If you’re a longtime gamer and a nostalgia junkie, the biggest dose of the yesteryear warm and fuzzies you’ll get from a video game in 2020 will undoubtedly be from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, a remaster of the first two games in the franchise.
And it’s not even close.
You boot up, and “Guerrilla Radio” by Rage Against the Machine blares through your speakers as you see a collage of familiar faces, then you crash through the wall into the familiar warehouse level as Tony Hawk while the fast-paced ska-centric drums of “Superman” by Goldfinger literally beg you to try a 900 right out of the gate. The game is nonstop good vibes.
If you’re like me and you haven’t played Tony Hawk in over a decade, your next dose of nostalgia will come from the fact that you probably also mashed buttons the first time you played the game instead of taking a second to learn the right techniques. That was an unexpected memory when I approached my first half-pipe and realized, “Oh wait, I forgot how to do everything!”
But it doesn’t matter. The demo is literally just two minutes in the warehouse as Tony Hawk. In truth, it really doesn’t need to be anything else. This early peek is a great precursor of things to come and all you really need to get excited about the full release on Sept. 4. It doesn’t just have the tricks from the original two games. You get more features from the entire series brought in to bolster the experience. This is a brilliant move by Vicarious Visions, the creator of the remaster: Give the fans just enough to continue playing through the rest of August, until next month, when we can finally try our Kickflip McTwists on other levels.
The graphics look solid and are a great upgrade to the original version. Early 3D games, though a feat for their time, don’t exactly hold up to today’s standards. This remastered version seems to stay true to the originals while adding its own flair and subtleties, which is great to see. It could have been a straight-up remaster with nothing different, and it still would have been successful because of the franchise’s popularity, but it doesn’t feel like that was enough for the developers, which should be applauded.
Skateboarding’s popularity was at an all-time high in the zeitgeist when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the first game in the series, was released in 1999. It became a lovable game even for those who didn’t care much for skate culture in real life, similar to games such as Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (boxing) and NHL 94 (hockey) before it. The title was just very enjoyable and appreciated by people who love video games.
This version might rely most on old-school fans rediscovering the game all over again, but anyone who picks this up for the first time will also be able to enjoy that fresh experience of grinding away at learning new tricks and trying to beat your high score and the joy that comes when you finally do.
If you preordered the game, you have access to the demo and can download it today. You also got the demo if you were one of the lucky few to have ordered the “Tony Hawk Burrito” at Chipotle for a limited time. The game will be available on PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
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