It's been almost exactly five years since the disastrous Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was released. The title was a technical cheek and a playful oath of disclosure. The controls were imprecise, the mission objectives fluctuated between boring and idiotic and numerous glitches ensured that fans of the series did not know whether to laugh or cry. The revival of the once great brand had failed and both gamers and the trade press agreed that after this flop, the Tony Hawk franchise would be buried for good.

But you can be wrong, because in May of this year publisher Activision announced a remaster of the first two parts. This time Vicarious Visions are responsible for the development, who already showed with the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy that they understand how to revive old brands. This was also successful with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. The title conveys the same joy as the originals 21 and 20 years ago. At the same time, however, the developers also made some adjustments to make the trend sport classics fit for today.

Old school skating with Uncle Tony

As soon as you start the game, you immediately notice the mixture of old and new. In addition to the 13 skaters already known from the originals such as Chad Muska, Bob Burnquist or Tony Hawk, there are also eight new, well-known skaters to choose from. These include Lizzie Armanto, Nyjah Huston and Tony Hawk's son Riley. You can also create your own skaters with whom you can skate through the levels.







In addition to the 13 skaters known from the originals, there are also eight THPS newbies to choose from. Including: Riley Hawk and Letícia Bufoni.



In addition to the 13 skaters known from the originals, there are also eight THPS newbies to choose from. Including: Riley Hawk and Letícia Bufoni.

Source: PC Games




Apropos: All levels from the originals are of course also available in the remaster. We can choose whether to start our sessions in the first or second part. Collected stat points, with which we improve the skills of our selected skater, are transferred from one game to another and across all modes. Stat points cannot be transferred to other skaters, but can only be used for the roller rider who has collected them.

In the skate sessions – just like in the past – we have two minutes to collect the letters SKATE, master certain gaps, crack high scores, find the hidden tape or even skate a trick combo that reaches a certain number of points . There is also a certain amount of stat points to be found. If you can't do all of this within a two-minute run, you can of course start a new session as often as you like in order to complete unused tasks.







In the sessions you can expect familiar tasks such as 'Collect S-K-A-T-E' or 'Find the hidden tape'.



In the sessions you can expect familiar tasks such as "Collect S-K-A-T-E" or "Find the hidden tape".

Source: PC Games




You always have to tick a certain number of goals in order to unlock the next level, where roughly the same tasks await you. If you still had to collect pilot badges in the hangar, in the school it is hallway passes. The high scores to be achieved, on the other hand, naturally increase from level to level. However, there are also skate areas in which we are not given the usual tasks, but instead compete against other skaters within three rounds. Here we have to win a medal to unlock the next level.

However, we do not meet our opponents in the skate park. We only see their names in the scoring table. Spectators watching the competition are nowhere to be found either. As with the same tasks, you can clearly see the age of the template. THPS veterans get exactly what they used to get, but younger players who haven't played the originals may find it stale. Even if you think about the fact that certain things are no longer quite up-to-date, you will still not wave bored off, because especially in later sections certain tasks are still quite demanding and the constant progress is motivating.






The controls are just as intuitive and precise as in the originals from Neversoft.



The controls are just as intuitive and precise as in the originals from Neversoft.

Source: PC Games




If you don't feel like going into two-minute sessions at all or can't handle the pressure of completing tasks during this time, you can look forward to it. With the exception of the secret levels, all sections of free skating are unlocked directly. Here you can calmly practice tricks or track down secret paths. Nevertheless, here too you will be rewarded with progress. No matter which modes we are currently in, certain challenges are always running in the background.







In addition to the normal tasks in the two-minute sessions, there are also all kinds of challenges with which you can earn XP.



In addition to the normal tasks in the two-minute sessions, there are also all kinds of challenges with which you can earn XP.

Source: PC Games




These are partly tied to the respective skater and his skills, but partly also completely open. For example, if we master a combo in which we combine a lip trick with a revert and a manual, a challenge that has been passed pops up. Other challenges, however, are based on a certain number of points to be achieved or the number of flip tricks performed. If we select successfully passed challenges, we receive money with which we can purchase new clothes, wheels, griptapes or decks in the skate shop.

In addition, we also receive experience points through which we rise in rank. Many objects in the skate shop are only activated when a certain level is reached. Depending on the challenge, we also receive certain accessories directly without having to buy them. Don't worry, by the way, there are no microtransactions in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. Everything is paid for using in-game currency only.

The beginner challenges are really not a big challenge. You can just do that on the side. Other tasks just depend on the playing time. However, real connoisseurs and experts of the series will be absorbed in the veteran and legend challenges, which are really crisp. After playing through, we always started in familiar levels in order to finally master a certain challenge and earn a special badge for it.

But for another reason, too, it's good that Vicarious Visions put these additional challenges into the game. Tasks that we solved in the levels will not come back. Not even with another skater. Once you have completed a level to 100%, you can only collect stat points with other skaters. Only when you have collected all 50 stat points distributed over both games with a skater can you unlock real skate videos. Real professionals can also dare to take part in speed runs. Here you have to meet all specified goals within two minutes.






Vicarious Visions has succeeded in bringing the old levels and the feel of the game into the modern era.



Vicarious Visions has succeeded in bringing the old levels and the feel of the game into the modern era.

Source: PC Games




Although Vicarious Visions has built in new challenges, you can already tell at certain points that the ravages of time have gnawed a bit on the mission design. Nevertheless, you enjoy playing session after session, because the gameplay is simply timeless. You can tell that the developers had access to the code of the originals developed by Neversoft at the time, because the skaters control themselves as easily and precisely as you know it from the weddings of the series.

