Skateboard legend Tony Hawk has not had it easy in recent years. At least not when he looks at the game series that bears his name. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were once considered real must-have games in the collection. But after strange experiments, such as the board-based Ride and Shred, and the half-baked remaster of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, many eventually lost confidence in the license.
The death blow came in 2015, when Activision used the last little time they had left of the Tony Hawk license to release one last game. With the results in hand, we can state that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 was not the comeback we expected. The broken physics, the countless bugs and just the feeling that it was released unfinished was the end of the once respected game series.
A much-needed look back
That’s why the unveiling of the new remaster, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, also hit like a bomb. Would this be another violation of the game series, or has the publisher Activision learned from its mistakes? After several rounds of the preview version, we dare to say the latter. That the developer Vicarious Visions, who last gave us Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy, knows how a remaster should feel immediately.
We are first met by a heated version of the familiar warehouse from the very first game. The interior is the same, but there are still major graphic improvements since the last time, especially with the light that is reflected on the different surfaces. Most noticeable, however, is that this remaster is at 60 frames per second, which does wonders for the feeling of speed.
When we roll down the initial hill to the tunes of Goldfinger’s “Superman”, everything feels perfect. As if we were somehow teleported back to the glory days of the game series. The control sits exactly as we want it, fast and smooth. We gate on rails, balance manuals and perform spectacular tricks in the halfpipe without any problems. Thankfully, it is also only our own assessments that determine whether we do not set the trick.
A stable hawk
In other words, the technology seems to be much more stable than last time, without strange bugs or graphic misses. At least during our many sessions, where we also both succeeded and failed with all sorts of inhumanly long combinations of tricks. However, a lot can happen until the real launch. We are cautiously optimistic, especially as it is now the rule rather than the exception with patches in connection with new game releases.
One detail that we notice already now is that the game offers a lot of all kinds of settings. Here we can adapt everything from music lists and whether the special meter should be maximized, to which supertricks our chosen character should have access.
And for the real Puritans, it is also possible to opt out of elements from the later games in the series. We also see that the characters will have lots of cosmetic accessories, both for clothes and for boards. For obvious reasons, many of these settings are not selectable in the preview version we’ve been playing hard for the last few days.
Even the warehouse, which used to be filled with scattered objects, is still empty. Here it is important for Vicarious Visions to really stick to what has worked before in terms of content. And to absolutely not go the same way as the previous developer Robomodo did with his Tony Hawk games. There is already the perfect control here, but above all that addictive feeling from the first games. The last thing we need now is turbo speed, lunar orbits or other trams.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 will be released on September 4 for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.