Shaun White Skateboarding
There are two dominant skating games on the
market at the moment, Tony Hawke and Skate which have been
the heavy hitters for several years now. Sure, they've had their ups and
downs but in the grand scheme of things, they are as close to skating as
we mere mortals will get.
Both games feature an intuitive
control system that is matched with a vibrant and colourful world,
filled with interactivity and even skating missions. Unfortunately when
other developers attempt at a share of the sales pie, not everything
goes to plan and unfortunately Shaun White Skateboarding is one
of those games. It looks great on paper but when it translates to a game,
something went awry.
Shaun White Skateboarding
is set in an alternate universe which
has seen colour "banned" from the city. The evil doers in this world are
called The Ministry, an almost 1982 (the movie) type government who has
ensured that its citizens are kept in order and individuality is banned.
This is not a nice place to live nor skate... until now.
However, while in jail, you are given a
"magical" skateboard by none other than Shaun White himself and with
this board, you have the ability to return colour to this dreary and
dull world via skating tricks. Uh-oh... a magical skate boarding fairy
tale? That doesn't sound right to me. Oh and you also need to liberate
Shaun White from prison.
As you skate around, your board will unleash its magic as this
Totalitarian state is turned to colour freedom. Even though I almost
puked at the story, it's actually quite enjoyable to see this city get
turned around by your skating. There are also some side quests along the
way, including some entertaining NPC conversations. But this is a
skating game not a fairy tale right?
The control system on the 360 controller is
well mapped and the basic tricks can easily be pulled off. The more
difficult tricks are a little annoying and frustrating as is the
constant grinding throughout this skating world. The problem with
achieving the goals in this game is that you have a power meter. By
performing tricks and grinds, this meter goes up and then you can
transform the people and places of the city New Harmony into a
psychedelic wonderland. This is actually annoying because you spend the
majority of your time grinding and grinding and then grinding some more
to build this up.
However two cool facets of the game include
shaping and flow. Shaping allows you to extend your rails and ramps, much
like the movie Inception which allows you to reach new areas and of
course insane tricks. There is a limit to this but it's actually quite
fun in the initial stages. Flow is like the
power-up in Guitar Hero that contains three levels, each marked to a
different colour which are yellow, blue and purple. The problem with
flow is that one bad move, your flow is reset and you need to start
Personally, Tony Hawke and Skate are the
best skating games available and Shaun White Skateboarding
sits relatively quite near the bottom of this genre. I give the
developers credit where credit is given but unfortunately the gameplay
of this title is lacking that flawless and smooth skating feel.
Everything feels forced and when it's time for tricks, it's like you're
being penalised. A skating game should be smooth and although if you
make a mistake, it should easily be rectified... not here.
The highlight of Shaun White are the
graphics which has impressive gaming environment and great special
effects. It even has a decent soundtrack and sound effects that is once
again let down by its untested gameplay. I was looking forward to this
game and I've played it for longer than I should, hoping that it would
get better. There is a multiplayer mode as well but is just as limited
as the single-player mode. For such a cool premise, someone sure did drop
the ball here and if you're looking to buy this game, I strongly suggest
a rent first. A shame!