Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Review

By Alex Rubens - Posted Jul 18, 2012

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD brings back classic levels from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 and gives them a much needed graphical upgrade. They play just as well as they did upon original release and fit perfectly with online multiplayer.

The Pros
  • Beautiful HD graphics
  • New tracks fit perfectly with the already killer soundtrack from the originals.
  • Online multiplayer is fun and works well
The Cons
  • Online lobby system is confusing

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review:

With HD remakes on the rise, developers are struggling to bring back that old-school feel with new-age graphics and controls. Studio Robomodo had the insurmountable task of recreating Neversoft's classics Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, translated for today's gamers with an all-new soundtrack and online play. Thankfully, they’ve done a beautiful job with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.

 

 

Having a Downhill Jam?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD takes favorites from THPS1, THPS2, and even a level from Downhill Jam. Warehouse is the first of seven levels in the career mode and one of the fan-favorites. In typical Pro Skater fashion, completing different goals on each level will earn you cash that can be used to upgrade your skater’s gear and stats. The levels that are taken from THPS1 have new goals as they had significantly less than the levels from THPS2, which are exact remakes, so don’t fret, you can still make that insane trick run on School II without issue.

You’ll need to complete a certain amount of goals on each level to progress to the next, with more completed goals needed on each progressing level. This starts off as a simple task, but some of the goals on the later levels can be extremely difficult to master, requiring dozens of runs to accomplish them all. It’s easy enough to string together multiple goals in one run but most of the later goals are difficult enough that you would accomplish them all individually before finding a way to do it in one run.

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Back + A = Quick Restart

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD brings back all the completionist tendencies that I developed when playing the original games. That isn’t a bad thing though, as you will need the money earned from completing goals to level up your character’s stats. I found myself constantly hitting the quick restart button because I missed one aspect of a goal or didn’t do it in the timely manner that I wanted to. Some of the later levels require a great level of skill to get a high score on, so having that upgraded stat bonus helps make things a little easier.

Introduced in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, you are also able to purchase new moves and customize your skater’s move set. These moves don’t come cheap and you’re limited by the number of slots that you can customize, but it is still helpful to be able to assign moves to a specific button combo that is easier to remember than the default combo.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD

Return to Lobby

Perhaps one of the most welcomed features of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is online multiplayer. You can hop online with up to three friends and skate to your heart’s content in Free Skate. There’s also Graffiti (which requires you to tag areas of the level, the person with the highest score for that object gets the point at the end of the round), Big Head mode (where you must complete tricks to keep your big head from exploding), and, of course, Trick Attack (your classic 2-minute showdown to get as high of a score as possible). You can choose any of the classic (and some new) skaters or you can take your Xbox Live Avatar online to compete against your friends.

Online play is fun and there isn’t any noticeable lag, but the lobby system is confusing and flawed. Each match must be hosted by one player who makes all of the mode and level decisions. This player also returns the group of players to the lobby after a match. Once the match is over for the other players, the only option available to them is Exit Game. It is worded in a confusing manner, as people will instinctually hit A to move onto the next match, but that actually kicks them out to the main online menu. The other players are supposed to just wait for the host to return them all to the lobby, but there isn’t anything that tells them that. It isn’t as intuitive as it should be and will be a large misstep for the online play if it isn’t fixed.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD

Soundtrack To My Life

If you haven’t played the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater recently, be prepared for a few runs of failure before you re-learn how the game works. It isn’t that there’s anything wrong with the controls, the game is as faithful to the original releases as possible, it’s just that the style of gameplay takes some getting used to. It took me three or four runs through Warehouse before it all came back to me and everything became muscle memory again.

The Pro Skater series has always been known for its great musical assortment and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is no exception. There’s plenty of new tracks for the HD release like “Flyentology (Cassettes Won’t Listen Remix)” by El-P featuring Trent Reznor and “We the People” by Lateef the Truthspeaker, but don’t fret, classics like “Superman” by Goldfinger and “No Cigar” by Millencolin are there too. These new tracks fit right in with the classic tracks, you’ll hardly notice a difference as you’re cruising around Venice Beach.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD

Radical

Despite the confusing online menus, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a near-perfect HD remake of the classic series. It is somewhat disappointing that Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 levels will be DLC, but there’s more than enough content to justify the purchase without them. With endless hours of online multiplayer and constant leaderboard score tracking, this beautiful remake takes the cake for classic re-releases and will have you grinding for hours.