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Review: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 8 February 2006, 11:54

Tags: Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), Sports

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Unlock the moves



Mention skateboarding games and one name immediately springs to mind, Tony Hawk. The seventh Hawk title in seven years, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, takes the skater on a familiar, occasionally thrilling journey through the sun drenched streets of California.

In Story mode, you’ll begin by choosing one of 5 characters. Through missions, side quests, cash challenges and sponsor challenges you’ll ‘trick’ your way through various locations in Los Angeles in a bid to become the ultimate skate boarder.

First off, you’ll jump on the bus and head for the neon lights of downtown Hollywood, where you’ll immediately be mugged by some unfriendly locals. With revenge in mind you’ll bump into Mindy, a local graffiti artist, who tells you that you’ll need to change your image in order to blend in with the locals. This will present you with your first set of objectives – Head for the local stores in order to update your image. Choose from a wide selection of clothing, hair styles and skating accessories,

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Mindy then points you in the direction of various contacts across the city, who will issue the various challenges and goals. The rest of the story mode will see you learning more complicated moves, progressing through the story mode and taking part in objectives that will earn you the cash, enabling you to upgrade your skater.

Gamers new to Tony Hawk games will find the learning curve relatively easy. At the beginning of the game you’ll only have a few moves in your skateboarding repertoire, but by visiting various NPC’s you’ll unlock progressively complicated moves that will allow you to rack up the points. Hardened Tony Hawk’s fans will be disappointed at having to unlock each move, whilst beginners will revel in the simplicity of learning each move in a balanced, uncomplicated way. The NPC will show you the move, tell you how to pull it off and then give you a time limit to complete the trick. To those unfamiliar with Tony Hawk games, some of the moves may take half a dozen attempts but most are simple enough to pick up immediately. Later on in story mode, you’ll even get the chance to learn some parkour(free-running) skills!

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These moves will bolster your skills on the board and you’ll soon be racking up the points by performing ‘manuals’, ‘reverts’, nose grinds, flips and switches all across town.

With the multitude of tricks on offer, controlling the skateboard can occasionally be complicated. Until you reach a point of knowing which controls pull off which tricks, you’ll probably stick to your favourites, backward flip being mine. Once you have mastered each trick, and can remember the sequence of buttons, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland becomes a satisfying, ego enhancing game. Once you’ve mastered a number of tricks you’ll feel a great sense of achievement. Tricks can be as simple as pressing your ‘b’ button to grab, or your ‘x button to flip, to the more challenging moves, such as pressure flips, where you’ll need to combine a number of buttons and directions in order to successfully complete the move. Especially with these more complicated moves, the controls can be unresponsive and need the sharpest of co-ordination and speed to master, the more you play AW the better you will be become and the more you will enjoy in the game.