Loading up the new playable demo of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
+ 2, which hits Xbox Live and PSN on Friday, I had one big question on my mind: would this be a return to form, or another quick cash-in remaster? THPS is one of my favorite series in gaming, but it’s also one of the most painful. I have long wanted to recapture the magic of the first three games, but over time have only found myself increasingly let down by various attempts.As the game loads, Rage Against The Machine kicks out their ‘90s james alongside a montage of all the classic skaters from the original games, and some welcome new faces to the series. Once the montage ends, the demo offers a single option: Warehouse + Tony Hawk.
The Warehouse looks decent on a PS4 Pro. The sun enters from the left and casts real-time shadows across the floor. There are small sections of water pooling on the ground casting realistic reflections, although I could not get Tony to make an appearance in the reflection so it doesn’t seem to be real time. The character model is improved, no doubt, but there’s, no texture on the clothing – though I’m not certain that’s necessary in a Tony Hawk game. I don’t see any graphical achievement awards in this remaster’s future, but this is certainly the best looking skate game to date.
Dropping into the Warehouse warps me right back to 1999 when I did this exact roll-in for the first time. The control comes back fairly naturally, but with one quirk: Tony Hawk games play so much faster and more frantically than Skate 3 or the more recent Skater XL! But as I looped through the warehouse, everything started coming back. The demo is fairly limited on content with no objectives to work towards; it’s just a two-minute free skate session. It’s quick to hit pause and then restart run, so there is barely any down time. Over the hour I spent skating around I found myself setting my own goals just like I did 22 years ago: land the 900, add a 360 Varial McTwist in a line, break 100K with one combo, etc.For the most part, this is Tony Hawk as I remember it with a nice new coat of paint. I have questions about the amount of content in the game that only the final, full version can answer, but the most important thing is that the skating feels good. Welcome back, Birdman.
Tate Fiebing is one of many IGN staff who grew up loving the Tony Hawk games. Talk ollies and 720’s with him on Twitter at @TateOrToshy.