Review by elbac
"Smooth wake and awesome tricks, but just a bit lonely."
Wakeboarding Unleashed is the first wakeboarding title to be released on the Xbox. The sport is awesome to try and the game should be too. You don\'t have to have any knowledge on wakeboarding to look at this game. For the type of game it is the game makers did an excellent job and almost shy of greatness. The game really gets the job done nicely and really gives you a feel for wakeboarding. I bought the game because it really interested me since I had tried wakeboarding and The Official Xbox Magazine did a good job of reviewing it. The game has a very lonely feel to it and thats what brings down it\'s score. The game is very similar to other extreme sports titles by Activision. Such Tony Hawk or Matt Hoffman. If skateboarding games and raking up points for major tricks interests you then this game is well worth a try.
The gameplay is aimed more towards impossible big air tricks than casual wakeboarding. While you do get the option to just cruise along, it will get boring since the game is not designed for that. You can choose from one of seven starting pro wakeboarders including Shaun Murray. I have never heard of them, but after playing this game you will be sure to remember a few names. For those who have never played an extreme sports title before or have no idea how exactly wakeboarding works, there should be no worries since there is a great tutorial and all the time in the world to free ride. There are 9 full, big levels and 2 pro challenge levels. You probably anticipate that the levels will be huge open lakes or water ways. Instead the boat always follows the same routes. So instead of wakeboarding on a lake you are actully wakeboarding on a river. There is no time limit in the regular gameplay but you keep a groove meter filled up by get points for doing lots of tricks. There is one unique option which was very cool to include: Rope Mechanics. This allows the boarder to let go the rope do tricks on an out of reach rail, boat, building and then recall the rope, and the rope will jolt right back into his/her hands. This is highly unrealistic but highly fun. The game wouldn\'t be the same without it. The game makers also had another great idea: Driving the speedboat. Now that\'s fun. Each level requires you to race the boat through checkpoints and there is even a free drive mode where you can drive the boat anywhere on the level with no wakeboarder behind it. Each level is filled with gaps, challenges and objectives. Some have very little to do with real wakeboarding. They are challenging and fun. One of the only downsides of the game is the lonely feeling you get when playing this.
The multiplayer mode for two people if pretty fun. There are four modes: HORSE, Trick Attack, Tug-of-War and Co-op.
Tug-of-war is pretty fun where each boarder try to do better tricks inorder to shorten the other player rope. Co-op is where one player drives the boat and one player wakeboards. This mode is pretty fun but you must complete objectives. The game would have been awesome with Xbox Live play, it also would have taken away much of the lonely feeling.
The replayability is outstanding with hours and hours of playing time. Completing every single challenge and unlocking all of the gaps is super challenging. This will surely keep you busy...or frustrated. The free ride and free drive game modes are good too!
The Official Xbox Magazine said the graphics were just above average, but in my opinion they are great. The wake is perfect and the tricks and jumps are outstanding. The detail on trees and the boarders themselves could of been better though. When your wakeboarder falls it looks a little awkward as if he landed on a solid floor. The speedboat is always the same and it OK looking. The boat driving is not very nice since the camera angles dont really move. The menus are easy to use and nicely presented. I still can\'t get over the awesome graphics of the wake.
The game sound is great and gets the job done nicely. There are great smashes and splashes. The boat makes good sounds and the music is never choppy. I also like the music soundtrack and if you don\'t you can add your own songs. That\'s a great feature for the slightly lonely gameplay.
The Good + and the Bad -:
+ Awesome wakeboarding
+ Jumps and tricks are numerous and great
+ Great looking wake
+ Rope Mechanics and boat driving
+ Custom soundtracks
The Bad :(
- Lonely gameplay
- Not the best of the best graphics
- Bad camera angles for boat driving
- Type of game is not for everyone
OVERALL: The Xbox version is better than the PS2 version because of better graphics and custom soundtracks. This game is a great one, don\'t get me wrong but it\'s only if you like extreme sports videogames with lots of point getting for tricks ect.
Rent? YES! Buy? Only if you liked the rent or if this review really interests you.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/06/03
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