Regardless of whether you, as a connoisseur of the series, pull out fat combos or as a beginner you are just learning how to combine flips with manuals – Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is just great to play. Maybe even better than any other part before. However, Vicarious Visions have usefully expanded the feel of the first two THPS parts with features from later parts that were not wanted nowadays.







In the competitions, we don't have to perform the usual tasks, but rather score as many points as possible within three runs in order to win a medal.



In the competitions, we don't have to perform the usual tasks, but rather score as many points as possible within three runs in order to win a medal.

Source: PC Games




Don't worry, you don't have to get off the board and do bad auto missions like Underground. Fortunately, the developers have omitted such nonsensical elements. Instead, they took over features from Parts 3 and 4 that really add value to the gameplay. So you can now use Reverts to combine vert tricks from the ramp with manuals to lengthen combos. You can also do double and triple flips, change manuals with the action buttons to more difficult tricks and you can do spine transfers. So, jump from a half pipe into a pipe behind it.

It all feels good and right and gives the actually quite rudimentary gameplay of the originals the necessary variance and depth. At the same time, the skill points have a greater effect on the skaters than in the newer parts. Some gaps can really only be skipped if you have put a few stat points on the ollie and speed points. Absolute nostalgics can also choose to use the gameplay from the original part 1 or 2, where the combo options were still badly limited.







If you don't like professional skaters, you can also create your own roller rider.



If you don't like professional skaters, you can also create your own roller rider.

Source: PC Games




No matter how you prefer to skate, another big plus point of the game is the ingenious soundtrack with several well-known punk and hip-hip tracks. All songs from the originals are back on board. We grind police cars while Rage Against the Machines is playing "Guerilla Radio", flipping over gaps to Naughty by Nature's "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" or jumping out of the pipe to Goldfinger's "Superman". As was the case back then, the soundtrack drives you and helps you get into the right flow to crack the high score.

The songs aren't limited to any part either. Those who are familiar with the originals should ask themselves at first what doesn't really fit here, for example when Millencolin's "No Cigar" is playing while skating through a level of THPS 1. But that's simply because of burned-in memories, the soundtrack is generally of absolutely high quality and fits the feel of the game perfectly. In addition, some new songs from well-known artists have been added. The new music can't match the original soundtrack, but it's also successful and doesn't bother us. Songs that you don't like at all can also be deactivated in the playlist (and bye, Billy Talent!).






The multiplayer modes are fun, but unfortunately the game stutters noticeably on the split screen.



The multiplayer modes are fun, but unfortunately the game stutters noticeably on the split screen.

Source: PC Games




It depends on the technology

As much as we have praised the new edition of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 so far, the remaster about the sprightly roller-rider has to accept some criticism, because technically the title is not completely clean. At first glance, Vicarious Visions have really managed to bring the classic levels into the present day. You can recognize all areas immediately and feel at home. At the same time, there are a number of subtleties and details to admire.







The levels are pretty nice, but unfortunately also completely empty. We would have liked to have seen spectators at the competitions.



The levels are pretty nice, but unfortunately also completely empty. We would have liked to have seen spectators at the competitions.

Source: PC Games




However, you quickly notice how empty the levels are. Sure, there are a lot of rails, ramps, pipes and other objects that you can fool around with, and the wild taxi drivers from New York or the annoying golf kart guy from School 2 are involved, but otherwise there are no people who also romp in the areas. It's almost strange to have the entire stretch of Venice beach to yourself. Vicarious Visions could really have put in a few NPCs here.

However, the developers probably had a few problems anyway and therefore decided not to. You can see that, for example, in the textures that are repeatedly reloaded too late. This problem doesn't exist with skating itself, but if you click through the skaters and clothes in the menu, you will notice it. Even at the start of a level, it is quite common that the textures take a second or two longer.







The park editor is easy to use, but offers many tools to create cool and creative levels.



The park editor is easy to use, but offers many tools to create cool and creative levels.

Source: PC Games




On the PS4 Pro, the title always ran smoothly in the single player modes, but on the standard PS4 there were minor jerks at some levels. In split-screen multiplayer, however, it also jerks heavily on the Pro. That's a real shame, because modes like graffiti, loser or highscore hunting are actually really fun. We weren't able to try out the online multiplayer modes at the time of the test. We will submit our impressions after the game is released.

We have not been able to download parks created by other players ourselves. Instead, we skated through levels created by Vicarious Visions with the tools and built our own park. As with part 2 from 2000, the controls work well here and there are lots of objects that can be placed. It can therefore be assumed that there will be loads of creative new community levels downloaded after the game is released. That would definitely enhance this successful comeback of the trend sports series.

My opinion

"Great game with timeless gameplay!"

After the underground Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, I never thought that the series I loved so much at the time would come back again. But I'm glad Activision didn't just let the series die and hired Vicarious Visions to do this remaster / remake. The new developers have brought the feel of the old skate classics into the modern age, but expanded the gameplay sensibly with exactly the right features from the successors. Technically, the title could certainly be a bit cleaner. The jerking in split-screen mode is particularly annoying, but mostly you skate alone anyway and the gameplay is just wonderfully catchy, precise, motivating and fun. As a THPS fan from the very beginning, who has hardly looked for any other game series so excessively, I am very satisfied despite the deficiencies mentioned. So, Vicarious Visions, patch the title a bit more and then let's get down to work for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 + 4.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (PS4)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (XBO)

Super catchy, precise controls
Timelessly great gameplay
Sensible adjustments with features of later parts
Nice implementation of the known levels
Great level design
Brilliant, driving soundtrack
Additional challenges for beginners and professionals
Simple but powerful park editor
Large selection of skaters
Unstable frame rate in split screen mode
Minor stuttering in some levels (standard PS4)
Some textures that load late
Empty game world
Session goals repeat themselves

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