Playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is bitter sweet. You see, it’s an HD remake of some early Tony Hawk stuff, and that’s good. It’s also the best Tony Hawk game to come out in years, and that’s bad… Not bad for us, bad for the franchise. Bad for the franchise because THPS HD is irrefutable proof that the line has ended, and those bad men who would squeeze our heart strings like utters milking our souls for money must stop and turn their greedy hands elsewhere.
Graphically Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD looks better than the source material, just like it’s supposed to. THPS HD wont blow your mind with its photo realistic images but looks pretty good.
You aren’t reading this review to find out about the HD part of that title are you? You want to know about the gameplay and the stages and stuff right? Thought so. The stage select of Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD plays like a PlayStation greatest hits collection. Downhill Jam, The Mall, Hanger, Venice Beach; only the very best made the cut and they are all complete with the fluidity and frustration we remember so fondly. It’s both infuriating and nostalgiarific when you kick flip too close to an object and end up on your face or your spinning grab ends just a little too close to a wall and your huge point combo move ends in rag doll physics. In the end, any mechanical problems, clipping issues, and/or strange physics are not only forgiven but relished. These things just go with THPS, they are part of the experience and I for one am glad they weren’t fixed.
A big part of the nostalgia factor is in the music. The first time ‘Superman’ came on I swear I almost swatted Boomer (my friend’s dog who died about 13 years ago) away from the nonexistent bag of chips on the floor. It was the closest thing to time travel I’ve experienced… while sober.
If you look back fondly at those days of your youth lost to Tony and his merry band of skaters, or have never played a really great skating game, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is worth the 1200 Microsoft Points. For the rest of us who have been jaded, betrayed, by the less than awesome skateboarding video games to come out since the days of Tony Hawk 2 and 3; it’s ok, go back, let your self love again.