Shaun White Skateboarding XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.0
Value 5.0
Distributor: UbiSoft
Review Date:
November 2010
Ollie Thorngood


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 again. Ugh!

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!


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