Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Review | ‘A blast from the past that doesn’t coast on nostalgia’

Paul Tamburro
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Info

genre

  • Sports

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Activision

Developer

  • Vicarious Visions

Release Date

  • 09/04/2020
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC
  • PS4
  • Xbox One

rating

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 review for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Skating down the Warehouse’s first ramp, smashing through its glass doors, and then performing a picture-perfect Christ Air soundtracked by ‘Guerrilla Radio’ is a transportive experience. THPS 1+2 is a time capsule teleported in from the ’90s, taking me back to weekends spent ollying and grinding virtual rails with my friends. It sends me back to a time when baggy jeans came equipped with metal chains, and when people willingly listened to Goldfinger. It’s a blast from the past, but it doesn’t coast by on nostalgia alone — this is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful remakes yet.

THPS 1+2 combines the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequel in a collection spanning all skate parks from the two games, faithfully recreating every collectible, ramp, and halfpipe featured in the originals. But rather than giving these old classics a mere fresh lick of paint a la Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, developer Vicarious Visions has brought the series up to date, making it a more exhilarating experience than ever before.

Playing THPS 1+2 is like replaying the old Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games but as you remember them with the benefit of rose-tinted glasses. Gone are the blocky polygonal skaters and foggy draw distances, replaced by colorful and well-lit arenas, 4K visuals, and a frame rate of up to 144 FPS on PC. Old parks like Warehouse and School have the same layout as they did back in the day, though they look distinctly better than their 1999 and 2000 counterparts, and more fluid gameplay makes them even more of a joy to zip around in 2020.

Combos, mods, and moves

thps 1 + 2 review

There’s nothing more satisfying than chaining together special moves across the entirety of a park, watching your combo meter fill up as you fling your skater from halfpipe to rail, seeing through the Matrix as you start to notice how certain objects and surfaces in a park can be used to maximize your score. However, you don’t necessarily need to be good at THPS 1+2 to enjoy it — this is a game that is mindful of its more “casual” players, allowing them to enable a bunch of game mods such as perfect rail, manual, and lip balance to make things easier.

Like its predecessors, THPS 1+2 also isn’t concerned about realism. A game where you can skate through Roswell and kickflip past a UFO unsurprisingly doesn’t care too much about emulating real-world physics, so while the tricks you can pull off are the same as the pros’, the tremendous speed and momentum you can gain allows you to pull off ludicrous moves and ridiculous combos.

These combos can be increased by using your special moves, which can be activated once you’ve filled up your special meter. You start off with five special move slots and can unlock more as you progress, with each move being interchangeable. Some moves, like the daring 900, are more difficult to pull off and therefore grant you more points, while others are less tricky though will reward you fewer points in the process. These moves are pulled off using specific button presses or analog stick twirls similar to a fighting game, and the variety on offer here allows you to experiment with the best moves that suit your play style.

Vicarious Visions know how to thrust an old series back into the public eye after developing the hugely successful Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. But unlike the Crash trilogy, which controversially altered the platforming of the original games, the changes made to THPS 1+2 are all for the better. Wall plants and wallrides can be performed across all parks, allowing you to rack up staggeringly high combos and embrace these classic stages in brand new ways, while more objectives have been added to the original Pro Skater‘s levels to add even more things to do.

Skate Tours and challenges

thps 1+2 review 2

These objectives are completable in the single-player Skate Tours mode, running the gamut from collecting the letters S-K-A-T-E, to making particularly difficult jumps, to performing location-specific objectives such as collecting school textbooks or ollying over parked cars. Completing these objectives opens up new parks in Skate Tours, though you can still access the parks in a separate mode that allows you to free skate or compete in single sessions with global online leaderboards.

Extra challenges and an abundance of unlockable cosmetics also give a great incentive to keep playing, with these challenges letting you rack up cash that you can then spend on apparel, boards, and more using the in-game store. There are no microtransactions at the time of this review, so all items are unlocked by old-fashioned gameplay, and THPS 1+2 is all the better for it. The cosmetics look great, with many licensed brands allowing you to deck out your custom created skater in a variety of fashions, while there are also unlockable outfits for the pro skaters included in its lineup.

Multiplayer and split-screen

thps 1+2 review 3

As if it didn’t already have enough to sink your teeth into, THPS 1+2 also features online and local multiplayer. The former allows you to jump in a park with 7 other players and compete in a variety of casual or ranked challenges, while the latter lets you take on a friend in classic modes such as Graffiti, Trick Attack, and Horse. Unfortunately, there’s no option to play in private lobbies with friends, though Vicarious Visions has stated this will come to the game in a future update.

Create-a-park also makes its return, allowing you to create custom parks and upload them for others to experience. The tools at your disposal are robust and intuitive, with you also able to buy additional scenery, ramps, and more with the in-game store. Vicarious Visions also has a bunch of its own created parks to play highlighting just what you can do with the mode, from creating rollercoasters to skate parks located inside giant pyramids.

THPS 1+2 Review | The Final Verdict

There’s so much to do in THPS 1+2, yet I could spend hours just perfecting my score on one small section on one of its parks. It’s the ultimate game for high score chasers, forcing you to unwittingly adopt a speedrunners’ mentality and see each wall, hill, and rail as another opportunity for a jaw-dropping combo.

From its innumerable challenges to its tough objectives and extensive customization options, it’s designed from the ground up to leave you always wanting just one more go. But, as any veteran Pro Skater player will tell you, one more go will always result in you awake until 4 AM, still trying to get the perfect run on Downhill Jam.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a triumphant return for the series and makes a strong claim for the best skateboarding game ever. It’s a must-play for fans of the series and newcomers alike, and I hope this isn’t the last Pro Skater game we see from Vicarious Visions.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 was reviewed using a PC review code provided by the publisher.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

5
Rating
Box art - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
An incredible remake of two of the best PlayStation games.
Fantastic soundtrack with excellent new songs.
Stacking up combos feels incredible.
All the old parks, but with a gorgeous new makeover.
Tons of replayability.
Online is smooth, with full lobbies and quick matchmaking...
...but private matches are missing at launch.