Before this Remake of Tony 1 & 2 got announced a couple months ago, I actually played through the original three games…. In fact I played through the first game multiple times on different consoles. The original Playstation version, then the Dreamcast, and also the Xbox version. I kinda burnt myself out on the games, because I actually did what I never did before, complete each game 100% with every character in the game, even the secret characters and Created skater. By the end of my journey I pretty much have every spot memorized in the game. So coming to this Remake, I didn’t know if I ruined my experience by playing through everything before.
Luckily, I didn’t burn myself out completely. I did however, basically memorize every objective in the game, but there is more to these games than just objectives. The Remake takes the levels and skaters from the first two Tony Hawk games, and gives them a larger scale and feel due to the increase in resolution and one of my favorite changes, which is the appearance of the levels. Most of the levels look like they’ve just been left to rot for the last 20+ years. They don’t look like they’ve been taken care of for the most part, a couple like the school and the competitions looks tended after, but the majority of the levels feel like they’ve been abandoned to nature. Standing pools of water, moss covered ledges, graffiti everywhere. Venice Beach looks like Judgement Day just happened. It’s a stark contrast to the cleaner style of the original games, but it makes it feel a bit different while still remaining faithful to the first two games in the series.
Remaining faithful is really the best way to describe this remake. It feels fresh while keeping the feelings associated with the originals intact. Changing the time of day in Burnside and making it a rainy evening competition gives it an almost alternate dimension vibe to it. The stages still have the same small hidden areas like School II’s unlockable gymnasium opening its doors if you grind the right roll call rail at a specific time, or France’s competition having a hidden underground area accessible only if you knock down the tree in front of it. Nothing has changed in the way these levels are presented other than a cosmetic overlay, but it’s significant. Every level feels unique to the new remake, but also familiar enough to bring back those nostalgic feelings.
The objectives were the one thing I was really worried about after I completed the original games earlier in the year. I feared that I would blaze through the game because I already memorized how to complete all the tasks. The good news is that this remake actually adds new objectives on top of the old ones. Things like now collecting 5 hydrants or getting floating hard hats in a level. The downside is a couple different things. First, the new objectives are only collectables. Get five of this, or get five of that. Each “Collect 5 of these” are just different floating objects and can be entirely interchangeable and don’t really have much to do with the actual level itself. Secondly, these new objectives are only for the first Pro Skater game. There are no new objectives for Tony Hawk 2’s levels. And last, they can only be completed a single time. Once you do it, which requires almost no skill at all, you did it, and they usually are all in the same area, so a single 2 minute run will let you complete the task within about 30 seconds.
The game is split into “Skate Tours”, Each game is separated into its own tour, and each level within that tour is unlocked in order, to give you proper progression, just like replaying those two games. But where the originals required you to play through all the levels and objectives for each skater, this remake only makes you complete the objectives a single time. It doesn’t matter which skater you choose, so pick your favorite play through the game a single time and you are done. It took me 4.5 hours to complete the entire game, both tours, every objective, every stat, all gold medals collected for a single skater.
Gone are the floating money that was introduced in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 that allowed you to purchase stat points, it’s now just another floating collectible icon. So now, it’s just take each skater and get the floating stat points in each level. Most levels have 3 or 4 stats to collect, and the competitions have 2 each.. Once you collect all the stats for a skater, you unlock their skater movie, which was the real highlight back in 1999 when you couldn’t just look up skate videos online. I unlocked the videos for both Chad Muska and Rodney Mullen, two of my favorite stakers. Sadly these are all old clips, most of which have been featured in the original games before, so it’s nothing new. I’m assuming the only new footage would be from the new skaters in the game, ones who I really don’t have much of a desire to play as. Tony Hawk has some new footage he shot for promotional material for the game, like his last 900 he’ll ever do. It’s nice to see, but it’s been shown other places before the release of this game.
A really interesting idea is that as you progress and complete extra challenges the game has for each skater, you gain XP and money and unlock more and more boards and clothing. These unlocks can be purchased in a skate shop menu for money that you accumulate in the game, but seems to be only usable by a created skater. I can’t change the way Jamie Thomas looks and give him some dope looking new board, he can only use the ones he’s allowed to. Each main character has several outfits they can wear. Most are recreations from the original games and a newer modern one. Since I got the deluxe edition of the game, I got a couple different special edition outfits, like Tony Hawk’s 80’s attire, with a beach blonde hairdo. It’s fun to see something new and special, but doesn’t matter one bit in the actual game.
Music is a whole huge part of the Tony Hawk games, luckily they got most of all the original songs crammed into this game, with a smattering of new modern ….uh… I’m not really sure what this music is. Some is rap, some seems like just words being spoken over beats… Honestly, most of this type of music baffles me. Lots of modern songs like to use kids voices singing over the chorus, which always seemed off putting. Some like to just use an old musical piece and say the same phrase over and over again like it’s something unique and talented. It’s not. The original songs have style and flavor to them that really meshes well with the game, that not just brings back nostalgia, but also keeps in line with the rebel style of Skating. Modern music just shows how little talent people who are popular now have. Do yourself a favor and just go into the sound options and just disable all the newer music.
There is a whole create a skater/park editor, which all these unlockable parts and cosmetic items can be purchased to be used, but I never was one for that stuff. The online modes here are also something I have little to no desire to ever even launch, expect to get complete challenges and get extra money drops I would by just trying it. These sorts of additions to the base game hold a lot of weight for other people, but it’s never interested me in the slightest.
Overall, this is absolutely the best version of these first two games to play. With multiple versions, and now a third remake of the first two games, it’s really hard to recommend anything else unless you are that diehard fan who likes to play originals before remakes. If you take the route I did, you might find yourself burning out on the series, and not get as much out of this remake as you’ll blaze through it like I did in a single sitting or two. It’s a fantastic game, but I wish it was more than just the first two games, adding the third and fourth games also would have really added much more value to this game. But, Tony himself has said that he wants to do a remake for 3 and 4 if this game does well enough. And it seems already it has pretty much universal praise.