I used to love skateboarding games when you could do a triple backflip followed by a 540 melon into a nose blunt down a forty set of stairs with just the push of a few buttons. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little bit but my point is why have skateboarding games become about realism? For me it’s taken the fun out of these games but can Shaun White Skateboarding’s crazy concept finally give me the fun I’ve been looking for? Let’s find out.
With so many skateboarding games out there, and only a few succeeding, I couldn’t believe it when I heard Shaun White, who I knew to be a snowboarder, was bringing out a title of his own. The game starts with Shaun whizzing round a city pulling off crazy combos and impressing the locals until an evil group known as The Ministry capture him and lock him up in their headquarters. Your character, which you get to customise, goes to meet Shaun who gives you his special skateboard which you are told has the power to influence people and free their minds and is the only way to stop the Ministry from carrying out their evil plans.
The story missions are usually short and the whole game can be completed in a few short hours but there are plenty of other challenges spread out across the city, such as grinding for x amount of time or performing certain tricks. There are also a large amount of collectables to be found throughout the four sections that make up the city but with very little variation it becomes quite boring to smash another concrete block. There are a few hidden chests as well, which contain clothing and skate parts which you are also rewarded with upon completing the challenges. To learn new tricks you can visit any of Bob’s skate shops and use the experience points you have gathered from completing tasks.
The special feature that sets Shaun White Skateboarding apart from the rest of the skateboarding game is the ability to raise and lower ramps or bend grind rails into any shape you wish by using your mind – or the left analog stick. This feature is very interesting and definitely drew me in at the beginning but by the end of the game I was a little bored with the whole concept and was craving my classic Tony Hawk games and a lot of this had to do with the controls. They feel awful.
The traditional control system from the old Tony Hawk games are my personal favourite and allowed anyone to quickly learn how to play, pull off awesome combos and just have fun. The Skate controls are somewhat complex and take a little getting used to, which means a new player can’t just pick up and play the game. Shaun White Skateboarding seems to have mixed these two control types together and created the most confusing system I have ever encountered. I spent half my time just letting the game do whatever flip or grab came out because the tutorial never taught me how to do them. In order to gain speed you need to pull off tricks successfully but as I had no idea what I was doing; half the time I couldn’t maintain a decent speed and felt like I was going at a snail’s pace. Couple this with the dire layout of the city and the constant clipping next to objects and it ruined the entire experience of racing round the city trying to save the world from The Ministry.
There are currently no multiplayer games running so I can’t comment on that at the moment but will be trying to connect daily so will let you know my thoughts on that when I finally get into a match. It’s not very visually appealing either and the graphics are far from top notch but they are very bright and vibrant. The soundtrack is probably the only solid part of the game featuring such artists as Kiss and Weezer and made the whole process bearable.
Shaun White Skateboarding is clearly not trying to take the realism route so why it opted to have a control system similar to Skate’s is beyond me. Had the game used simpler controls and ironed out a few of the other issues such as clipping, it may have taken the skateboarding game crown but sadly it just becomes another follower. Skateboarding fans will appreciate the game but for me it just doesn’t flip my world.