The year of 2020 was one filled with remakes and remasters, from huge titles like Final Fantasy VII and Demon’s Souls to more surprising games like Destroy All Humans. But for me there was only one remake that I could pick, the one that has brought the most nostalgic joy to my wizened and bitter heart. Ladies and gentlemen, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 was fucking amazing.
I’ve played hundreds of hours of Tony Hawk in my lifetime. Ollies, grinds, grabs, flips and bails were an essential part of my childhood along with a kickass soundtrack that helped introduce me to bands like Rage Against the Machine. I especially know the first two games inside and out. They were rarely out of my Playstation for more than a day or two at a time, and I was pretty bloody good at them, too. I could rack up the points like a pro. Or at least, I think I was good. It’s not like I could check out Youtube to compare myself to other people at the time.
The first thing my hit me like a runaway skateboard to the face was just how well my muscle memory has carried over to the remakes, making it clear how faithfully the developers stuck to the original physics. They used the PS2 era games as their references points and it shows. There’s a feel to how the Tony Hawk games play that’s absolutely vital to the series, and the reason the Robomodo attempts at bringing the franchise back was because they failed to capture that feeling. That’s not the case here, and with inclusions like the revert from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, Tony Hawk 1+2 feels like the entire franchise distilled into its best and most fundemental elements.
Without a doubt this remake takes the top spot of my ranking of the best Tony Hawk games of all time. Perhaps it’s just the fact that it’s giving me a nostalgia orgasm, but I think Vicarious Visions have not only created a game that fans can be pleased with but that new gamers in 2020 can become addicted to as well. It nails exactly what a remake can be -faithful to the original while not being afraid to change things for the better when needed.