Review by pinkerton182

"A very fun addition to the Tony Hawk series."

This game isn't totally perfect, but it is very fun and worth your time.

Graphics - 9

American Wasteland has good looking, customizable designs for skateboard decks, shirt logos and patterns, stickers to plant on the walls, graffiti art, and tattoos. There are decals all over the ramps, rails, and ledges within all of the city the game takes place in. The characters all have very distinguishable faces and clothes, the animations for the moves all blend together well, unless you happen to land a trick when the board isn't even under your feet, which looks pretty shoddy, but is rare enough for it to not flaw the visuals too much.

Controls - 7

This game features a great variety of button combinations to use for a vast amount of tricks. However, sometimes it can get very confusing when you're trying to land a trick for a mission because you have to be precise with them to hit the right trick, which can take multiple tries and get frustrating easily. And if you're new to the manual combos, lip combos, or any of the combos at all, it could take about half an hour to get used to the controls. But after you learn them, it becomes very easy and fun to use.

Audio - 10

The soundtrack that comes with this game contains around 60 different songs ranging from Rap/Hip Hop to Punk to Hard Rock. The soundtrack runs on playlist, just like the other Tony Hawk games, and if you have this game for the Xbox, you get custom soundtracks. The sounds are realistic and are totally fitting for the game. They have actual professional skaters doing their own speaking parts. They also have about fifteen other characters in the game, each with unique voices.

Story - 9

The main story of the game puts you into the shoes of someone who comes from a rural area, and escapes to Los Angeles, California to go where the pros started, as you find out in the opening sequence of the game. You meet a lot of friends, hardly any enemies (only cops and people that just plain aren't nice), and see enough cutscenes to make you get deep into the game very easily. I won't give away anymore of the story, for you will have to find out what happens yourself. That, and I don't want to give out spoilers.

Gameplay - 10

One word to describe the gameplay would be: FUN. In this huge city you get to play in, there are countless halfpipes, kickers, pillars, rails, staircases, ledges, balconies, and miscellaneous items to pull your vast amount of tricks out onto. Also, the city you play in is huge. It is one big city strung together with 9 "areas" that you can freely travel between once you have gotten that far in the game. In the story mode, you play through collecting objects to put in a huge skatepark while completing other missions to get to said pieces. You also get to talk to and complete missions for many of the pro skaters. Some of those are Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, and Bob Burnquist. There are certain missions that require cash, and cash is easy to earn by either helping someone put graffiti on a wall or completing a challenge which tests your skills. And just as the commercials for the game say, there are no load screens on the story mode except for when you load up the first level before getting into gameplay. There are some load areas that stop you for a split second to load the objects in the next area you enter, but the time is so short it's barely noticeable. There are many methods of transportation including running, skateboarding, driving a car or riding a bus, or even taking a BMX style bike. There are 95 missions to do for the main storyline, and endless mini-missions to do in order to collect some cash.

Classic mode takes you to the earlier years of Tony Hawk games and puts you in a level and gives you missions to do, with no story or character interaction. You do have a co-op playing option so you can play through with a friend. It's actually fairly easy also, and brings back a couple of the levels from older games, such as the Mall from the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. There are 60 goals to beat in this mode of play to beat it 100%, and many of them are similar (collecting S-K-A-T-E and collecting secret tapes to name a couple). It has alot more nostalgia feel for the veterans of the series and is fun for newcomers at the same time.

Re-play value - 9

There are three levels of difficulty for story mode and two for classic mode, and you must beat all difficulties to make them say "complete" next to them, which gives reason to pick up the game after beating it the first time. Even after you finish all the difficulties you have to go through and make sure you find all the gaps to beat the game 100%. And even after that I'd assume it would still be fun just to play around and do tricks. Plus there is multiplayer which is just about like all the others in the series, not a bad thing.

So this game gets a 9/10 for its few flaws, but still is totally worth buying, because I can't see anyone beating the whole thing in a rent.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/26/05

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