It's been a long time since Tony Hawk unleashed his instant classic video game franchise and now you can enjoy it via a cool collection.
When I think of classic PS1 games, many titles come to mind yet few capture the era as well as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Everyone I knew played it when it debuted from actual skateboarders to nerds like me and considering just how immediately gratifying its gameplay is, it's obvious why it was such a hit. This duology for modern consoles includes all of the stages from the original 2 games with updated visuals featuring HDR support, slightly modified gameplay, and plenty of additions such as online multiplayer. Thankfully, the gameplay is super-tight, highly challenging, and ultimately rewarding and I imagine newcomers to the series would love what it has to offer. That is; if they're willing to practice because mastering Tony Hawk's Pro Skater requires a ton of patience. Needless to say, if you're a fan of the franchise then you should definitely play it but if you'd like to learn more then keep reading and I'll discuss the nitty-gritty details.
One thing that I love about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is just how imaginative its stages are. You'll start off in a grimy warehouse only to soon unlock the classic school level and you'll also eventually grind rails in an abandoned mall, race downhill in Phoenix, get hit by a streetcar in San Francisco, and even run from a stampeding bull in Mexico. Each level features its own list of challenges that range from acquiring collectibles, achieving score thresholds, and performing specific tricks and mastering everything is sure to take around a dozen or so hours; depending on how skilled you are, of course. As you play, you'll earn cash, level up, and check off oodles of challenges and while you're at it, you'll unlock tons of cosmetic items, increase your base stats, and learn new special tricks. There's a lot to do!
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has always featured great licensed music and the soundtrack here is top-notch as expected. There are plenty of awesome tunes from classic bands such as Rage Against the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, and Reel Big Fish and there are some new tunes by people like Machine Gun Kelly as well; whoever that is... I should also mention that there's a great sense of humour that shows up every now and then. For example, in the Bullring level, you can skate over the bull's poop piles and they make farting sounds when you do. I can do that all day. It's touches like this that make playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater such a delight.
Although I love Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 and recommend it to anyone who's interested, it does have its downsides. For starters, I wish the developers included additional modern features such as photo mode and the ability to record and upload replays. There is a community level aspect that's very cool but it doesn't allow you to play the courses via online multiplayer which is a bit of a drag. Next, as I progressed, I found that I was unlocking a ton of content but upon further inspection, most of it was merely cosmetic items which I don't quite care much about. I wish there were more secret characters and stuff. Finally, playing online is fun but it really isn't all that exciting due to lack of chat and other expected features. In fact, I preferred simply playing solo which is rare for me.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 proves that video games aren't really getting much better than what was around at the turn of the millennium. In fact, the amount of fun to be had here makes most modern games feel sterile and unstimulating in comparison.
- + Classic trick-based gameplay that's as rewarding and enjoyable as ever
- + Great variety of stages to master
- + Cool soundtrack and occasional humour
- - Lacking some modern gaming features such as photo mode and replays
- - Unlockables are mostly cosmetic
- - Playing online isn't all that exciting