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Letters from the Front

Forget all the weird stuff that defined the series in its later years. Instead, remember the glory days of yesteryear because that’s where we’re headed with this amazing remake of the iconic Pro Skater series. By returning to the first two games in the Pro Skater franchise and remaking them from top to bottom, Vicarious Visions reminds us the reason why we fell in love with the Tony Hawk series.

The first Pro Skater released in 1999 and the second Pro Skater in 2000, when VHS tapes were still valid and kids got yelled at for skating at skate parks. If there ever was a series that mainstreamed skating and brought skating out from the darkness and beyond the skate parks, empty parking lots and buildings, and zines it was Tony Hawk. Suddenly, the masses got an idea of why skaters skate and skating became cool overnight. We learned the ollie, the difference between vert and street skating, and the joy of the endless combo once reverts and manuals could be pulled off and the magic of the early games was their intuitive controls, which invited creativity and experimentation as we skated through the levels like the iconic warehouse and school. There was nothing quite like it until 2007’s Skate.

However, this isn’t the first time we have had Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 being sold to us. Pro Skater 1+2 joins a proud tradition of Activision selling us the same game for the 200th time; this is the third attempt to remaster or remake some version of these set of games, after Tony Hawk 2X on the original Xbox in 2001 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD in 2012 but this the first time anyone has done it right in almost 20 years.

The overall structure of the two classic games have remained intact: you select levels based own various locations around the world, then hop onto your skateboard to complete objectives in under a minute. Vicarious Visions kept the best parts of the game largely intact, but they added various changes and enhancements that updates the game for a more modern audience and updates the game to the standards of modern day gaming. Stringing together various combos is smooth as hell, and the modern visuals are great to look at as well as you skate across some of the most iconic levels in gaming history.

Outside of nostalgia and outside of childhood memories, the game remains very fun and enjoyable as it ought to be. Featuring every single skateboarder from the first two games, enchanted create-a-skater if you want to create yourself with a set of unique clothing, and nearly every song that was featured in the original games make a return in this true to form remake. By masterfully blending in the old and the new makes Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 lands on a sweet spot.

The levels return and they’re up to date for modern standards; classics like school and warehouse return and they are faithful to the original games. Skating through the streets of San Francisco and skating through classic levels like Hanger, and the Chicago skatepark still feels great and has me return to the game just for high scores every once in a while. If you’re looking for new places to skate then you have the Forge-like mechanic returning where you can design your own skate park and share it with the community, I remember doing this a lot back when I was a child on Tony Hawk’s Underground in 2003 on the Playstation 2.

This bundle of the two iconic games in this iconic franchise effectively recaptures the magic what made the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series so iconic and recaptures a bit of my childhood, despite not playing these two games as I was too young at the time, but I am reminded of my time with Underground and American Wasteland with the remake of these two great games. The remake makes the experience of playing these two games feel fresh and current. With 2020 visuals, smooth gameplay, and the iconic soundtrack everyone remembers, there may still be life left in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. How about we get a remake of Underground and American Wasteland next, Activision?

*****

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