Review by hyper_squirrel
Not perfect, but a fun game nontheless
I'm relatively new to the Tony Hawk games, my first console one having been Tony Hawk's Underground. I was quickly hooked and still play it and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 on a regular basis. When I heard that a new Tony Hawk game with one huge city that also incorporated BMX bikes was coming out, I was ecstatic. But as fun as American Wasteland is, it fails to measure up to other Tony Hawk games.
For a Gamecube, the graphics are very good. Shadows and detail were very realistic and I enjoyed that the character models weren't as ugly as previous Tony Hawk games.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of quality music in this game. I sometimes play this game just to listen to the music while I read or do something else, it's that good. The voice acting wasn't anything incredible, but didn't grate on me too much.
Ehh. While it's fun to skateboard around, the off board camera is awful, the BMX features are worthless, and the giant "city" is just different levels with long tunnels you have to skate through that act as loading screens. It's fun, but gets tiring after an hour or so. I was also annoyed that in the main story you aren't able to be a girl, which I am. In classic mode there are far few choices to build a female character and it's easy to feel ripped off.
I don't expect a story in my extreme sports game, so I was pleasantly surprised when I played Tony Hawk's Underground and found a story that wasn't Shakespeare, but enjoyable all the same. Tony Hawk's Underground 2's story was a Jackass ripoff, but still kind of fun. But American Wasteland's travesty of a story tries to be everything it's not. I'm still trying to figure out how a group of kids can steal the Hollywood sign, put it in their skate park, and get away with it. I'm willing to put up with a lot of unrealistic things, but come on. The game also tries to get you to identify with the characters, but they're all either too unlikable or undeveloped for you to care.
I enjoyed American Wasteland and still play it occasionally. However, the way Neversoft hyped it up only created disappointment for gamers who wanted something revolutionary. I would recommend this game to a friend, but won't be nominating it for an award anytime soon.
Buy or Rent?
If you don't mind a fun game that has it's flaws, American Wasteland is for you. If you're not sure you should rent it first to get an opinion on it before you go out and buy it.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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