Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 review: Pretending I’m a Superman

Activision /

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a wonderful remake of two beloved skateboarding classics.

Title: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: September 4, 2020

It’s been over two decades since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater launched on PlayStation. Now Activision with Vicarious Visions have remastered the two classes — Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and Pro Skater 2 — and bundled them into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. I dug deep and I’ve emerged from my spelunking expedition to tell you that there is indeed gold in these hills. Metaphors aside, this thing is on X-Games mode.

When you first jump into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, you’ll get to watch a really cool video of live footage featuring many of the pro skaters then and now. There’s also footage of some of the new young ducks that have also been added to the game. But it’s perhaps the inclusion of Tony Hawk’s son Riley that will most certainly make you feel absolutely ancient.

Seriously, seeing Riley Hawk in this game would be like playing a new Mario game as Mario’s adult son to show how much time as passed. Or a Pokemon game where your character from the previous games has gone ahead and had/abandoned a trainer of their own. It just shows how far we’ve come since the debut of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in 1999 — and how old we’ve all gotten.

You can pick from a wide variety of trainers when you play and each character has a list of personal challenges. Completing them all unlocks a video you can watch of them doing their thing. I absolutely suggest focusing on Rodney Mullan first because that man is the god of all things manual and watching his video reminded me of why I used to skate.

When you get in the game itself, much like the Spyro or Crash remasters, you get to pick whether you want to hop into Pro Skater 1, Pro Skater 2 or Free Skate. Free Skate gives you immediate access to every stage without the goals and, more importantly, without the timer. I recommend this because it lets you figure out the controls remember how to get to the harder to access areas of the game without being pressured by the sands of an hourglass.

One of the things I love about this game is the amount of work that was put into showing that time has progressed. All the skaters who were previously in Pro Skater back in 1999 are back but they look their age. I told my wife that I was playing a “dad simulator.”

Even the stages show their ages. Little touches like the indoor skate parks having faded paint in some spots and missing ceiling tiles is a nice touch but the most beautiful one was the mall.

The mall stage from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 is back in its full glory. A linear stage that mysteriously teleports you back to the start when you try to exit.

But because it’s a mall in 2020, it’s been treated accordingly. The mall is now completely abandoned. Old banners advertising closeout sales hang from the ceiling. The shops are all still there but are boarded-up storefronts with a few leftover shelves and naked mannequins. Leaks from flooded roofs occasionally drip down from the ceiling. It’s a really nice touch that makes me feel a lot less guilty about shattering the store directories to fulfill a goal. I still got a weird joy out of destroying the one remaining mall kiosk because let’s face it, we’ve all wanted to.

Outside of the game’s traditional, goal-filled timed mode, there is a wealth of other things to do as well. Beyond the known skaters, you can fulfill your dream of becoming one yourself with the Create-A-Skater.

There isn’t exactly a wealth of options in the character customization though. Also, almost every item has a massive logo on it and if it didn’t, it was likely in there to promote one of the pro skater’s own clothing lines, so it just felt weird. Most of the clothing is just t-shirts with logos so none of it really feels worth unlocking.

Create-a-park is in here as well and it’s actually not too bad. While the interface is a little clunky, it does feature a wealth of things to do. Items can be placed anywhere and aren’t tied to physics, so if you need something in the air for some reason, sure, have air rails.

I wish I was creative enough to make something cool but instead, I made a recreation of the tiny skate park Parma, Ohio once had until they got scared of the fact that it attracted skateboarders and then tore it down in favor of an empty lot. It’s published and available if you look up Parma but, as I said, it’s tiny and honestly only good if you want to remember the little tiny thing.

Outside of Fall Guys, I’m not a big multiplayer go, so I was surprised to find multiplayer in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is where I have the most fun. There are a lot of interesting modes here, including one where players scramble to get the biggest combo before time runs out. Unfortunately for my opponents, I remembered exactly where in the school stage I could go to get an infinite combo so I ended up embarrassing my teammates. The muscle memory activating and reminding me where it was was a really cool feeling.

There is also a mode where players attempt to accumulate the highest score possible. This is easily the most chill mode because of the simple fact that you can just chill in the pool and work your way up.

My favorite was graffiti. I’ve never been able to do this mode with 10 people and it almost felt like a bizarre version of Splatoon. In this mode, any time you do a trick it changes the color of the item you did the trick off of and your goal is to mark as many things as possible. People can also steal your items by doing a bigger trick off them.

A big piece of advice for this mode, if you know you’re near a hard to reach area like rooftops, get up there. Everyone scrambles for the ground level stuff but if you get yourself on a rooftop you’ll have a wealth of remarkable items all to yourself. Just remember that wall riding also lets you mark entire walls.

All in all, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a lot of fun and a great remake of two beloved classics. For newcomers, it’s a wonderful introduction to the skateboarding franchise. For older fans, it’s a real joy remembering the wealth of knowledge you had stored away for decades waiting for the day you’d need it again.

Vicarious Visions. . Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. 8. A great starting point for newcomers and a refreshing return to the glory days of skateboarding for veterans of the franchise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 does everything you want and a bit more. While customizing stages is a little wonky and the character creator is remarkably boring, the game is an absolute joy to just hop in and play.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.