No piece of media, no matter how technical or creative satisfactory, can ever really be “perfect”. Even if something has no noticeable flaws, it is absurd to think that there is no way that it can be improved. What if something else comes along that is better? Is it More Perfect? Will the first one be less perfect? That is, none of the inherent subjectivity of criticism, which means that “perfect” to one person’s eyes inevitably cannot be “perfect” to another person.
In saying this, it should be consumed with an absolutely massive grain of salt ̵
When I sat down to play Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2 There were a couple of things I wanted to look out for to check. The first was “the feel” which seems pretty straightforward – but it was exactly that Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD, from 2012 (the final attempt to keep this franchise up in the air) completely botched. The skaters in this game felt stiff and awkward, a far cry from the boneless superman flying through the air and spinning at impossible angles of the original games. THPS1 + 2In contrast, given the changes in video game technology over the past 20 years, it feels as close to the originals as possible. That sense of speed and movement was aided by the fact that Vicarious Visions reconnected the story a little by adding skills from later games in the series, like the manual (a wheelie that lets you chain street tricks together) and backing up (a little twist) movement that lets you chain a vert trick with a street trick) that really helps the flow of skating. So I can’t really criticize that.
The next thing I was looking for was “the mood” which should be harder to find as it is a little harder to define. In those early games before Bam Margera turned the series into one ass Spin-off, the general aesthetic of Tony Hawk was basically a “skateboarding is not a crime” sticker hit dead center on a piece of public property. The only antagonists, if you could call them that, were people and things that hinder your ability to skate: security guards, fast moving cars, and large sandy beaches. You really can’t struggle one of those things, but you could get a hold of it somehow by skating really well, doing tricks out of a cab, or unlocking a secret cop named Officer Dick. (You see? Because he’s a dick.)
THPS1 + 2 still has all of that, except now it just looks better: the levels are covered in HD pro skater graffiti, smashing the lights of a police car with a sick grind, and a classic downhill run in, is cuter than ever An empty mall Now it becomes clear that the mall is completely deserted and full of skaters – as if to say, “We survived you.” It would be very easy to mechanically shit this thing while dragging over rough aesthetic edges (” ollie the magic bum “is still a thing that has to be done on one level, however little PC this language may be). , but Vicarious Visions didn’t. Instead, they seem to have done their best to lovingly recreate the tone of those old games without looking dated or soulless. So this is also “vibe”.
Finally I wanted to find out how well THPS 1 + 2 I used my nostalgia for this series because nostalgia is probably a big part of why this project exists. (It is planned for the 20th anniversary of THPS 2.) I originally loved these two games, but is a graphical upgrade enough to make me want to play them again in 2020? Yes, as it turns out, it is absolute. 2020 was a miserable shit show of the year which made it the ideal time to release such a faithful replica of something that made me and many other people happy 20 years ago. I wasn’t even a teenager when I first played these games. COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, and Donald Trump was still the punch line for a joke instead of the joke itself (the punch line is now “We’re all going to die”). It feels really, really good, tapping that part of my brain again that remembers how to hit the pipe to open the dam valves on the downhill jam level, just like the first time I did Played on my friend’s N64 in middle school. And it feels especially good listening to the same stupid, ska-heavy soundtrack that was plastered in all the old games. I don’t have to kill anything, no one gets hurt or upset, and I know that if I do a bad job, I won’t let anyone down. This game is all about improving yourself, taking an obstacle head-on and finding a way to overcome it – usually with an ollie – and then running away as a slightly better person.
How the hell can I judge that? How do I judge a game that does exactly what I wanted, does exactly what it needs, and came at exactly the right time? There are things I would have loved to see – like more secret characters and a more rugged option to make your own skaters. (There isn’t even an option for glasses!) But not having that stuff doesn’t really bother me. This is a better version of the games I loved 20 years ago and that’s what I needed. So I can’t judge. It’s perfect.