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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Review


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2070720680_TonyHawkProSkater12boxart.jpg.9cdaedaaf6c2c9b342aeefcde6adae0c.jpgIs there a better time capsule for the early 2000s than a video game about skateboarding? Best of all, that game is good. Really good. There's a reason the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise spawned such a run of sequels, and it's because it came out of the gate with two fantastic games that found a perfect balance of simplicity and challenge in a stylish package. 20 years later, developer Vicarious Visions has lovingly remade that experience with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, which is just as sharp, fun, and addictive as it ever was.
 
If you never played the Tony Hawk games back in the day, this remake makes it abundantly clear why they're so lauded. Even twenty years later the games show off some absolutely brilliant arcade sports game design. Pulling off tricks and chains of combos is engaging and challenging but not so tedious that it ever feels discouraging. You're always going to want to get back on the board and give it another try, and then when you pull off that massive combo and watch your score skyrocket it's an incredibly satisfying feeling. There's a good variety of tricks available but not so many that you're forced to memorize long chains of combos. The environments are just the right size—big enough to encourage exploration, but also dense enough that you can find great spots for combos all over. The variety of objectives ensures you're not just holed up in one corner of the map racking up points but are actually encouraged to explore and experience the game to the fullest.
 
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THPS1+2 tightens things up with a few upgrades to the originals, and the developers were smart enough to keep them small yet impactful. Things like reverts and wall plants—introduced in later games in the series—make it easier to maintain long chains and feel like natural additions. Most importantly, none of these little tweaks change the fact that the controls are wonderfully responsive and engaging. If you do find yourself struggling, though, there are plenty of assist options as well as a helpful tutorial in case you haven't been to the skate park in a while.
 
Outside of the core gameplay mechanics, the game adds a ton of content to keep you busy. The old guard of skaters is present and accounted for, but there are also a ton of fresh faces to play as. A new challenge system earns you experience points for unlocking items in the store as well as the opportunity to add new tricks to your character's repertoire. You can create your own skate park with a pretty robust editor. And last but certainly not least, you've got the multiplayer options: local split-screen and online competitions with leaderboards can provide a near endless string of one-up-manship as you finesse your skills. With two games in one and so many characters, it'd be a pretty huge—but satisfying—task to really do everything the game has to offer.
 
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If you've played any multi platform release on the Switch, you won't be surprised to see that the visuals take a hit on Nintendo's platform. You don't get to enjoy the crisp 4K clarity of the other consoles, but THPS1+2 doesn't look bad at all. The textures are muddier, sure, but that really doesn't impact the experience. More importantly, the soundtrack is well preserved here, with a fantastic selection of punk/ska/rock songs that will take you right back to your childhood, as well as some solid new additions. Even if you didn't grow up with this music, its energy and excitement is the absolutely perfect backing track for pulling off insane tricks and combos in one location after another.
 
It shouldn't be terribly surprising since these games are 20 years old, but it's still a testament to their quality that visual fidelity has zero impact on how fun and addictive Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is. The gameplay has the perfect balance of simplicity and depth that makes it a blast whether you're dropping into the half pipe for the first time or are already a pro. The incredible amount of things to do between these two games, not to mention the online/multiplayer features, is sure to keep you kickflipping for weeks.
 
Rating: 9 out of 10 Skateboards
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I'm eventually going to get this package because I absolutely loved these games back in the day.  It's kind of wild to think to back then and see a game like this blow up the way it did and make a skateboarding game of all things super intuitive to play.  Really glad the initial roster is intact too as my favorite skater was Bucky Lasek so I'll definitely be back at it with my boy!

 

This takes me back:

 

 

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