Tony Hawk: Pro Skater HD

By Ben Reuter

Looking at what Tony Hawk has become today it can be hard to remember the original game kickflipped sports video games and paved the way for what is now known as “extreme sports games.” Without Tony Hawk Pro Skater’s attention to combo building and over the top tricks we probably wouldn’t have SSX among other classics.

At last, Activision is taking a step back and revisiting the Tony Hawk franchise after Tony Hawk: Ride’s crashing failure. They are going back to the beginning and giving it an HD overhaul while they are at it.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD takes the best of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1, 2 and ties them into an almost complete package.

The gameplay you remember is still killer good. Can you remember your perfect run on Warehouse where you were nailing each trick, keeping that combo rolling and collected S-K-A-T-E? If you’re fingers aren’t too rusty you’ll be back at it in no time. If you are looking to relive these simple pleasure of a long gone era of gaming, this will be enough for you.

Activision in some respects didn’t go as all out as they should have. Major errors would include the removal of the custom park editor. It seems like a no brainer. I want to see my friend’s rad skate park and then go from that to skating in a park created by Tony Hawk himself. This is a glaring exception.

In fact, customization has become a huge part of gaming today. It gives players a sense of identity in the online world. Back in the late-90’s, the most we had was a character creator. Which is also absent from the HD remake. But you can skate as your Xbox Avatar…

A few other minor exclusion would be a few tracks here and there from THPS 1 and 2. Also, a few old school skaters have been replaced with more modern skaters. Though, for the most part your ska-rose-tinted-glasses should stay intact.

Activision did include an online multiplayer mode that is entertaining, but doesn’t make up for the lack of split screen fun. The multiplayer is simple and it all takes place online. Graffiti and Trick Attack return and the new mode added is Big Head Elimination. It’s quite silly in its execution. Players need to string together tricks in order to deflate their skater’s inflating head. Can’t keep up with your skater and POP! It’s frantic and a refreshing take on a head-to-head trick-off.

While THPSHD my not offer the overhaul of features we expect from a remake it still remains as fun as it was in the 90s. This is more of a testament to its buttery smooth control and approachable learning curve the original game established. Activision should have done more with this classic and it’s a shame some of the features left out may come as DLC. THPSHD serves more as a greatest hits collection from previous Tony Hawk games, but not as a true HD remake of the classic series.

3 out of 5