In the early 2000s, the Tony Hawk Games broke all records. After a number of annual sequels, however, the series steadily lost quality and disappeared into oblivion. The remake Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 wants to revive the fame of the old days. We can confirm in our test that it turned out to be a precision landing.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a faithful remake of the two classics Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which were released in 1999 and 2000, primarily for the PlayStation. The new edition includes all levels and tasks from that time, the same roster of well-known pro skaters and a number of newcomers from the current skateboarding scene.
Also included is the Create-A-Park mode, in which you can build your own skate park, drive it on and share it with other skaters online. Of course you can also create your own character and edit and equip it extensively.
In addition to the career mode, which in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 in two so-called Tours is divided, you can also skate in ranked mode. In this you can compete for high score records on international leaderboards as well as in speed runs of the individual levels. In the multiplayer games, on the other hand, you skate side by side with your opponents.
Behind the new edition is the studio Vicarious Visions, which has already proven its knack for remakes with the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
After the series could only cause negative headlines in the last ten years, it has finally returned to its old size with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. The remake captures exactly the feel of the game that made the 20-year-old originals masterpieces. This includes not only the great soundtrack, which has been supplemented by a whole series of matching tracks, but also the accessible arcade controls, which turn you all into skaters within a few minutes and still reveal subtleties for weeks and months.
In short, the game remains true to the original and yet is full of useful improvements. It's packed to the brim with tasks, challenges, collectibles, unlockable items, countless game modes and gives you all of this, just like before, for the regular purchase price of the game. No season pass, no real money shop – the more you play, the more the game will reward you for it. A great deal because Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is great fun to play.
These are the strengths from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2:
- Pure nostalgia, old hands will recognize the skaters, levels and songs immediately
- Precise controls that allow for huge combos after a little practice
- Numerous unlockable tricks, items, clothes, cosmetics and videos
- Extreme replay value thanks to Create-A-Park, speed runs, multiplayer and challenges
These are the weaknesses from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2:
- Only a few unlockable bonus levels and hidden skaters
- Hidden areas of some levels remain unused
Anyone who played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater back then will find their way around immediately, and for example the first level Warehouse Master 100 percent in the first attempt. This does not mean that the fun lasts only a short time, but is primarily a proof of how catchy and precise the control works.
The level goals are implemented true to the original, so that the muscle memory can use immediately and master the old routes. Since the levels of the very first game originally only offered five challenges, new goals have been added to each of these levels, which are organically integrated into the flow of the game. So you have to collect something in the mall or in the toy robot Warehouse Find fire hydrants. In addition, each of your characters can find up to four skill points in each level.
It is a shame, however, that not all areas of the level are fully used – especially in the levels of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, to which no additional goals were added. For example, veterans will quickly be in the backyard School II or the hidden area in Marseille discover only to find no collectibles there. In the original, banknotes were hidden in these secret areas, in the remake they would have been good locations for skill points, but in these two cases they were clearly positioned in the middle of the level. However, these hidden areas have an advantage in multiplayer, more on that later.
The most obvious innovation is the expansion of the squad, because in addition to the old professionals there are eight newcomers on board who have more than earned their place in the skateboarding scene in recent years. You can control Tony Hawk's son Riley, 2018 Skater of the Year Tyshawn Jones or Aori Nishimura, who won Olympic gold at the age of 15. Especially Leo Baker as a non-binary skater is a great example of how diverse the skateboarding scene has become, which was represented 20 years ago with Elissa Steamer and Kareem Campbell with only one woman and one black person.
If someone hasn't played a part of the franchise since Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, there were also a few gameplay innovations on you. The Revert, which originally made its debut in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, is now an integral part of the game and also allows you to continue your combo even after landing a vert trick. The same goes for the Wall Plant, which has been known since Tony Hawk's Underground.
This allows endless combos in theory, but Vicarious Visions made sure to balance certain tricks accordingly. After several reverts you lose a lot of speed and repeated grinds or manuals make it difficult to keep your balance. So if you want to be among the best in Tony Hawk, you have to learn early on to set up your own arsenal of tricks as diverse as possible.
That of course also means that the high scores of the individual levels had to be adapted to the more extensive combo options. While the professional score of 50,000 points in San Francisco in 1999 was still a real challenge, a full 125,000 points are now required. This is mainly due to the fact that there was no manual in the very first game and the combo system was still in its infancy.
By the way: If you want something very classic, you can switch to the legacy movesets Classic THPS or Classic THPS2 in the settings and thus deactivate manuals, reverts, wall plants and other innovations. This means that split-screen duels, for example, are possible just like 20 years ago.
How well do you know Tony Hawk's Pro Skater?
Tony Hawk's games have been flickering on home screens for over 20 years. Do you know all the facts and secrets about the series?
Anyone who has already played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater will not need long to unlock all level objectives and medals. After all, the games have always been designed to be replayable and to repeat the levels with as many characters as possible. Experienced players, let alone speed runners, can easily complete both tours in one to two hours after some practice. Nevertheless, the game is far from over, on the contrary. At this point you have survived the baptism of fire much more.
On the one hand, hundreds of challenges are waiting for you. These range from simple tasks such as achieving a certain number of points to milestones such as winning all gold medals, completing 100 multiplayer matches or particularly challenging combos. Every passed challenge grants you money and experience points, which you can then invest in your profile. With the money you can buy clothes, new boards and other accessories in the in-game shop, while the experience points constantly expand the offer.
The greatest long-term motivation, however, is in ranked mode and in multiplayer. The latter offers exactly what is expected of it. Hunting for points against other players, combo challenges, an H-O-R-S-E mode in which you have to outdo each other with tricks and a graffiti mode in which you have to claim most of the objects for yourself within the time limit. In this mode, knowing about hidden level sections pays off, as the objects marked there are difficult to remove again.
If you prefer to play alone but still competitively, the ranked mode is best for you. There you can set high scores in single sessions and secure a place on the leaderboards. On the other hand, a special highlight of the game is the speedrun mode. This gives you as much time as you need to complete all the objectives of a single level. Here, too, the best times are recorded on leaderboards, which will certainly be fiercely contested in the coming weeks and months. After all, a very active speedrun scene has existed around the Tony Hawk franchise for years. So a great gesture that this not only gets its own mode, but also newcomers get a chance to lick Speedun blood.
On the other hand, there is a little wasted potential in the hidden content. Only two levels and a secret skater can be unlocked, and these were exactly what was already included in the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. Here Vicarious Visions could have impressed with a handful of new, modern Tony Hawk levels. But it's not all evening yet and it is not impossible for additional levels to make their way into the game by patch in 2020.
Until then, there will fortunately be enough replenishment from the community itself, because in Create-A-Park mode you can not only design your own dream park, but also download countless levels that were designed by other creative minds.