skateboarding simulation games in which players can compete against others to complete goals/earn points. Players can create custom skate parks, perform tricks, collect hidden items, and skate around a variety of locations. Accompanying song lyrics reference alcohol, suggestive material, drugs, and language (e.g., “I’ll bring the beer”; “where the good whores meet”; “I was selling weed to all the kids out of my backpack”; “d*ck”; “b*tch”).
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the Game Settings menu.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 features subtitles and numerous tactile feedback features within the controller, in all modes. The game is fully playable without sound. This is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, the game’s controls are not remappable.