by Dev van der Bank
Ubisoft has just published Shaun White Skateboarding, which moves away from the snowy slopes to take to the streets of New Harmony, a world that comes alive around you as you influence the streets to create the ultimate skate park.
Did Shaun White manage to shape our views positively or where we left lying on the pavement feeling broken and abused?
Hit the jump for our full review.
The game starts off in New Harmony, a city where it is illegal to feel any form of emotion and its inhabitants are empty vessels merely carrying on with their mundane lives, which are constantly kept in check by The Ministry. The campaign begins with you making an alliance with a group of people who want to set the populace of New Harmony free and back to individualistic thinkers. Streets of New Harmony will transform around you depending on your flow level, ramps ripping out of the grounds, dull shops and walls becoming filled with graffiti and the people around you breaking the bonds of the Ministry’s hold over them.
There are rails that bend in multiple directions as you ride them, half pipes that build as you activate them and sections that you can shift up or down depending on where you want to go. The possibilities this shaping world throws out will keep the game exciting for a while but they are also limited.
The concept is truly unique and a fresh take on the skate industry. Unfortunately the gameplay does not lean itself towards something new but rather a frustrating combination of slightly complicated tricks that make use of a variation of buttons and a flick system similar to that of Skate. You need to purchase tricks with XP earned during challenges but I found that after purchasing multiple tricks the game became more of a challenge in the control department. It works on a multiplier system similar to Tony Hawk and has a similar feel, with constant ongoing grinds, several tricks on one rail and the ability to grind anything with an edge.
The flick system that is introduced is not as polished as that of Skate. The analogue gestures will also take some getting used to. The game does spark some interesting mission challenges that will involve you doing outlandish action sequences.
Shaun White felt very promising in the beginning but as you progress through the game and the challenges start getting more complicated the games flaws start popping up quicker than the ramps around you. THERE IS NO POWER SLIDE, now you may think so what, but if you have missed a rail it’s a slow stop and a wide arc turn to get back to your original point, if this game had this simple feature it could have taken some of the frustration out.
The button combinations feel very cluttered; you will be swapping between triggers, analogs and buttons constantly. The game is not meant to be a skate simulator and if you moved from the Tony Hawk franchise over to Skate then this one might not be for you.
It’s actually sad that this game wasn’t as great as it could have been because the potential was definitely there. The concept is really good but the execution is far from it. I hope that the developers learn from this game as it was the first attempt at a skateboarding game, the possibilities for the game are there, the game play just needs to be tweaked and the controls simplified.
The controls may frustrate certain players
The constantly changing world is a great concept and looks good.
The sounds are decent and the music tracks will have something that you can tap your foot to.
There is a fair length campaign and multiple challenges that will keep you busy for a while, but the controls may leave you wanting more
The game had great potential but the franchise may still have a few tricks to learn before they’ll impress the masses. Shaun White is definitely aimed at a more casual market than the hardcore skateboarding fans.
Last Updated: November 17, 2010