Home > Chronological Challenge > Chronological Game Challenge Review – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Chronological Game Challenge Review – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yo, today’s review is totally rad, dude! Yes, I know that it was embarrassing when I did Jet Set Radio, but I don’t care. Just read today’s review, please?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Publisher: Activision | Developer: Neversoft | Year: 2000
Original System: PlayStation
Played on: PS3 (original PS1 disc)

Goal: Complete all challenges in Career Mode

Actual Outcome: Got as far as Philadelphia

In our coverage of 2000, we’ve already seen the early 2000s interest in extreme sports with Jet Set Radio, but there was another big hitter of that era that many hold up as a classic – the Tony Hawk series. It’s a series that must have been doing something right at the time as I have three of the games in my collection, starting with this one. So let’s revisit it today and forget all about that rather terrible sequel that came out last year (which thankfully I skipped).

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is, of course, a skateboarding game where the emphasis is on performing as many tricks as possible to rack up huge scores. The progression of the game involves going through a range of stages where you’re given a series of challenges, ranging from basic score benchmarks to obscure things like jumping over tramps. Not sure how that gets you a sponsorship deal from Vans but there we are.

With all the pro skaters on the roster and the heavy involvement of skating legend Tony Hawk, it would appear that this is trying to be a realistic depiction of the skate world, but the opposite is true. It seems that every single pro skater was willing to be thrown into a wacky arcade world where gravity feels looser, and where grinding a helicopter’s blades can cause it to activate and destroy a doorway. But let’s be honest, that’s exactly why this game won people over back in the day.

And it’s so much fun! Even today, this game is horrendously addictive, as you constantly strive to chain tricks together in more and more elaborate ways, as the game is the right blend of frustratingly precise and casually enjoyable. There are plenty of ways to fail, but at the same time there’s always a drive to do things better, to try again and work on your timing or try out different tricks.

But there are moments when sometimes it feels like the game is working against you, as the physics engine can get a little wonky, or challenges require you to make seemingly impossible jumps to get the last collectible. My playthrough for this review ended when I reached Philadelphia, and the gravity-defying jumps I had to do in some places were hindered by very few places to build up speed effectively, and even some patches where you’re actively slowed down by grass.

The game is also not the best looking game in the world, even for its time. Environments feel a little empty at times, and textures tend to be blurry and indistinct. Character models are overly spikey too, where it seems possible to count all the individual polygons. Obviously, much of this is down to limitations with the hardware, which was on the verge of being replaced, but it’s still sometimes hard to look past completely.

In fact, this seems to be much of the problem with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The core game is solid, but the experience sometimes feels marred by the aging PS1 tech of the time. Still immensely playable and addictive, but shows its age.

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