Tony Hawk is back and better than ever before! The first 'Pro Skater' video game since 2015 has officially been released and, for those who are fans of the original versions, the nostalgia level is absolutely through the roof. The latest entry in the extremely popular video game series, officially dubbed 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1&2,' is essentially an upgraded collection of the original two games. This iteration takes the series back to its roots while also drastically improving game play and giving it a more modern look. Fans have long awaited a Tony Hawk game of this quality and, in my opinion, their perseverance has definitely been rewarded.
The first 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater' game was released in 1999, followed quickly by a sequel that came out only a year later. Regarded as two of the very best skating games ever released, they were the perfect choices to be re-engineered and bundled together for the latest generation of game consoles. 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1&2' has the same mechanics as the original games (which is a big deal to hardcore fans of the series), along with some much needed modernization in almost every other aspect. These upgrades also include the most obvious change: the graphics. 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1&2' contains absolutely beautiful graphics, making the levels that we all played in the originals feel that much more realistic. This isn't to say that the originals didn't look pretty good for their time, but getting to play through those same stages yet again, now with a much more modern look, is incredibly satisfying. It's definitely one of the better looking games I've played in my lifetime.
You can't talk about any Tony Hawk games without also mentioning the soundtrack. The music included in the Tony Hawk video games have always been viewed as one of the major strong points of the series, due largely to the perfect variety of songs and genres that make the playing experience that much better. Fans will be happy to know that the majority of the songs from the original soundtracks are still in this most recent game; a select few of them didn't make the cut due to licensing agreements. Also added to the collection of games were over 30 new songs, which add a more modernized feel to the originals. However, fans of the original soundtrack who aren't interested in hearing these new songs can simply choose to un-select whatever song they want, making it possible to have the most favorable experience. Developers added another feature allowing players to skip a song at any point in the game, a nice touch to help find that song that you can listen to on repeat while shredding.
The entire original cast of skaters all make their return in this game and have even been re-modeled to match their current ages, which is another key feature. Eight new skaters, including current day pros such as Lizzie Armanto, Nyjah Huston and even Tony Hawk's son Riley, were also added to the game. The return of the 'Create-A-Skater' feature, which makes it so players can make custom skaters in any way they want, is another huge plus. There's also a nice skate shop area, where you can buy items such as new boards, outfits and even some tattoos for your character. The best part? It's all unlocked through in-game currency with no micro transactions necessary. The customization options are overwhelming in the most positive way, leaving players with a ton of options to craft their perfect skater.
At the end of the day, though, the most important aspect of a game is obviously game play, along with the overall feel of the game. Luckily for us all, this game feels even better than the hit classics of two decades ago. Modern updates like online play give 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1&2' endless re-play value, which can keep you entertained forever (given how long this pandemic has gone on, that's another huge plus). Through things like custom parks that you can download from other players (or vice versa), this game is sure to leave you entertained all the way through. I would give 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1&2' a score of 9.25/10; based on the fact I've played these games my entire life, it checked off all the boxes and was everything that I could've asked for in a modern day Tony Hawk game.
- Cameron (@Cameronv1124)