We don’t hand out a whole lot of perfect scores here at Use a Potion, but when a game comes along that absolutely nails every aspect of its design… well… you’ve got to acknowledge that. That’s exactly what Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 did when it launched last year, with the remake of the iconic pair of skateboarding sims making for an exhilarating experience. It managed to embrace everything that made the original titles so great all those years ago, but also added a modern twist to ensure that it held up to current standards. It was an extreme sports masterpiece.
It only feels right that it would get a next-gen upgrade then, with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 now available on both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S (and bringing with it plenty of fancy bells and whistles). How do you improve upon an already ‘perfect’ game, I hear you ask? Well, you make it look prettier, play faster, and load instantly, of course.
Much like our previous ‘next-gen’ reviews, I won’t be exploring the finer details of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s gameplay in this review. I’ve already gone over all of that when I reviewed the PlayStation 4 version of the game last year, which you can check out through this link if you want to know a little bit more about how it feels to play. That being said, I think my conclusion summed it up quite well:
“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is simply perfect, with the satisfyingly brilliant skateboarding mechanics standing the test of time over twenty years on from its original release. Add to that some stunning new visuals, additional gameplay mechanics and challenges, a robust ‘Create a Park’ feature that allows endless possibilities, and, of course, a banging soundtrack, and you’ll quickly find you’re in skateboarding heaven with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Bravo, Activision and Vicarious Visions… you’ve ABSOLUTELY nailed it.”
It’s high praise, right? Well, the experience has only gotten better with the game’s next-gen console release. As a heads up, it’s available as a free upgrade for players who already owned the deluxe edition of the game on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Those who own the standard edition can still upgrade, though there’s a $10 fee to do so (or your local equivalent). It’s a bit of a shame that it wasn’t free to upgrade across the board like Crash 4: It’s About Time was, but hopefully it’s a practice that gamers won’t have to worry about too much in the future.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 bring with it two different game modes to play that give two different experiences: 60fps native 4K mode and 120fps 1080p mode.
Playing at 60fps native 4K looks sublime in-game, with the already dazzling presentation getting the benefit of sharper visuals that bring with them a bit more detail. Admittedly, the 60fps frame rate was a little less impressive than what players would see in other next-gen re-releases given the fact that the game already hit that on last-gen consoles, but the 4K resolution certainly compliments it and helps the stunning environments stand out with a bit more clarity. It just looks really, REALLY good.
The 120fps mode on the other hand feels a lot smoother to play, with every aspect of your character’s manoeuvres and tricks looking silkier than ever. In honesty, I’ve always found that a consistent 60fps frame rate was more than enough for me when it came to gaming, but experiencing what it’s like to have that doubled in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 has been pretty eye-opening.
Despite this, I still found myself sticking to the 60fps 4K mode. Whilst 120fps is certainly impressive, the loss of detail in the shift back down to 1080p was noticeable. I want my games to look stunning on my PlayStation 5 and 60fps was more than smooth enough to enjoy the skateboarding action. Of course, it’s going to come down to player preference, with both modes offering an outstanding means to experience the game. It certainly makes it feel next-gen and those making the move from the PlayStation 4 version of the game will find themselves in awe either way.
Want to know what else the PlayStation 5 version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings that makes it even more of a joy to play? Super-fast loading times. Levels take next to no time to load from the main menu, with restarts during levels occurring almost instantly. Best of all, the game supports Activity Cards too, meaning booting into specific modes or levels is easier (and faster) than ever. It’s perfect for a game like this where you can just smash through some quick sessions here and there, with the feature quickly standing out as one of my favourite things on the PlayStation 5.
Of course, there’s also the added benefit of the haptic feedback when hitting tricks or grinding rails, which all adds to the immersion of each level. The responsive triggers are also utilised when using the shoulder buttons to revert and so forth, but I actually found it a little annoying. Whilst I’ve been a big fan of the feature across other titles, the added resistance broke the flow of my combos at times and saw me making more mistakes than I typically would. Again, it’s going to be something that comes down to player preference, but it was the first instance where I turned the feature off on my PlayStation 5 so far.
You are able to carry over your progress from the last-gen version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 if you had already played the game before, but be warned: you’ll have to upload your save directly from the PlayStation 4 version of the game beforehand if you’re planning on doing so. Don’t be a dummy like me and DELETE the game in anticipation of the PlayStation 5 version releasing, forcing you to download it all over again just to carry on from where you left off…
You’d have thought I would have learned from my mistake after doing the SAME THING with Crash 4: It’s About Time, but nope, I did it again. I’d blame Activision for having a finicky save transfer process, but as the saying goes: ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was already a perfect game, but the slicker visuals, faster loading times, and Activity Card features make it even sweeter than before on the PlayStation 5. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the responsive triggers and paying to upgrade feels a bit mean, but other than that it’s another sublime next-gen upgrade to one of the PlayStation 4’s best games.
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Click here to visit the official website.