Ahhh, high definition remakes. Games that studios hope will make a pretty penny off of nostalgia. They’re relatively easy to pump out, and without having to create a game from the ground up, its a guaranteed money maker. Now comes an HD remake of the most prolific extreme sports franchise in history, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Covering locales from the first two games and using game mechanics taken straight from the second game, this should appeal to everyone who played the old games back in the day. But is the novelty worth the price tag, or does the sheen wear off through the rose tint glasses?
I loved the Tony Hawk games when I was younger. I was in my early teens when the franchise started, and I played the first three till my thumbs bled. Especially the first one. Over time, the series started to just go downhill, and eventually it literally went downhill in a very bad entry in the series. The games started to focus more on technique and gimmicks, moving further and further away from the fast, frantic fun of the first few games. I started loosing interest in the series after THUG 2. Some of the changes were nice, but in the end, I over all just missed the fun of the first few. When this HD remake was announced, I was excited as crap. It almost made me want to bust of the n64 and brush up. But, Im glad I didn’t.
The game pretty much starts off exactly like an old school Tony Hawk game. You’re given a choice of levels, and you have to complete objectives in each level to progress and unlock more levels and skate tricks. Pretty standard fare for the series, and they really didnt change much from the original games for this one. Pick a level, and it will tell you what all you have to do, and you have two minutes to do as much as possible, before restarting and trying again. Its a simple formula, really, and that much still hold up well. But the core game mechanics is where things get a little off key. The control scheme is exactly how it used to be. For the players used to the newer games, it can come off as a steep learning curve trying to get the timing down. And compared to newer skating games, the controls are a bit too clunky and slow, but after playing this one and the n64 predecessor the controls are strikingly on key. For purists like me, it’s a welcome choice. But for fans new to the series, I can see why there are some complaints.
The game itself looks great. All the textures have been upgraded, and the character models look pretty on par with most modern games. The classic sound effects are all there, and even the new soundtrack isn’t all bad. There’s a nice selection of classic skaters and a few new ones, and you can even choose your avatar to skate with if none of the skaters strike your fancy. The classic unlockable characters are back too, so if you’ve missed skating as Officer Dick, you’ll be happy to know he makes a return. Some of the animations get a little choppy here and there, and I have ran into some graphical glitches. I even had my character get stuck in an object, making me restart my run. But its all stuff I’m used to growing up in the age of games that had problems like that.
All in all, if you played the first two games in any capacity and liked them, this is a good fifteen bucks to spend. If your looking at playing them and are used to the newer games in the series, prepare for some horrible controls, but a lot of fun. The rose tint glasses cover up a lot of the shortcomings for me, but might not on younger players or those not used to the series. I liked it. It could have been better, but its a great entry that will consume many hours of my Xbox.
4 out of 5