Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (PS5) Review
While professional sports leagues have been around for a long time they are confined to elite athletes, and to mostly team sports with strict rules and regulations. Other avenues, like Extreme Sports, arose in the 1990s and gained world-wide prominence with the Extreme Sports Channel which ran the X-Games. They were called extreme because of the much higher probability of sustaining injuries. One of those sports, of course, was skateboarding. Any skateboarder that aims to be the best must accept the certainty of injuries as their arena is the streets around them. To a skateboarder the term concrete jungle takes on a totally painful meaning. Skinned knees and elbows are the least of their concerns. Avoiding broken bones or concussions is like winning the lottery.
Into this sport came Tony Hawk. Known as the Birdman, he became the first skateboarder to perform a 900 – which means doing two and half revolutions in mid-air. As the dominant force in skateboarding, Hawk parlayed that success into many other avenues. One of those was a deal with Activision to make video games. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (THPS) video game series was born and spawned 18 titles. Of all of those titles the best received were Tony Hawk 1 & 2. Naturally these two games were bundled together, remastered, and released on the PS4, Xbox One X, and PC last year.
Now the games ran at 1080p glory and at 60FPS. For the first time, the video game hardware was available to present the games in a manner befitting the dynamic nature of skateboarding with an extra level of immersion afforded by the control responsiveness with 60FPS graphics. All the jumps, bumps, grinds, and acrobatics are now faithfully reproduced in a visceral and satisfying package. THPS 1+2 has now been given an extra greater level of polish and have been upgraded to take advantage of the horsepower of the current Gen consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
If you’ve read our previous review of the previous-gen version of Tony Hawk 1 & 2 then you know this remaster was masterly done. If you want to know all about the goodness of the game and what it includes, please read the linked review above. This review will instead focus on the differences between the PS4 & PS5 versions of the game. Suffice it to say, all the moves, locations, characters, gameplay options, online/multiplayer are present. For digital deluxe edition owners, the upgrade to the PS5 version is free. Owners of the regular version are going to have to pay a $10 charge to upgrade to the PS5. Is the extra expense worth it? Let’s grab our board, hit a location, and see.
On the technical side of things the upgrade to the PS5 version is pretty modest. The game runs in native 4K mode at a locked 60 FPS mode. There is also a Performance Option to play the game at 120F FPS at 1080P resolution but that mode is one I couldn’t test with my 60Hz only 4K TV. Also included is HDR support which increases the color gamut making for better reflections and shadow detail. The end result is a presentation which is a bit darker overall but lends a more solid and realistic look. When compared to the PS4 version, which runs a dynamic resolution solution that varies between 1080p and 1440p, the PS4 version displays a more video game-like presentation. It’s a bit disappointing that there is no video mode for the PS5 version that utilizes ray tracing.
As expected, with the speed of SSD, load times are practically non-existent on a PS5. While not instantaneous, load times generally run in the 3-5 second range, a noticeable improvement over the PS4 version. Another way this version speeds things up is through the use of the PS5 Activity Card feature. Clicking on an Activity Card allows you to jump straight into the action foregoing all the standard navigation through game start and menu navigations.
Let’s Get Ready To Shake and Rumble
And that’s not the only notable gameplay enhancement. DualSense is supported with this version which brings an extra layer of immersion to the controls not possible with the Dual Shock 4. The haptic feedback is generally muted but it really kicks in when grinding. It’s a blast to feel the differing degrees of rattling and rumbling and shaking. You’ll also notice the differences in grinding based on the surface type of whatever you are railing on. Flat or concrete surfaces such as ledges or walls have a more aggressive and deeper vibration. On rounded surfaces such as rails the vibration is lighter, quicker, and smoother. There is support for the adaptive triggers but given the nature of the gameplay mechanics, the triggers aren’t used that much. Their function is for in-air tricks so the gradient of change needed for the triggers is minimal.
In terms of additional content the upgraded version includes additional skins for the characters including retro outfits for Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Rodney Mullen. The retro content is also extended to the Create-A-Skater mode. The most noticeable player addition is the iconic ‘The Ripper’ skater created by artist V.C. Johnson for the skateboard company giant: Powell-Peralta. It’s definitely cool to board around in bony glory in skeleton mode.
Overall, the visual upgrade to 4K and the power of the PS5 take this already great game and add an extra level of immersion to it. Everything that is great in the PS4 version of the game is here, just better and faster. With the haptic feedback only possible with the DualSense, you’ll feel not only more in touch with it, but also more control in the game. Short of an entire remake to take full advantage of the new consoles this is the premium way to play Tony Hawk 1 + 2. While the overall differences between the PS4 and PS5 may be subtle, once you play the PS5 version you won’t want to go back to the other one. So yeah, the $10 is worth it. The original review gave the game a 95 rating. That rating holds for the PS5 version too. That said, I would have gone higher if more graphical enhancements like ray tracing had been added.
***PS5 review code provided by the publisher***
- Runs in native 4K at solid 60 FPS
- Easy save transfers from PS4 to PS5
- Near instantaneous loading times
- Costs $10 to upgrade the physical copy
- Graphical upgrades not easily apparent
- More of a port than a true upgrade