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Letters from the Front

The Tony Hawk set of games have always been a present thing in my life, especially the later entries that released in the mid 2000s. Games like American Wasteland and the two Underground games were a huge thing for me growing up, if I wasn’t playing FPS shooters or RPGs like Morrowind and Oblivion then I was seen playing sports games like Tony Hawk. So, seeing a remaster of these two games that were huge for me when growing up makes me gitty with excitement.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 is in its simplest form a remake of the first two original Tony Hawk games that released in 1999 and 2000 respectively. It takes the core elements of those first two games and modernizes them for the modern day. The most obvious thing is the graphics; the chunky and blurry skaters from the PS1 and PS2 era is gone and is replaced with the skaters looking like themselves and the cityscapes are gorgeous.

A similar care has been applied to the levels. Cities are now recognizable. All the levels look realistically good and completely modern, but, they all look the same as compared to the original games. They’re not the same as the originals, but they’re close, I was able to look up some old websites I used to browse to find some hidden spots.

From a mechanical standpoint, the remakes nail how the original games felt and played. The Tony Hawk set of games never have been a 1:1 simulation of skateboarding, unlike Skate and some other skating games, but it’s also not a full arcade experience either. The Tony Hawk set of games set somewhere in the middle, but it isn’t easy. Pulling off quick combos still require a bit of quick reflexes and finesse alongside remembering every single button and what those buttons do. It’s like real skateboarding: you see what you did wrong and retry almost immediately, that style of gameplay was very true 20 years ago and it’s still true today.

The game is very structured. While, you’re doing the same thing as before as collecting SKATE letters and searching for textbooks in the classic School level, these little challenges are great because they give new players and experienced players like myself something to aim for when the score is too low. You can unlock the levels in order as well, you can also jump between the original and the sequel at will; seamless is the word for this. The entire game is seamless, you can jump between the sequels and online multiplayer alongside create-a-park which is something I’m very eager to try out as I spent hundreds of hours creating parks back in the original games and its sequels. The entire game is just one big cohesive experience which is great.

This also extends to the skate culture within the game. There’s something within skate culture that makes it all fit together like a piece of a puzzle. THPS 1+2 feature the entire cast of the original games, but the cast has been updated to look like themselves in the present day. Tony Hawk, for example, is older and that’s reflected in-game but the original cast is accompanied by the new generation of skaters like Aori Nishimura and you can simply pick your favorite or create your own skater or skaters. You can create your own skater or skaters and outfit them with whatever clothing you unlock or buy from the cash earned via ranking up and completing challenges, for example: I spent a lot of time outfitting my skater looking like me and spent even more time buying a lot of clothes to outfit him. He looks like how I used to dress back in High School in 2011, a long sleeved rugby shirt and cargo pants alongside Nike SB Dunks. Clothing from the 90s sit alongside modern day clothing, stuff from Nike and Adidas. It’s fantastic to create your own self and pretend to be a skater.

The most important thing, however, is that THPS 1+2 is faithful to the original set of games and honors both games with updates wherever those updates were needed. What made the original Tony Hawk games so special is the care and attention Neversoft put into representing the skate culture and bringing authenticity into the games and the greatest thing is that all of that is here in this remake of the first two games. This is a remake done right.

Check out my review soon.

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