Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Review: Return of the King

It's been a long time since the last Tony Hawk's skateboarding entry, and even longer since an entry has been universally well-received. Those two factors have created a unique kind of anticipation for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. Not only is it the first new entry for the franchise in a few years, but it is a remake of two of the best-received entries in the entire series. Thankfully for both long time fans of the games and new fans looking to jump in, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 absolutely sticks the landing.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a remake faithfully recreated from the ground up with the team at Vicarious Visions and Beenox working from the original core of the first two games. Surprisingly though, even with this dedication to the past spirit of the series' arcade gameplay, it all still feels incredibly fresh with smaller improvements, new additions, and more that taps into nostalgia without being weighed down by it.

Right off the bat, you will notice that there are a ton of things to do. The entire package is absolutely stacked to the brim with unlockables and various challenges to not only upgrade your character in various ways, but will help to earn money to buy new skate decks, accessories, and the like. The two main draws are the two sets of parks found in the first two games of the series. Each one is delightfully revived in this new era with not only a great attention to detail, but are full of fun new additions or twists to make them pop in a new release that much more.

Along with all the parks from the first two games returning are also the return of Create-A-Skater and Create-A-Park modes. The Create-A-Skater mode unfortunately isn't too packed as there is a limit to what you can do with its set of pre-made faces to choose from (which neglects body types or other kinds of traditional slider modifiers), but making a park from scratch is still just as in-depth as ever with a wide variety of options available at the start (with the ability to unlock more later down the line). It can be fun to explore other creations other players make online too.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Review
(Photo: Activision)

The multiplayer modes are quick to jump into with several two-minute rounds that kick in pretty frequently, and can be pretty addicting (especially the graffiti rounds). There is local multiplayer as well (with every park unlocked right out of the gate) with split-screen even returning, too. The best part about all of it is that, along with these visual walks down memory lane, if you have played the older titles then chances are you'll notice that right away your muscle memory will kick in.

Pulling off ollies, grinding, verts, and more feels almost exactly the same as those first two titles, but there have been smaller additional levels of control that have been added from the sequels to make for a better overall experience. It's also been made faster in general with a higher overall base speed, and you get up from falls much quicker this time around as well. Even if you are not familiar with these titles already, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a great place to start for new fans as well.

Along with the professionals returning from the previous games (who have all been aged, and thus feel fresh again) there is a flood of recent talents added, too. Coupled with the new additions to the soundtrack that instantly gel with the rest of the package, you have an overall game that honors the current skateboarding culture. A return to the welcoming arcade-like gameplay of the franchise while giving everything a fresh coat of paint for the new era. This could be the start of the grand, new wave for the Tony Hawk's brand, and, even if it's not, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the king's return to the throne.

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher, and it was reviewed on a base model PS4.