Review: Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

Review: Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

We are now rushing downward towards the end- were at the start of the incline. Does AW take us further down?

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Year: 2005

Played on: Xbox, Gamecube

Also on: PS2, Xbox 360, PC

Developer: Neversoft

Publisher: Activision

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All I wanted was a Pepsi and she wouldn’t give it to me

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Date posted: February 15, 2018

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PREMISE

First off, sorry this and the rest of the reviews are late. I was uhh…. gotta make up something believable… yes! That’s it! I died. Yep. I died, so I couldn’t review the rest of the games. I got better though, so lets continue! (They totally bought it!)

After so many years, it was finally time for yet another drastic change.

Yep. For the first time, Tony Hawk goes open world (sort of.)! Yeah, we’ll talk about that later.

I guess Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, or THAW, can be considered pretty much THUG 3, except, you know- not as good.

Yeah, I’m just going to give to you straight doc- this is the Tony Hawk game where I could see visible cracks forming. I knew that the series time was just about near it’s end, and that soon the series would be gone for good. Doesn’t mean THAW is inherently  bad though- it just means it’s headed straight down, never to come back up, unfortunately.

PROS

Well, all the classic gameplay is here- you know, you can grind, do flips, and what not. Now, however, there some new stuff, like the bert slide, and the ability to ride a bike. You can also get off your board and use it as a weapon. Speaking of getting off your board, there’s also new off board moves, like the ability to flip off walls and do a psudeo double jump of sorts. So yeah, there’s plenty of new things.

The most drastic change lies in the game’s campaign- instead of traveling to various locales all over the world, the game now takes place entirely in Los Angeles. I think I should explain this psudeo open world. You see, it’s not really “open world”- it’s just a bunch of levels connected by tunnels and linear passageways, albeit with no loading times. Remember what I said about Postal 2’s open world? It’s like that, but again- no loading screens. It works… okay. All the levels are connected, and you can go to and fro- but this gives way to a LOT of backtracking. I’ll talk more about this in the cons section.

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The levels are at least up to snuff, in my opinion.

The areas themselves are pretty well designed as well. There’re THUG style, it seems, with a lot of different areas with a lot of cool lines and such. The game also has a day-to-night system, which looks great. The levels are alive with a lot of things- for example, Santa Monica has it’s boardwalk carnival, while down town has an overpass. Nothing wrong with the levels themselves- it’s what you do in them that is the problem. (See CONS).

And yes, the game has a story- in fact, I think this was the last attempt at one (Project 8 and Proving Grounds stories were bare bones in comparison.) You play as the new kid in town, looking to make it big on LA’s skateboarding scene. You get roughed up by the locals, who tell you to go back home. Thus begins a journey where you met new characters, and eventually realize your goal of returning the Skate Ranch, a haven for skateboarders, back to it’s former glory. It’s not too bad, but, eh- I honestly feel that most TH games didn’t need a story. THUG was the only decent one in my book- the rest were either just okay- like this one- a mid 2000’s MTV show (THUG 2) or just plain forgettable. I, for example, can’t tell you what happens in Project 8- It’s that forgettable. Neversoft should of just focused on skateboarding.

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You can also find stuff to expand the Skater Ranch with, which gives the goals some purpose, at least.

Classic mode returns, and is the most enjoyable part of the game (for me, anyway.) What’s cool about Classic mode this time is the inclusion of new levels created specifically for it- Santa Cruz, Kyoto, and The Ruins are new levels created for THAW’s classic mode, and each are pretty well made! You also have The Mall, Minneapolis, and Chicago from THPS1. Yeah, their nice, but what about the other THPS games? No THPS 2 or 3 levels. I think the new levels make up for it, but not by much. Also, none of the levels from the story mode are present here. Why not?

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Classic mode, once again, might be the best part of the game.

Finally is the soundtrack. Once again, they nailed it! This is one of the most diverse soundtracks, and it really captures the spirit of the old-school skateboarding scene in California. In fact, the whole game captures that feeling well.

I just wish the goals were better….

CONS

I’m going to get it out in the open. THAW’s goals are some the worst the series has got to offer. Example- for the first three areas of the game, the goals just serve nothing more then mere tutorials. I know you can say that about other games, but at least they got to the point- you weren’t learning how to use your special meter one-third into the f@#king game! Some are just insulting too- You really don’t think I know how to grind, or get off my board? Are you kidding me? And yes, even on SICK difficulty, the game makes you do these. This is why tutorials should be a separate option on the main menu of most games. This is only good for people who never played a THPS game in their life, or somehow skipped THUG 1 and 2.

After the tutorial goals, the actual ones don’t get much better. Some are simply doing simple tricks over basic gaps, and thats it. Grind this. Wallplant that. Remember all the variety from THPS 4 all the way to THUG 2? There’s none of that here- just doing inane tasks, liking grinding around something or pulling off a trick. The worst part is, it gets worse then this. Just wait until I talk about the boring s@#t you do in Proving Grounds…

Oh, there is also a lot of backtracking- expect to use the bus more times then not. Thankfully, the game sometimes lets you teleport back to the skate ranch everytime you get a new piece- but for everything else, you either skate there or ride.

Other then that, it’s actually all right. I mean, there some decent goals at least- I liked the one where you had to find your way to that guy without touching the ground in Santa Monica- but for the most part, the goals are unfortunately naff.

Also, outside Little Jon, there’s really no guest characters to speak of. You can unlock a robotic version of Tony Hawk, and most of the characters from story mode, but there’s no superheroes or CGI cartoon characters, or anything like that. The first TH game I played where I was disappointed with the unlockable content.

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Sure, you can unlock Billie Joe from Green Day, but where’s my weird over top skaters, like a severed hand, or some demoness chick?

-PORTLANDIA-

This one is strange, as the DS and GBA ports are kinda entirely different games- so I won’t cover them here. Instead, i’ll review them at a later date. Also, this makes the first TH on a “next-gen” system- the Xbox 360. Cool, I guess?

Xbox, GC, PS2- Pretty much the same once again. I think the “Special Edition”, however, is only available for the PS2. Also, I got a minor bug where songs would skip a bit on the Xbox version. Other then that, they should be the same.

PC- No idea if it’s any good, but shouldn’t be too bad, if it’s anything like THUG 2 on PC.

Xbox 360- Probably the best- has some enhanced visuals and better resolution, but is basically the same. Goes for a lot for a TH game- $20, everywhere I checked, compared to the $6 or $7 it goes for the Xbox and PS2 versions. Not sure if it’s worth it, but not a bad port.

Here’s what I think-

Clear Winner– Xbox 360

Good– PS2, Xbox, GC

Alright?– PC

FINAL VERDICT

Despite it having some of the worst goals in the series, THAW does have a good Classic Mode, and the LA itself isn’t too bad. All in all, it’s not bad, but you can defiantly tell that the series was about to falter. It’s at least worth picking up for the soundtrack, I think, but yeah- this series has a way to fall.

Was going to give it a five, but after playing it recently, yeah- it’s just okay overall.

And no, that doesn’t means it’s bad. Just you wait…

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Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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