Hands on with the Tony Hawk HD remake

hands on with the tony hawk hd remake thpshd downhilljamrockrampIt is hard to overstate the importance to gaming that Tony Hawk Pro Skater has had since it was released in August of 1999. It wasn’t the first extreme sports game, but it was one of the best at the time, and is considered a classic–and with good reason. 

Beyond the friendships that were made (and possibly ended) at the hands of Tony Hawk, it helped to forge an entire genre and sub-category for sports games, and without it, many titles would never have seen the light of day. It was the right game at the right time, and created a yardstick by which all other games–at least on the PlayStation One–were judged. The controller scheme alone is still considered something of the default scheme for any board-based game. Maybe you can argue that the same scheme is simply the logical way to play games like that, but then you still have to give Tony Hawk credit for doing it right 13 years ago.

hands on with the tony hawk hd remake thps1 vs thpshd comparison

So with the current trend of re-releasing older titles with a fresh new coat of HD paint showing no signs of abating, it makes sense to remake and reissue such a seminal hit, which is exactly Activision is planning.

Originally developed by Neversoft, which has since been acquired by Activision, the HD remake of Tony Hawk Pro Skater is being handled by developer Robomodo, the group responsible for Tony Hawk: Shred and Tony Hawk: Ride. But despite the change in developer, the game is being built using the original Neversoft code, so it feels just like you will remember it—well, for the most part. Most of us remember being godlike in the game, which may be a result of nostalgia tinted memories more than reality.

The remake will bring seven of the original levels back: Warehouse, School 2, Mall, Phoenix, Hangar, Marseilles, and Venice. The seven were chosen by fans following a tweet last year by Tony Hawk himself, asking for fans’ picks. Each level will feature a new HD look, but retain the same design and layout that you will remember. The levels will also include the same goals and objectives the original game had, including a few new ones. Things like the classic “collect the S-K-A-T-E” icons returns, as does the hidden tape—although it has been updated to a DVD. If you want to further update it in your head, you are free to imagine that it is actually a blu-ray.

The soundtrack, which played a major role in the original, will also be a focus of the remake and will be split evenly between classics from the original and new tracks for the game. There will also be an online multiplayer with five modes, but those modes are being kept under wraps—with the exception of S-K-A-T-E.

But all of that is just the gravy. The graphics and animations were a big part of what made the game what it was, but they were also secondary to the actual gameplay. So that begs the question—will it be any fun?

hands on with the tony hawk hd remake thpshd koston fingerflipAfter having the chance to go hands on with Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD at GDC, I can firmly say yes. The game looks great, and the graphics are current-gen. They won’t surpass some of the newest games with multi-million dollar budgets and massive teams dedicated the look of the game, but they do a more than respectable job. In the original game ramps were just curves, but in the new version they are detailed with wood grain and surfaces scarred from skate wheels. The grime of the original presented as a darker color is now intricately detailed to give you a real sense of where you are. The look has been so improved that you probably won’t recognize the levels at first—at least until you skate them. One of the things that made those levels so memorable was the design and layout, and that has remained unchanged.

The controls are much as you remember them, but are more responsive than ever before. Playing Tony Hawk is like riding a bike for the first time in years—you never actually forget, but it will take a few bloody runs to get back your skills. Once you do though, the game stands up.

When Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is released this summer on XBL and PSN for around $15 (probably $14.99, but the pricing has yet to be officially confirmed), it won’t just be a great re-release, it will be a great extreme sports game regardless of the medium. It may not have the content or the insane detail to graphics that recently released games like SSX have, but you may be surprised at how well it compares, even 13 years later.

Product Review

LG's new V40 has 5 cameras, but ThinQ twice before you buy

The LG V40 ThinQ has five cameras -- three on the back and two on the front. This makes it one of the most versatile camera phones LG has released to date, and it’s creatively fun to use. Read on for more in-depth analysis.
Mobile

Pixel 3 XL vs. Pixel 2 XL vs. Pixel XL: Which XL is best for you?

A Google Pixel XL is the best phone to get if you want the perfect Android experience on a big screen. However, with the release of the Pixel 3 XL, you have more choices then ever. Which Pixel XL should you buy?
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Mobile

Mate 20 range now includes new 20 X model with huge 7.2-inch display

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Gaming

Epic Games sues ‘Fortnite’ YouTuber creators over cheating software

Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against two YouTube users for their role in promoting cheating and hacking tools for Fortnite via a YouTube channel and personal website. As of now, the channel is still live.
Gaming

Terrifying clowns try to kill you in this teaser for ‘PUBG’ Halloween event

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds seems to be getting a frightening Halloween event. In a brief teaser, we get a glimpse of two masked assailants, creepy nurses, and an utterly terrifying clown that looks something like Pennywise.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Gaming

Huawei thinks its Mate 20 X is better than the Nintendo Switch

Huawei positioned its Mate 20 X, a gaming-centric smartphone, as a Nintendo Switch killer, calling it "the best portable gaming machine." The Mate 20 X has better design specs than the Switch, but it also comes with a steep price.
Gaming

Eat your way to a limited-edition Xbox One X in new Taco Bell contest

If you like the idea of a limited-edition Xbox One X that makes Taco Bell's famous "bong" sound every time it starts up, then you need to enter a new contest launched by the fast-food chain and Microsoft without delay.
Gaming

You can preload ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ soon, and you definitely should

Red Dead Redemption 2's launch is quickly approaching. If you're planning on buying a digital version, you should keep in mind that the file size is roughly 90GB. Thankfully, you can preload the game starting October 19
Gaming

These guns will literally blow away the competition in Black Ops 4's Blackout

Finding a good weapon in Black Ops 4's Blackout mode is hard, especially when there are so many options. Whether you like to get up close or keep some distance between you and your enemies, here are the best guns in Blackout.
Gaming

Wings on the bus: ‘Fortnite’ Battle Bus now sends you to your death even faster

A new update for Fortnite: Battle Royale has made the starting Battle Bus significantly faster, meaning you can get killed by a better player even faster than you could up until now.
Gaming

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.
Gaming

Dinner is cancelled! How to keep Call of Duty's zombies from eating your brain

New to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies mode and don't know how to succeed? We've got the tips you need to blast away at the undead and keep yourself alive for longer, even without other players helping.