Having grown up on a staple diet of Tony Hawk games, I was very sceptical about the return of this once great franchise with Activision's remaster Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Now I have played it - endlessly for two weeks - I sit here thinking, "What was I worried about?"
This is a remaster of the first two games in the world famous skateboarding series which kicked off way back in 1999, four years before Call of Duty became Activision's raison d'être.
How does it compare to the classic?
For those new to Tony Hawk, or who don't know their video gaming history, it's a skateboarding game played in a third person view with a fixed camera, in which the player must score points by performing tricks and complete objectives to unlock levels to progress through the game.
For fan boys and girls, Pro Skater 1 + 2 features tricks introduced in later games such as the revert, spine transfer and wall plant. The player can also create their own skater and skate park with the Create-A-Skater and Create-A-Park modes. The game also includes both local split screen and online multiplayer which is a pretty awesome addition.
Vicarious Visions has done the original developers Neversoft proud here. And really I can pay them no greater compliment - so good were those originals. If you are wondering how good, then just take a look at Metacritic reviews - we're talking 'GOAT' good, with TH nestled in among the top five games of all time.
This is the first time we have seen TH since Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 in 2015, which was nothing short of disastrous. So while it was not a tough act to follow, there was always the danger of riding roughshod over the good name of the originals here.
Fear not, though, because this will be a hit with anyone lucky enough to be playing for the first time, and those returning to the series. From the excellent graphics to class-leading gameplay and controls, TH PS 1 + 2 is a massive improvement over Pro Skater 5 in every area. And the fans are the proof, it sold well over a million copies within the first two weeks to become the fastest selling title in the franchise's 21 year history.
It marks an amazing turnaround for the game as we sit on the cusp of an exciting new era of next gen video gaming.
'A late runner for game of the year'
This is proper, thrilling, old-school video gaming fun. The brilliant level designs are dripping with nostalgia and the soundtrack alone is like taking a walk down memory lane, instantly filling my head with happy flashbacks of me arriving home from school with my mates and racing for the control pads to fire up TH.
It is an instant classic and as good as I can ever remember this video gaming giant. The various challenges keep the whole experience intriguing and enthralling from start to finish and the online multiplayer gives TH a entirely new dimension as you compete against the world for high scores.
Load times are an issue but trust me it is worth the wait each and every time. Outside of that, I am genuinely struggling for any negatives and, if you ask my wife, I'm the most negative person you will meet.
Split-screen mode is awesome, too, and there were no performance issues to speak of.
This is as good as it gets, dudes - a late runner for my game of the year.