Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review: An Amazing HD Remake That Stays True to its’ Roots
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD brings the classic and addicting Tony Hawk experience to the HD era.
It is hard to believe that the Tony Hawk franchise started way back in 1999. When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater originally came out it had tight controls, great visuals, and a soundtrack that would have you singing songs for days. Over the years the quality of the titles started to lack, and competition arose that forced the franchise to sit out for awhile. Finally, in 2012 fans of the classic skateboarding franchise can relive some of their beloved memories from the first two games in the innovative Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD brings some of the classic levels and design from the first two games, and gives them an HD makeover that stays true to the original formula.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD has a lot going for it. Fans of the series that played the originals will be able to pick up a controller and be able to feel right at home. Classic levels like School 2, Mall, and Warehouse make their return, and the controls have been tweaked just enough to make the game feel modern. The enhanced look sharp and crisp, yet still keep that classic Tony Hawk feel intact.
Level design was always one of the strongest aspects of the older Tony Hawk titles. As the franchise got older the game went to an open world format, but the HD remake keeps the original 2 minute run format for the career mode. Each level has a list of goals that need to be met in order to progress and unlock newer levels and boards. Objectives range from getting a certain score, performing an Ollie over a disappearing hobo and finding a DVD that is concealed somewhere in each level. The variety of objectives keeps the pacing at a good rate, and players do not have to complete every goal before a new level is unlocked. So if there is one goal that has a player wanting to rip their hair out, they can come back to after they have upgraded their skills and give it another go.
There are other ways to play the levels you have unlocked, and range from just skating around levels to learn their layout, collecting different colored orbs by performing certain tricks, and landing tricks to prevent your head from exploding. There is plenty to do in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, and completing everything the game has to offer will take some time.
Nothing has been changed from the original levels. So if you played Tony Hawk on your Playstation or Nintendo 64 till your fingers bleed, then you will know exactly where the secrets are hiding. If you aren’t as familiar with the title you will find a very challenging game that requires a lot of trial and error. To achieve every possible goal in all seven levels will take a lot of practice. All of your hard work pays off in the end. Hitting that perfect run to get an insanely high score, or beating the clock by a few seconds to get the secret DVD hidden in the level is insanely satisfying.
Visually THPS HD is quite stunning compared to the earlier version. Instead of just increasing the resolution of the original title, the game has been completely rebuilt in Unreal Engine 3 using Neversoft’s original code. So the end result ends up being exactly what gamers remember from the early days of the Tony Hawk franchise. The audio soundtrack has been also remixed with the most popular songs from the original titles, and some new songs that fit the game’s atmosphere perfectly. Classics like Powerman’s “When Worlds Collide” and Goldfinger’s “Superman” bring back those memories of trying to hit that perfect session without breaking your combo a single time.
Since Robomodo used the original code from Neversoft, the controls and scoring system are identical to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. This means that reverts are not a part of the game, and chaining your tricks will have to be performed in other ways. Personally, I found having to change my style of play from some of the newer Tony Hawk titles, such as Tony Hawk’s Project 8, to be quite challenging but surprisingly not the least bit frustrating. I couldn’t just sit on the same half pipe and do grab after grab until I hit the score needed. The great thing about THPS in the golden years was the fact that the game forced you to explore the level. Players had to learn where every rail, pipe and gap was located to be able to achieve the highest score possible. In an era of games where it seems like ninety percent of titles are on auto pilot, it was quite refreshing to visit a formula that encourages players to explore and try different methods to complete a goal.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is nearly a perfect remake, but there is one big feature missing that keeps it from being a faultless title. While online play has been added, split screen play has been removed entirely. Playing online does make the game more “modern” but some titles just aren’t as much fun without the other players in the same room, and THPS HD is the prime example. The game type Graffiti was legendary, and watching your friend trying to take down a ridiculous score you set was entertaining because the player could see the frustration on their opponents face. Leader boards on the other hand are a much welcome addition, and having other peoples scores lingering in the top right of the screen will give you motivation to try a run one more time.
If you have been a fan of the Tony Hawk franchise since it’s’ inception, you will want to purchase Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. This title offers a perfect blend of levels from the first two Tony Hawk titles, tight controls that haven’t been tweaked to ensure its originality, a soundtrack that mixes classics from old and new artists and visuals that bring a classic title into this generation of games.