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I didn’t care a lot Tony Hawk’s professional skater (THPS) or its follow-up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 back when I first played them about two decades ago. Something just happened.

The. Now that we have this out of the way, we’re almost ready to drop some acid into the halfpipe of my thoughts on Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 on the PlayStation 5. And the most succinct way to sum up this package would be that, for better or worse, it remains a solid, no-frills arcadey skateboarding game. Before breaking this maybe from the back (you will have to stay to find out for sure) compliment down, it behooves me to develop my opening line.

It was in 2000, when I had just accepted the original PlayStation DualShock controller that I first encountered. THPS and its follow-up THPS 2. With the likes of Anthrax, Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, and Goldfinger already on my playlist – which to me, at the time, existed on audio cassette – the soundtrack didn’t exactly blow my mind as it did. did so many others.

I mostly liked the idea of ​​a skateboard simulator that you could actually do tricks in, given that my own real-world experience with this stuff had been beyond sadness. Playing with a variety of skaters with their own skills seemed like a real adventure to me. The same was true for skateboard decks.

But when it comes to the actual skating action, I found myself sorely hampered by my inability to think through fundamental movement. Ironically, it was the one I could perform in real life, but I miserably failed to succeed virtually: the manual.

This is what a manual looks like. Screenshot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

On the controller, this involves quickly pressing the digital up and down directional buttons, then switching to the analog stick to control your scale. Unfortunately, and especially for the noob DualShock that I was, this was easier said than done.

As a result, my learning curve was rather steep and painful: In my experience, there are very few things in the game that come close to being as frustrating as missing a collectible per millimeter and running have the stopwatch run out after you have settled in. to go for a second attempt.

But eventually I overcame my inability to textbook. And with that, I gained the ability to string together more elaborate and vaster combos, collect more points, unlock more hidden videos, and move up to more complex levels. And after I had ollied, kickflipped, pop-shove-it’d, crushed (I don’t know why the past tense of ‘grind’ is not ‘ground’) and yes, even manual every inch of THPS ‘ Fantastic Streets level and a bit disappointing Roswell level, I was done. That was it.

Besides trying to get every secret strip, every manual or road sign, and locate every hidden area, there was nothing more to be done. THPS 2 was pretty much the same story. Even the multiplayer options seemed a bit limited after a while and depended on having a friend or two present. Both games had superb fundamentals and physics, challenging levels and enough variety in terms of the styles and skills of the skaters on offer. But that was it: a solid, no-frills arcadey skateboarding game. Something stood out in his absence.

Last September, Activision released Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but for some reason it slipped under my radar. On March 26 of this year, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S versions of the game were discontinued and this time I decided to get on board.

As would (maybe it is better to read “should”) be obvious to anyone picking up the game, it has undergone a makeover and looks absolutely stunning. Levels like Venice Beach (THPS 2), NY (THPS 2) and city center (THPS 1) are a visual marvel to behold in their latest form and the likes of Bullring (THPS 2) and hangar (THPS 2) remain the perfect places to spam points.

I’m not going to spend time comparing the 2021 and 1999/2000 versions, as that would be way too obvious. Instead, it would be more informative to see how THPS 1 + 2 stands up to scrutiny as a 2021 game on the latest generation of consoles.

As the first skate game to arrive on PS5, it’s a great ambassador of the hobby / hobby / extreme sport / lifestyle (delete as you see fit). For starters, there are a multitude of skateboarders – ranging from Thrasher ‘Skater of the Century’ from Steve Caballero magazine to 19-year-old, soon-to-be Olympian Aori Nishimura – available to select, complemented by a wide array of deck and clothing customizations.

This much-celebrated soundtrack returns with a few new friends, so you can expect to see Machine Gun Kelly’s Blood valentine sitting somewhat awkwardly next to the aforementioned Anthrax collaboration with Public Enemy on the latter Bring the noise. But if you refresh the skaters, what’s the harm in updating the tunes? None, I guess, but it doesn’t feel like a particularly thematically consistent soundtrack to me.

Screenshot of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Screenshot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Guess I’m still bitter about the fact that the ultimate skate anthem (IMHO anyway) As Nothing do not do his THPS start. never mind.

