Basically 21 years later, a new Tony Hawk demo comes out, and this time its for the 3rd Remake. Tony Hawk 2x on the original xbox first, then the HD Remaster on the 360/PS3 back in 2012, now another one in 2020. As the 2012 HD Remaster was basically panned as utter trash because the physics were “off”. Vicarious Visions were tasked with providing a from the ground up remake of the first two games.
Right off the bat, you are treated to the Unreal engine’s beauty with the start screen following characters staking around with the camera hugging the ground like the Skate series. Which just brings out the highly detailed textures of clothing and shoes. And as the start screen fades in, Goldfinger’s Superman starts playing, which is the quinnessential song for the Tony Hawk series, and is embedded into every man, woman, and child who played the game for countless hours. Forget the fact that Superman is actually the second song in the original game’s soundtrack, but hey, if it can be the name of the Tony Hawk documentary movie coming out next week, I’ll give it as the game’s “main theme”. The demo also brings in Rage Against The Machine’s Guerilla Radio, which was the main theme for the sequel.
The Demo is just the first level from the first game. Just 2 minutes in the Warehouse is all you get, but honestly that is enough. Sadly there are no objectives to complete, just try to rack up a sick score and rinse and repeat. Nothing really more needs to be said about it, since everyone knows exactly what the level is, but it is interesting to note that there are many more little additions to the level that makes it seem like we might get expanded unlockable areas. A simple door being slightly ajar to peer into the outside world, or a construction area just out of reach makes my mind wander “is this a new area?!” just like it would when I was a kid.
And that’s the beauty of this remake, it brings the nostalgia of those original titles, hammering on multiple buttons at the speed of light to cram as many tricks in as possible without bailing out because one just got too greedy. Being able to take the couple of decades of games into account, they have expanded a lot on the original two games as well. Adding in detrimental gameplay mechanics like Tony 3’s Revert and flatland trick combo system along with things like holding the shoulder buttons to allow for modifying into Nollie and Fakie tricks. While I never really cared enough to really get in too deep into those modifiers, it’s nice that it’s there.
What really caught my eye, and ears where the little touches to the game. As Tony is the only playable character in the demo, we won’t know for sure until the game comes out, but it seems as each character is individually voiced and is voice acted by their real life person. When something goes wrong, you can hear Tony actually groan in agony, or get excited and yell “YEAH!”. Same with the animations, which were all canned animations back in the original games, but now there seem to be much more fluidity to them and small little nuances that just add to the overall realism of the game. Coupled with the fact that the lighting really brings to life the level, with dropped shadows of skylights bringing in the afternoon sun, and the shimmer of light on a standing puddle of water in the corner, the graphics just pop a bit more vibrantly.
Once the two minute time limit is up, you are given a final score, with your best trick combo, and some other interesting information like longest grind and manual, and what’s really neat is XP that you accumulate. That all gets added into your own personal profile, that makes it look like you can customize like a multiplayer profile page, with logos and pictures and colors. You’ll also level up with that XP and earn money which again, seems to be the way to unlock more gear and other customizations. It all seems fairly neat, but might only be really cosmetic in nature. The decks that you unlock are tied to completing challenges in the game, which are all greyed out and locked in the demo. I’m assuming it’s things like gap lists and doing specific tricks on certain parts of a level.
With only two weeks before the game officially comes out, this is a decent look at the game, but really is just so small that playing the demo for about 5 minutes is all you really need. It gives you a bite sized taste of the actual game with nothing much more to give you a real solid look at what is new. It’s a prettier version of the original level and with lots of customization and addition from the other games in the series, most of which is all locked behind greyed out menus. It’s necessary to allow those who wondered if the game was going to be a real remake treated with care, or one that is just shoved out the door… it seems to be handled with reverence for what made the original games so special to so many people. I’m pumped up to go skate through this game in a couple weeks.