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Tony Hawk's American Wasteland Member Review for the PS2

GENRE Sports 
PUBLISHER Activision 
DEVELOPER Neversoft 
T Contains Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Tony Hawk doesn't Skate board much anymore but he still does something more than most athletes, have his name stuck on games. The first Tony Hawk game came out many years ago and has since returned every year for a thrilling sequel (not really). Every year we are brought another skateboarding game that usually doesn't improve or add anything and seems just like the last. Going into this game I was convinced that it was going to be the same, the same sort of gameplay, levels, missions etc. Guess what, I was right. Ok, ok so maybe the game was different but not too much.

This years installment of the Tony Hawk franchise í¢â‚¬…“teaches an old dog new tricksí¢â‚¬? (I know its clichí’©, sue me) with the addition of a few new features. To begin theres biking. You can now hoop on a bike and spin some moves when ever you want, not that you'll ever want to. The bike handles completely different than the board uses both analog sticks and a slew of buttons, and is generally not fun to be on. Usually the bike feels like the cars from the THUG games, and you remember how bad those felt. Luckily you don't have to use the bikes very much, and hey at least there trying to add new things to the game instead of throwing last years version in a new box, but the biking just sucks.

The other new feature of this game is the í¢â‚¬…“no loadingí¢â‚¬? times. This means that after you load in the beginning of the game you wont see anymore loading screens. The truth of the matter is that as you go between levels you must pass through passages, or tunnels while the game loads the next level. These tunnels are usually pretty long and very boring even though they do have a few elements in them. This feature is great in theory, no load times i mean who wants load times, but doesn't work as well as it sounds. The tunnels will get very frustrating.

The levels that you will be going between aren't anything new either. While each level represents part of LA and they each have a slight difference in feel to them everything here has been done before. Of course you will be tricking these levels up with the ever growing bag of moves. There are a few new tricks in this game, but they get lost in all the other ones that you've had from previous games.

The gameplay in this game of course has not changed much. You can still trick off of everything that litters the levels. You can still pick up goals form people just like THUG. You can still hop off your board for those hard to reach places, or to just run up some stairs. And of course you can still get those massive combos. In fact the massive combos are easier than ever, the moves have gotten so plentiful and the run ability is so insane that 100-200 thousand point combos are nothing, in fact millions and beyond are easily doable for any experienced player. This makes the game much to easy, any experienced will have no trouble with any of the goals and will be able to complete the game quickly.

The storyline, oh yes, ever since THUG they have been trying to write a good storyline. The problem is everything boils down to you having to do massive combos, tricks and just any other odd thing on your skateboard. The storyline will often try to explain why you have to grind along five wires, down to a planter where you must then jump up to a fence. And guess what, its pretty ridiculous. In this game you are a í¢â‚¬…“newbí¢â‚¬? who has come to LA for the skater lifestyle and of course fame. You join up with a group of skaters, who first of all show you through a tutorial, then show you there skate ranch. A place where they go to skate, problem is, it sucks. You must help them find new peaces for this skate park of theirs and bring 'em back. Therefore the missions go from finding things in the city, then going back to the skate ranch for some random mission, then back to the city again. Of course theres always side missions to do. Guess what they, yup, combos and high score runs. Of course they are disguised as something else but its a pretty thin disguise. If you get bored of the story then you can play some classic THPS action. Collect S-K-A-T-E, get the secret tape, set a high school all within the good old fashion two minute time limits. Of course this too is much too short and easy.

After a day or so when you've finished the story and classic mode and now have all those í¢â‚¬…“bonusesí¢â‚¬? (new characters) you can of course play with a friend. Multiplayer hasn't changed at all since the THUG games and is still fun and a good waste of time, and of course extends your replay value. Besides Single and multiplayer theres also the create-a-modes which have been actually skimmed down this year. You can of course still create some of the weirdest people to ever step foot on a skateboard (nevertheless planet earth) and some of the most insane and ridiculous levels ever, which is all you ever did in create-a-modes anyway.

Music has always been a big part in the Tony Hawk games, and is so in this one too. This time however instead of doing artists with original songs they've opted to go for new artists playing old songs, its a bit different but hey its just music. The sound on the whole is great as always and of course the graphics have received a slight upgrade, but the game looks and sounds just like the old ones.

The bottom line to this game is: If you don't have a Tony Hawk game and your interested in trying one, this is an excellent one to start with, however if you've already got a Tony Hawk game you might want to pass. This game just isn't that much different, but of course its still as fun and solid as ever.

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