Tony Hawk's American Wasteland

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
Tony Hawk's skateboarding games are by now a classic style of gameplay. The XBox 360 should have kicked up the graphics to a new level. It didn't quite make it.

Tony Hawk's American WastelandThe game really annoyed me right from the start. You're a country yokel heading off to the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles. Apparently according to this game, LA is the one dream destination of every skater.

You get to choose your character from all the "stereotype races" - i.e. white, black, hispanic, oriental. But they are ALL MALE. What's up with this?? Other games let you customize your character to the Nth degree. Here you can't even change your GENDER.

OK you choose your guy, get dropped off in a relatively tiny map area where you can change your hairstyle and shirt/pants through a few choices. Then you get little mini-missions to do - earn cash, learn tricks, meet challenges, and so on. There's some wry humor in here, such as throwing darts at the oh-so-easy-to-harass Ben Affleck. Does the guy really deserve this much harassment? Sexy girls are around to flirt with you, and save-the-sheep protesters chant monotonously.

The moves are fun and easy to master - hopping on rails, spinning in circles, taking advantage of pretty much everything you can see. You can smash glass and tag the walls with your mark.

That being said, it got old pretty quickly for us. The graphics just weren't stellar. The dialogue got redundant. The missions were often very vague and you had to retry them a few times to figure out exactly what they wanted out of you. It's a great game to rent first. If you really love it, by all means buy it! But if you play it for a week and have finished the game, then it might be time to move on to something new.

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