Update – Patch 1.1 removed the always online requirement for Steam Deck
Woohoo! The multi-year wait is finally over. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (THPS) which was released back in September 2020 on multiple consoles at launch was exclusive to Epic Games Store on PC. When it was first announced that THPS 1+2 was going to be an Epic Games exclusive no end date was provided. Many assumed it would end within 6 months like Borderlands 3, however we had also seen games like Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 which was exclusive to Epic Games Store and Uplay for 3 years.
If you aren’t a Steam user and you’re reading this, then you may be saying “What’s the big deal? it’s still on PC.” This can be answered with one word, ecosystem. Steam’s ecosystem is like no other regardless of platform. Between the various useful overlays, community groups, reward/achievement programs, and massive game libraries, the overall experience is top-notch.
So thanks to the Steam Deck, we can now take this same experience out of our PCs and into our hands on the go. As the community quickly installed all their favorite games, some were still out of our reach with the most notable being THPS 1+2. Yes, you could use Heroic Launcher which is an app you can install on your Steam Deck that will allow you to log in to your Epic Games account and install/play your purchased games, THPS 1+2 being one of them.
But as I mentioned, it’s all about the ecosystem, and loading / playing the Epic Games doesn’t integrate with this ecosystem therefore not providing the full experience. Thankfully, that method is no longer necessary as THPS 1+2 is officially on Steam. However, it appears the powers that be at Activision have hindered the THPS 1+2 mobility on the Steam Deck by requiring an always online connection.
This is mindboggling since THPS 1+2 on the switch doesn’t require an always online connection (my switch review). The Steam Deck doesn’t require a constant internet connection as it will simply sync up all your data the next time you reconnect to the internet. There are also plenty of games with MP that allow you to play offline so I really hope this “problem” and yes, I am calling it a problem since there is no valid reason to have this requirement. I hope that it gets resolved, especially since the game is predominantly a single-player experience.
I am currently running the Steam OS 3.5 preview build for the main reason of using the new “adjust color” sliders which can be found in the Steam/settings/display. I was previously using the Decky Loader plugin Vibrant Deck.
The Sliders allow you to change the color vibrance and color temperature of your Steam Deck screen. Making these adjustments does wonders for games such as THPS 1+2 which is full of colorful locations and amazing lighting effects.
Upon bootup, the Steam Deck will have THPS 1+2 at medium settings. This produces a stead 60 FPS gameplay experience, even when flying down ramps in the Mall or Streets maps. You may see some occasional pop-ins on larger maps but overall, it is a smooth experience with no slowdown.
The only hiccup I experienced was when taking screenshots in motion (hold the steam button and press RB). The game would do a quick stutter but again only occurred when taking screenshots while in motion. The Video clip below was captured using the Decky Loader plugin Decky Recorder.
During the time of this writing, THPS 1+2 received an update that resolved a major issue that made multiplayer unplayable on the Steam Deck. I was able to jump in quick matches and skate around with no noticeable performance drops.
You can create your own lobby and invite friends via the game or using the Steam Deck friends overlay tab. There were also no performance issues while chatting with friends via party chat with those who were not in the game.
I called “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 the G.O.A.T” in my 2020 PS4 review. Thankfully this port succeeds in bringing the full experience we know and love over to Steam and the Steam Deck which currently has a playable rating.
My only complaint is the always online requirement. This absolutely needs to be removed. Besides that, this game is a blast to play with all the maps, create a skater, park editor, and free skate. I said it before and I will say it again, this is a must-have for anyone looking for a fun pick up and play game.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 for Steam provided by Vicarious Visions and Activision.