The geometry of each level is fundamentally unchanged from the original games, though the new graphics look phenomenal. Rather than fix what isn’t broken, this new coat of paint brings out what we always knew was there. This is the Warehouse as you always imagined but that the PS1 just wasn’t capable of rendering in 1999.
If you look closely, there have been a few modern twists added to many of the games’ classic locales, though. Drones buzz around Downhill Jam and the Bullring. The video screens in the School hint at a closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And the Mall has now obviously been abandoned for quite some time, not unlike most malls nowadays. There are even new goals to complete on the original Tony Hawk Pro Skater levels that fit in pretty well. With the addition of tons of new challenges and a leveling system, this is easily on par with any modern release.
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2020
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, XBO
Developer: Vicarious Visions
This mix of the old school and the new extends to the roster of skaters as well. All of the favorites from the first two games return for this remaster, but look like they do now, not 20 years ago. And there are plenty of popular new skaters to choose from as well.
If you get tired of playing with the included skaters, you can always create your own, and even create new levels for them skate around. But while I appreciate these options, these aren’t the most extensive creation tools in a modern game. I got bored of exploring user-created skate parks pretty quickly, but maybe some more interesting levels will pop up in the future.
20 years later, both these games’ soundtracks are still regarded as two of the best ever. Activision deserves a ton of credit for working through the licensing issues to get all but three of the songs from the original games into this collection. And frankly, I didn’t really miss the songs that didn’t make it.