Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 hands-on preview: Bring the noise

Tony Hawk is back! For real this time. Check out our hands-on preview of the Warehouse Demo.


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is an iconic video game franchise that had its moment in the sun, and has faded away while tons of indies took cracks at making games in the skateboarding genre. That was until Geoff Keighley changed the world with that sweet livestream where the folks at Vicarious Visions broke the news that they were bringing us back to that special moment in time when THPS ruled the world. Published by Activision, the game will release in September. Shacknews got our hands on the Warehouse level demo for a very special hands-on preview.

Return of the King

Hero of Time.
Hero of Time.

Tony Hawk is a legendary skateboarding ambassador and he's the only playable character in the THPS 1+2 demo. Now he might not be my favorite character, as I plan on using the Create-A-Skater function to make my own avatar when the game launches, but Tony still has some moves in 2020. While the Warehouse level is certainly more friendly to grind tricks, I was able to land his signature 900 special vert trick. That moment took me back to the days of playing THPS on my Dreamcast. This game does a remarkable job of bringing back the lightning in the bottle of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Adaptable and intuitive controls

The controls of a skateboarding game can make or break it and that is true of the games in the THPS franchise. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 offers players three different movesets that will apply to every level. The default controls setting is very similar to the refinements found in THPS 3, but the game does offer the ability to play with classic THPS 1 and 2 handles. Being able to chain together combos with reverts and manuals is going to feel a bit weird at first on THPS 1 and 2 levels, but I personally love this design choice as it makes the game definitely feel new and different than the originals in a very good way. This also means that high scores will get pretty crazy if you don't bail on your combos.


There are some new additions to the game that are going to be pretty jarring for some fans of the classic releases, and they are all audio related. The first two Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games were known for their awesome soundtracks, and Vicarious Visions has gone all out trying to recreate the same vibe as the past, but there are a few things about the game's sound design that just feel off.

When a player bails, falls down and the trick or combo fails, the game plays a video tape rewinding sound effect and the skater gets all pixelated as they get back on the board. This plays over the music, and is pretty jarring when it happens. It seems like the developers really went ham with making the sound effects in the game extra video gamey.

If a player successfully chains together enough tricks in a combo to get their Special Meter completely full, the game adds a sort of echoy reverb effect to the music. I think this was done to make the Special Tricks feel more epic, but it sort of sucks the energy out of the run because you literally can't hear the music as well.

This might be why Public Enemy's "Bring The Noise" is missing from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2's soundtrack, as I imagine Chuck D and Flava Flav value sound quality in their music. So much of my memories of these games are tied to songs that were playing during a run or when I landed a trick. These changes to how the music plays were the only thing that I can honestly say I was disappointed by in the game, but it doesn't take away from the core gameplay at all, which is still very fun and enjoyable.

So here I am, doing everything I can

The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Warehouse demo shows off the amazing attention to detail by the folks at Vicarious Visions. While I might not agree with their audio choices, those design decisions come from a good place of caring about the franchise while trying to do something that feels new. This is a very tricky needle to thread, and early indications are that THPS 1+2 will accomplish what many thought was impossible just a few years ago. Making a great skateboarding video game in 2020 is no small feat, but this game is not pretending to be Superman.

This Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 preview was based on a pre-release PS4 demo of the game provided by Activision Blizzard.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 12, 2020 9:00 AM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 hands-on preview: Bring the noise

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      August 12, 2020 9:11 AM

      I have been playing through 1 and 2 on N64 and a bit of 2X. The N64 graphics are rough in comparison.

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      August 12, 2020 9:15 AM

      This sounds awesome. I can’t wait to play it. :)

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      August 12, 2020 9:47 AM

      Shack footage side by side with original warehouse footage. Hopefully that link works.

      I was like this looks good but does it look that much better than the original? Yeah, yeah, times 100.

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      August 12, 2020 11:44 AM

      Great time for this game to come along

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      August 12, 2020 11:46 AM

      my body is ready for this

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      August 12, 2020 11:53 AM

      I really don't remember being able to slam into a wall to reverse direction to chain a grind like what's happening in the video.

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        August 12, 2020 12:08 PM

        They added some of the moves from later games like the the wall plant. You couldn’t manual in the first one either. It not sure if you are going to be able to jump off the board, probably not.

        Looking forward to this.

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          August 12, 2020 12:13 PM

          oh yeah I knew that, I was only familiar with the manual and revert. come to mention it I don't think I ever used the wall plant, though I guess it was introduced in either THUG or THPS4?

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      August 12, 2020 5:07 PM

      Awww yeah, that looks pretty great.

      Something to tide me over until Skatebird next year.

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      August 12, 2020 5:44 PM


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