26 Mar 2021 8:58 PM +00:00

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 PS5 Review: Anything But Stale(fish)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 on PS5 is, as you'd imagine, the same game it was on PS4 last year – just a bit sharper, and a fair amount faster.

That's no bad thing though, with Activision's latest outing for the Birdman the best way to scrape your virtual knees and ruin your baggy jeans yet.

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Read More: It Takes Two Review: A Much-Needed Comfort in Lonely Times

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Bird Is (Still) The Word

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The "one more run" mentality is in full effect

It's worth remembering that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, despite some tribulations further down the line, remains the biggest name in extreme sports videogames. The initial game likely shifted more consoles, more skateboards, and more pop-punk records than you can shake a backwards baseball cap at.

Perhaps the most impressive thing, then, is that Vicarious Visions has essentially managed to rekindle that love for pure, arcade thrills and a dalliance with the counter-culture that first drew so many in all those years ago. Even the original games' soundtracks are still almost entirely preserved, supplemented by new tracks that fit in seamlessly.

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Every inch of the duology's playgrounds has been meticulously updated, while still retaining their own vibe. Take the School level in THPS 1, for example. If you spent any time there in your younger years, your curiosity (or memory) will see you collecting the letters to spell S-K-A-T-E, and the hidden tape in no time.

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Better Than You Remember

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Reflections get a nice boost on next-gen

That's not to say that it's exactly as you remember it. There are some smart tweaks made that add to the franchise's signature flow, but that were absent from the original titles.

The biggest additions are reverts, allowing players to land and chain into a manual. Add to that the always satisfying spine-transfer, and you can not only grab plenty of points from combos, but you can get around a level to clear objectives more quickly, too.

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Those objectives are essentially the main focus of the game's pair of campaigns. Clear a set number of objectives, and you can move to the next park. Each feels finely tuned so you don't feel stuck for too long, and classic parks like the ever-looping Mall are still just as much of a joy to explore as they were in 1999 – or even last year.

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Fancy Moves

 

That brings us to the next-gen enhancements, and if you've played the game on last-gen consoles, there are a few neat tricks from the ol' Birdman to enjoy.

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While we didn't get the chance to test 120 FPS support, we can confirm that the game is a buttery smooth 4K at 60 FPS. There are also more granular changes like sharper shadows and reflections.

Perhaps the biggest improvement over last-gen, though, are the loading times. Not only does the PS5 version take full advantage of the console's SSD to ensure near-instant load times, but it also uses the activity cards to let you jump straight to the action.

Finally, Dualsense support is included, and while haptic feedback is understated for the most part, it really comes into its own when grinding along a rail.

The Verdict

If you're yet to play this remake on any platform, it can't be an easier recommendation. If you've already kickflipped your way through it, it's still an utter joy to play.

Between pure nostalgia, smart technical upgrades and a wealth of content, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the best sports game of next-gen so far.

Just be careful out there.

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5/5

Review code provided by the publisher

Reviewed on PlayStation 5