When it comes to skating (and arguably the most important aspect of all) itself, it’s nice to see that the basic mechanics of skating are in place and are holding up even into 2021, while the modifiers (you know, to add a little more spice to your movements) are intuitive and easy to use. A rich mix of street, bowl and green skating means there is something for everyone, and the inclusion of mods – think cheat codes that give you the perfect balance, top speed, time to ride. maximum antenna, etc. – makes it accessible to players of various skills.

When you’re done playing single-player, you can play online or compete against a friend in old-fashioned split-screen multiplayer action. With a multitude of modes at your disposal ranging from Trick Attack (collect the most elaborate trick and the heaviest in points) and Score Attack (as before, but this takes into account your total score) to Graffiti (tag a territory by doing a cheat there and rack up more than your opponent) and my personal favorite, HORSE (you get a letter every time you register the lowest score; the first in HORSE loses), there’s quite a bit to keep you busy long after you get bored with solo skating.

Since this is a PS5 game, I was hoping to see some real improvements in terms of one of the console’s biggest selling points: the DualSense controller and its haptics. Unfortunately, when grinding (on the trucks of your board) feels good and clicking satisfactorily, most of the other reviews feel very similar. I should mention at this point that while I wasn’t expecting the width and width of Astro Games Roomhaptic adventures, I was hoping the game would use the controller a bit better than it does.

Screenshot of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Screenshot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Looks good, it plays good, so what exactly is my problem?

After playing the first two THPS titles, I missed the next two editions and only returned to the franchise when Tony Hawk’s subway (Thug) released in 2003. An entertaining (but extremely cheesy) story mode, passable voiceovers, KISS’s Gene Simmons as a hidden character, and an extended soundtrack were much appreciated additions.

In particular, the story of what your “best friend” Eric Sparrow turns out to be absolute crap haunts me to this day. Fun fact: Eric returns to irritate you THUG 2, how much his schtick has worn very thin. But, I digress.

The real lure of Thug It was the ability to walk around on foot (or on your board; it was your choice) and find little things to do, side missions to do, or people to meet. To me that represented the philosophy of skateboarding. It’s not all about competition. It’s not just about consistently pulling the brightest combos, getting the sickest scores, and doing it all. Pokemon in your quest for collectibles.

It’s about exploring – whether it’s your own neighborhood or a city on the other side of the globe you’re exploring – and discovering at your own pace and in your own style. And then there’s the beauty of finding an untarnished handrail to grind on, rather than installing it for you as part of a pre-existing combo that you have to remove to unlock xyz.

Screenshot of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Screenshot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Another thing: enough of that stingy two-minute limit on levels. Yes, I know there is a free skate mode, but what’s the point if none of your accomplishments count towards the grand scheme of things? Furthermore, even developer Vicarious Visions realized that timed races in skateboard games are a thing of the past and removed them in THPS 4. I understand that in the spirit of faithfully recreating the original game the time limit had to be in place, but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about it.

In 2021, where every second game is an ‘open world’ adventure and the entire gaming experience has gradually shifted away from the arcades and into the warm embrace of immersion, THPS 1 + 2 looks a bit like an incomplete experience. This is not surprising as even the original game felt like something was missing in terms of replicating the skateboarding experience.

I accept that this is a remaster and offer hundreds of thousands of people the chance to revel in the nostalgia and hundreds of thousands more a chance to see what it is. I also admit that the game mainly achieves this. However, right now I don’t think remastering a solid, no-frills arcadey skateboarding game is enough; especially as a full price offer. Once you’ve gotten over the visuals, slightly more nuanced controls, and the widest variety of customizations on offer, they’re the same two games from 1999 and 2000 – with just a heck of a paint job.

Screenshot of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Screenshot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Of course, there is nothing wrong with THPS 1 + 2 in itself, but doesn’t the ninth generation of video game consoles (and in a year where skateboarding is about to make its Olympic debut) deserve a more complete skate experience than the remake of an old title from over 20 years? It’s undoubtedly a phenomenal series of games that have turned skateboarders and their tricks into household names, but I’m not convinced that this is the best representation of the series.

Questions also need to be asked about how we view remasters and remakes: do we want them exactly as they were, but with a fresh coat of paint? Or do we want upgraded versions that reflect current technology and gaming trends?

Game rated on PlayStation 5. Review code provided by publisher.


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About Pia McArthur

Pia McArthur

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