I was just 10-years old when the first Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game released. I loved it to pieces, and its sequel, THPS2, even more. There was something simple and accessible about the games, but they still presented a challenge to all players – and they were actually doable challenges. I can’t count how many times I’ve stopped trying to get a game’s trophy or achievement because the challenge was ridiculously difficult. That didn’t happen back in the day.
THPS1+2 is a complete remake of the first two original Tony Hawk games that released 20 years ago. And you know what? It’s probably the best remake I’ve seen to-date, and that includes my beloved Spyro trilogy remake.
The obvious changes are immediate. The graphics have been given a modern update, the gameplay has been tweaked and refined, and levels have been faithfully recreated, with only the tiniest of differences in the layouts to their original versions. This isn’t spectacular, it’s expected. What is spectacular is how the game still holds the feel and fun of the originals without anything getting damaged during the renovations.
The package itself is brilliantly put together and it’s easy to flip between the first game, the sequel, and the various multiplayer modes. Progress and stats are carried around through all game modes, meaning that if you want to jump into the second game first (as I did) you can do that and then go back to the first game with the improved stats gained in the sequel. Likewise, your progression carries over into the online game modes, too, keeping everything fluid and connected. The only real barriers are the fairly short loading times.
The gameplay is still the perfect blend of challenging and accessible as it was 20 years back. The games are split into levels, and you play each level in two-minute runs. You’ll be hard-pressed to complete any level to 100% in one run, but I don’t reckon it’s long until such a speedrun shows up online.
For most of us, the game will take place in two-minute runs where you’ve got a set task list. Each task bags you a point, and those points are used to unlock the next levels. The tasks range from the simple, such as hitting a certain score, to the more complicated, like performing a number of vertical transfer locations at a level. There are also competition levels here and there, where you’ll just skate for the maximum points to bag the highest score.
Generally, the tasks tend to get a little harder with each new level. The high scores required will be higher, and the tasks more tricky, but never in the realms of impossible. With a bit of time, practice, and patience – and a little bit of luck – every task can be achieved. Hell, the game is as close to the originals that you can go and use the guides for the originals. I did when I got stuck, and it works! No need to buy the expensive accompanying guide this time, then.
I’ve even dipped my trucks into the game’s online modes and, surprisingly, I enjoyed them! I even won a round of Trick Attack. Me. Chris Harding. The guy who has never earned a chicken dinner, never won an online race in Mario Kart, and never got close to the top in that weird Tetris Battle Royale game on the switch, beat out seven other players and took the number one spot. This is why I love these games; I’m damn good at them.
If you got your first introduction into skating via THPS on the PS1, you are going to love this – I promise you. If I had to find fault with the game I’d say that the music wasn’t for me. But if I’m being honest, even if I don’t especially like all of the music, playing the game without the likes of Rage Against the Machine and Goldfinger just wouldn’t be right. It’s a package that needs everything just the way it was to pluck those nostalgia strings.
If you’re a newcomer, welcome. You’re going to struggle for a couple of minutes and then the game will just ‘click’ and four hours later you’ll be fingerboarding your fork across the dinner table. You’ll look at railings in your everyday life and dare to think that perhaps you could take a wheelyboard out for a spin and grind that bad boy from top to bottom. You’ll probably break an arm, ankle, or elbow, but you wouldn’t be first, and I really do hope you’re not the last.
The original games got kids like me – and by that, I mean regular lads who played football and rugby – into skateboarding. It inspired a generation to go as fast as they could on four wobbly wheels slapped on the bottom of a plank of wood. We hurt ourselves trying drop-ins with no idea how to do it. We got beat up by the chavs who thought we were goths, and we got chased away from shopping malls after trying to copy the fools in Jackass. But we had fun and we got our arses off the couch for a bit.
There’s little chance that THPS 1+2 will have the same cultural impact as it did back in its day, but if a few more kids get out and give skating a go, then that’s the game’s true success.
2020 has given me a lot more time at home with the family, a career change, and now this. We can just go ahead and call the year done with THPS1+2 sitting as a frontrunner for Game of the Year 2020. Done, I tell you.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 PS4 Review
- Overall - Must Play - 9.5/109.5/10
THPS1+2 is probably the best remake I've played. It perfectly captures the core fun of the original games, including the original soundtrack and skaters, and brings it up to modern standards with surprisingly few tweaks outside of the graphics and audio work. Perfect for long time loyal fans, and a great starting point for newcomers.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.