Just like an old pair of Vans with the toes worn through, there’s something so comfortable and beloved about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It’s a series that saw me through my formative years, high scores, and “Superman” by Goldfinger, the backdrop of my summer breaks. Rolling down the ramp into the Warehouse, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s first level, is a special moment, and using it for the game’s demo is sure to speak to everyone’s first experience with the series, provided they were there at ground zero.
Though I’ve never found the layout of Warehouse to be that particularly logical, with the central half-pipe’s lip grind leading to a weird, awkward chokepoint where you’ll nine times out of ten smack into the one grind rail in the building, it’s clearly a faithful recreation of the original. This alone has me excited to see other famous levels remade to meet this new standard, from Hangar to Philadelphia. It’s a shame the demo itself doesn’t let you take a true, two-minute run complete with objectives, but even this smallest of tastes has my nostalgia bells ringing, remembering the countless hours spent passing the PlayStation controller back and forth with every imperfect run.
There are plenty of options that are bound to please the purists who’d been kicking since before reverts became a series staple in the third game, the game offers several different control schemes, including the classic layout from when the game originally released. I hope the modifier options in the menu carry over to the final game, which let the player toggle cheats like ‘no bails’ or ‘perfect grinds’ on the fly to pull off those impossible combos and have a bit of fun with the game when not flying through sky box offices for secret tapes.
Though it’s only a sliver of what to expect when the game releases, it probably says something that I’ve made several runs at the demo, exploring each recreated inch of the space I skated as a kid. There’s inherent replayability to the earlier games of the Tony Hawk’s series that has managed to transcend the advancements of video game technologies and still holds true in the face of arguably better skateboarding games that can’t seem to capture that same feeling from when we were kids. Vicarious Visions has done a beautiful job at recreating everything, from Tony himself to the environments which look tremendous with the game’s far improved lighting and visual fidelity.
Even a casual browse of the parts of the menu that weren’t locked out in the demo had the dormant skater rat in me keen to unlock all of the decks, which appear to be locked behind challenges that’ll appear in the final version. It’s all of the small things like that they’re including that help makes Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 one that’s going to be hard to miss in the twilight hours of this generation.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 releases for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 4.