I don't blame THPS HD itself for its mixed reactions and mediocre reviews, I blame gaming as a whole.
Visually, the game looks great. I'm not sure why people are talking about "abysmal frame rates," because frankly, the only time I've noticed frame rate drops are when there are a lot of things going on. I.E., crates exploding in the Hangar level. The game runs smoothly, as far as I'm concerned. Those few and far between frame rate drops are totally forgivable considering the game as a whole runs smoothly, and the levels, pro skaters, textures, and small touches throughout the levels look amazing.
The controls couldn't be more spot-on, especially with the Dualshock3. It feels EXACTLY like you're playing THPS2. The D-pad is perfect for this game, since Playstation is where the THPS series got its start. The one and only complaint I have control-wise is that the wallrides are finicky and unreliable. You have to hit them at the seemingly perfect angle to do them. But considering most of the goals in the levels (sans 2 or 3) don't require wallrides, this isn't a huge issue.
The audio department is nothing to complain about. Skateboarding sounds like skateboarding. RoboModo took some of the most iconic songs from THPS1 and 2 and incorporated them into THPS HD. It's just too bad they didn't include all of the original songs. Half of the soundtrack is comprised of songs from the first 2 games, and the other half are new additions. Thankfully, these new songs fit well with the game's atmosphere and nostalgic feel. They don't sound like they were last minute additions. When you have an El-P track in your skateboarding game, you know you're doing something right in the sound department.
Like I said in the beginning of this review, THPS HD isn't for everyone. If you want to, you can choose one pro skater and blast through the game in around 30 minutes to an hour. But that's not what this game is about. I've completed literally everything there is to do in this game with every character, so I do feel a bit more entitled to review this game more than certain others who pick it up, play it for 15 minutes and label it as a "this sucks" experience. The game is about completion. On top of the regular level objectives, you get a mode called PROjectives, which is basically the "hard mode" of the original game. And after completing this mode, you'll get the biggest sense of accomplishment considering it's tough as nails. A good, fair challenge for any gamer searching for one. But that seems to be the problem. These first 2 games were released over a decade ago, and it's hard not to say that games have gotten easier over the years. Too much hand holding, too much obvious paths, too much to get you to complete the game as quickly as possible. Not here, I say. If you want to REALLY complete this game, be prepared for one of the toughest gaming experiences you'll find all year.
All in all, THPS HD isn't a perfect game. However, it IS a near perfect HD remake. A nostalgic romp through two of gaming's most important titles. The atmosphere, the pro skaters to play as (which look great, by the way), the old way of doing THPS tricks, nearly everything. The one complaint I have is the lack of levels. We're missing classic levels such as Burnside, Philly, and there are no secret levels to unlock, but DLC packs including levels will be available in the near future for purchase. I don't blame THPS HD itself for its mixed reactions, I blame gaming as a whole. Like I mentioned above, if games hadn't gotten easier over time, this game would be revered as one of the greats. Nothing with a major impact, story arc, or anything revolutionary. However, it sure is a lot of fun, and it sure is a good, tough challenge. Something that seems to be missing from any given game released in the past 5 years.