Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Demo – Hands-on Impressions

When I first heard that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was in the works, I was pretty apprehensive. Understandably so. For me, the first 2 games in the Pro Skater franchise are instant classics on the original PlayStation. More than that, I have a good chunk of childhood memories attached to them. The topic of finding hidden skate spots and methods of collecting the SKATE letters were widely discussed among my friends. (Yes, kids. There was once a time when the internet didn’t hold all the secrets of mankind.)

I don’t doubt the quality of modern remakes. There’s actual care that goes into remaking games these days. But still, years of mishandling of the franchise and a couple of failed gimmicks do not inspire confidence. Then again, Vicarious Visions is in charge of this remake. After what they’ve done for Crash Bandicoot, there might be hope for a Tony Hawk revival after all.

About the actual game itself. What can I say? It’s the demo of a slice of gameplay that will appear in the game. Though we don’t see much in terms of content, there is enough here for us to get excited over for the actual game.

The demo is a 2 minute run of the Warehouse level. Players only get to play as Tony Hawk. There are no options to change to other skaters or change boards. What we have is a list of special moves that the player can change up as they see fit. As someone who actually still remembers what Tony Hawk was famous for, I naturally kept the 900 as my default Special. The other moves I swapped around. Just to see if I can pull them off. They weren’t hard to pull off. Keeping the meter up, on the other hand, is a completely different matter.

The controls are very similar to what they were in the original games. Quickly pressing up and down on the D-pad starts a manual. The directional buttons, in combination with Square, Triangle, and Circle activate different moves. Chaining moves together add to a score multiplier. The score builds up the SPECIAL meter. Once the meter is full, Tony is capable of pulling off some flashy moves. These high-risk, high-rewards moves do wonders for your score. And of course, falling flat on your face empties out the meter.

In the end, all you’re doing is just getting a score after a 2-minute session. There’s some money involved, though there’s nothing to actually spend it on. After the session, you can change some settings around. Activate some ‘cheats’. All in all, there’s nothing to do besides starting over again.

The biggest take away from the demo is the fact that we get a preview look at how the game will ultimately control. Apart from the times that Mr. Hawk magically aligns himself to the normals of the surface, the rest felt like a slower version of the PS1 games. I do hope they do something about that. Maybe it’s something that doesn’t need to be fixed. Who knows?

The graphics are nothing to write home about. Hopefully, the other stages show more life than the Warehouse. Although, it is strange to watch Tony Hawk reset himself like a typical video game character. (Mind you, I do come from a time when skateboarders teleport back to their boards.)

At the very least, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 sets expectations to a point that it’ll get more people interested. Though it leaves many a question for what will be included in the final game. I remain hopeful that the finished product is everything we hope for, and more.