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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 PlayStation 4 Game Review

The king of arcade skating returns.

Reviewed by on Sep 09, 2020
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Activision and Vicarious Visions latest remaster, Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 and 2, perfectly captures the height of arcade skating gameplay in this collection containing the first two games in one expertly crafted package.

In recent years, Activision has delivered on some superb remasters. From the tough-as-nails Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing to bringing back Insomniac Games’ classic PS1 platformer series Spyro in the Reignited Trilogy, to now Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 returning to the golden age of skateboarding games. Luckily, Pro Skater 1 and 2 rises to the best of them and is one of the most polished and entertaining sports games you can play right now.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2  Trailer



Revisiting a Classic

The Tony Hawk series has had so many entries that it is tough to keep track, but one of the things Pro Skater 1 and 2 does so strongly is returning to the basics of what fans loved in the first place. Gone is the personal storytelling of Tony Hawk’s Underground and the open-world shenanigans of American Wasteland, but returning is the pure and addictive stages of the original two Pro Skater games. All you need here is the soul of fun skating, gratifying tricks, and clear goals for every stage that see your skills grow with every run. The stages here have been brought back in their full glory and as a clear reminder of why these levels are still remembered so fondly today. The opening Warehouse level where you begin your skateboarding journey alone has so many ways to interact with the environment and learn your first tricks. The bite-sized but rewarding runs that see you racking up points, grabbing collectibles, and performing more daring stunts make you want to play again and again to master everything, a feeling that has become tougher to find in recent years outside of multiplayer games.

That isn’t to say there haven’t been a few changes though, tricks like the revert and wall plant from later games show up here to enhance the original stages in small but satisfying ways that were not possible in the original. The Create-A-Skater and Park modes let you place your unique spin on the gameplay. I tried to create myself as a skater, but the preset face options that you can pick are fairly limited so I wasn’t able to quite nail the look I was going for. Luckily, you can unlock new outfits, tattoos, board parts, and more for your character as you level up so there is plenty of customization everywhere else. The new level-up system gives the game a nice sense of progression and more goals to keep playing outside of just finishing the stages. Even on runs where you might not complete a bunch of goals toward completion, you still feel like you are making progress little by little toward the unlocks you want. Another thing the game deserves some props for is the inclusion of both online and couch co-op multiplayer, so you can skate with your friends at home or online. It is rare to see a big game include local co-op nowadays. 

The Warehouse is one of the best first levels in gaming.The Warehouse is one of the best first levels in gaming.Courtesy of Activision

Bridging Old and New

From the moment I booted up the game to the sound of Rage Against the Machine’s "Guerilla Radio" and saw the graffiti soaked menus, I knew the famous skater culture that the original games helped spread in the late 1990s was back strong. One of the most iconic parts of any Tony Hawk game is the soundtrack, and a majority of the original games’ old songs make a return here. It is pretty impressive that only a few tracks from the original had to be taken out. Grinding rails to Primus or picking up the S.K.A.T.E tokens to Powerman 5000 just feels right, and if there is a song you don’t like you can customize the playlist as you see fit.

As faithful as the game’s atmosphere is, all the unlockable skaters from the original game have been updated to their current 2020 ages, with some new skaters joining the roster, many of which grew up playing the original games themselves. This feels like a great way to honor the pioneers of skateboarding and how far they have come, while also recognizing the next generation. Unfortunately, Spider-Man who was playable in the original Pro Skater 2 did not make a return for the remake. There are a couple of nods to the current day throughout the stages and customization, with the School level from the first game showing off a sign indicating that class is dismissed due to COVID-19 as well as the ability to equip a face mask onto your character.

Original vs Modern graphics.Original vs Modern graphics.Courtesy of Activision

Final Thoughts

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 is the most tightly wrapped bundle of fun I’ve experienced in a game since Super Mario Odyssey. The easy to learn, but hard to master controls and tricks keep you playing, and the quick runs make it a great game to just pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. Its purity is so welcome today, without any bells and whistles that feel unnecessary or drag the experience down. The original feel of the arcade skating gameplay is here but refined for the modern age and the fact that only a few things have been tweaked here and there goes to show just how ahead of their time the original Pro Skater games were. The visuals are beautiful at times, and the music glues the game together. Pro Skater 1 and 2 is an easy recommendation and is surely one of the best remakes of the generation. 

The game's lighting makes some levels come to life.The game's lighting makes some levels come to life.Courtesy of Activision


  • Pristine arcade skating gameplay
  • Tons of levels to master
  • Soundtrack perfectly captures classic Pro Skater magic


  • Some more Create-A-Skater presets would be nice
  • Create-A-Park items are locked behind levelling up

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 Game Rating: 5

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 Box ArtThe Game's Box Art

Available Now for PS4, Xbox One and PC

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