We might live in a time filled with remakes, re-imaginings, and reinventions, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all as good as the originals they mimic. In fact, if anything, many of them are subpar. What’s that about? Well, it’s about walking the fine line between nostalgia and doing something modern and current. When it comes to video games, this becomes even more pronounced because expectations often go beyond a mere story or gameplay concept and starts to venture into feelings and other ephemera.
One of the best series of sports games from the 2000s, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater titles were a cultural phenomenon in their own right. Remaking these games makes perfect sense even if it doesn’t result in a perfect approximation. But, again, how do you remake something that many people consider the greatest ever made?
If you’re developer Vicarious Visions, you largely stick to the script established in the last game and move forward from there. Sure, there are a lot of new modern conveniences in the game here and there but, at its core, it is the same quality game we got back on the PS2.
The most obvious change is, of course, the graphics. Utilizing the Unreal Engine, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a visual feast if not still beholden somewhat to the past. Nothing looks jarring or out of place and, in fact, in many ways you could fool yourself into thinking this is the original game with a fancy graphics pack. That is to say that layouts haven’t changed and everything should be familiar to gamers who were raised on the original iterations.
Yet this is where remakes can get in trouble with gamers. How do you keep older gamers happy while bringing in new players? Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 does a great job of making itself accessible to players who might not have ever heard of the series before. That’s a great thing, too, because more recent installments in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater family have received a less-than-positive receptions from gamers and critics alike. What better way to introduce a gamer to skating and alternative sports games than with one of the best ever made?
And, really, that’s the best way to look at this game. Critics are comparing the latest Tony Hawk with more recent games, but a fresh view is appropriate here. For a couple of titles that helped introduce the world to skateboards and Tony Hawk, this modern remake could perhaps breathe new life into the genre. It’s not like remakes can’t go wrong. After all, look at the hastily put together Resident Evil 3 Remake made earlier this year. Not only did the game fail to live up to the original but, from some standpoints, it cut out a lot of content that the original game had in it. But so far, this new look into the world of skateboarding has been a positive for both old and new fans alike.