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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 is a skateboarding sports game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The game is a remake of two iconic Activision games popular about 20 years ago. It lets you assume the role of famous skateboarders and lets you pull off tricks and moves in order to rack up points. Like the original games, it features some lyrics that might concern parents, such as one song that says "It's roundup time where the good whores meet ... we're gonna drag one screaming off the street." Some words like "d--k" and "bitch" can be heard. There are also lyrics that refer to alcohol and drug use. Skaters may wipe out during their skating sessions, but no blood or gore is shown during play.
What's it about?
What's old is new again with the resurrection of the iconic Tony Hawk video games of yesteryear in TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 1 AND 2. As the name suggests, the original games are playable on modern platforms with all-new HD graphics and improved animations, new skateboarding stars (to join the original lineup), new music, tweaked controls, and several solo and multiplayer modes. Players can assume the role of some of today's and yesteryear's biggest names in the industry, such as Nyjah Huston, Leticia Bufoni, Bob Burnquist, Tony Hawk, and more, plus they can create a new skateboarder from scratch. As you play, your goal is to grind, ollie, and kickflip through various indoor and outdoor environments in places like Southern California and New York City to special international arenas in France and Mexico. Each locale is littered with ramps, dozens of interactive objects, secret areas, shortcuts and 10 objectives to complete per park, such as collecting subway tokens, spelling out words, or grinding against city sculptures. Single-player modes include the open-ended "free skate" for practicing, the two-minute "single session," and a meaty Career mode, where the player must compete for cash prizes in order to purchase better gear and new tricks and unlock hidden levels. Local or online multiplayer modes include events such as "tag," "trick attack," "Graffiti," "HORSE/S.K.A.T.E.," and more. A 3D map editor is included to let players create a unique park, with many parts to choose from (ramps, quarter pipes, rails, pools, etc.); players can then save and share their creation with others. A $99 Collector's Edition includes the game, "digital deluxe edition" content, and a full-size Birdhouse skateboard deck.
Is it any good?
This is a faithful and extraordinary remake of the original games, along with new content. From its graphics and tight controls to its myriad of game modes and huge roster of players, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 proves that good games never die -- they're simply reborn and refreshed for new audiences. For those with nostalgia, it's funny how it all comes back within a few seconds of play, like riding a bike (or skateboard). You know the drill: Ride around the environment -- looking for railings and ramps -- and pull off as many tricks and chained combos as possible. You'll earn more points for tougher or less repetitive moves, including over-the-top mid-air stunts or balancing as long as you can on the highest point of a building. It's exhilarating, challenging, and downright entertaining. The skateboarding feels faster here than in the older games, and a few new tricks have been added, along with secret areas or objects to collect, so you won't want to leave this digital playground. Toss in the original soundtrack and modern tunes -- mostly hip-hop, hard rock, and punk -- and you'll probably just sit back and listen to the music for a while.
Visually, the game now features HD graphics and updated animations, which look and feel more fluid than before. Transitions from spins and grinds to other moves are fantastic and seamless. The levels look great, too, and they're varied -- whether it's in a vacant mall or Venice beach at sundown. The modes and goals are what you'd remember, with a few other objectives and challenges thrown into the Career mode per skater. You can unlock additional content by pulling off extra combos and tasks. Add in the Create-A-Park option, and there really is a lot of meat here. You can see many parks playable from other gamers, too. Along with several solo modes, there's split-screen couch play for two, and lobby for online head-to-head multiplayer games. The only issues are occasional long load times and slowdowns that can be annoying, but it's not the worst problem here. Whether you're new to the franchise or want a fresh take on a familiar classic, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 is well worth the ride.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss the mature lyrics in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2. If some of the songs feature mature lyrics and content, shouldn't the developer or publisher replace those tracks? Wouldn't this open up the game to more potential players? Or would it be considered uncool to drop some songs found in the original?
Skaters are never shown being hurt in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, regardless of the kind of fall they take. Does that seem a bit unrealistic to you? Would the game be better if characters could be hurt, to make sure players are careful with their tricks?
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