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There’s still room for improvement – THAW isn’t quite as wide open as we’d hoped – and it will be interesting to see where Neversoft takes the series on the next-generation consoles. For now, though, THAW is plenty hot.
So, is THAW the best Tony Hawk ever? No, but it's definitely better than the last two. It's a throwback to the old-school Hawk series, yet it's a compromise at the same time. It tries really hard to please both jaded vets and exuberant fanboys, and for the most part, it succeeds, even if the story mode's a little short and on the easy side. If it's got anything working against it, the lack of create-a-character in story mode takes away a personal touch. Still, there's a sense that even though this is a phenomenal game that ranks in the annals of some of the best of the series, maybe gamers could use a year off so that they can appreciate the quality of the series a little more. This cash cow's made Activision a lot of cheddar, but how much longer can they milk her?
Next Level Gaming
On the audio side I don't pay much attention to the sound effects, but the entire story mode is filled with voice-overs. No one I recognize, but that's ok. The soundtrack is vintage THPS, with a mix of Hip-Hop, Rock, and Punk. And sifting through some of the indie tracks you'll find cuts in there from Green Day, Public Enemy, Bad Religon, Oingo Boingo (back before Danny Elfman got movie contracts), Motley Crue, and even The Doors. But to be honest, I use the custom soundtrack option on my Xbox version. I love custom soundtracks, and it's nice to see it once again.
Danke Neversoft, danke! Danke dafür, dass ihr euch auf eure Wurzeln besonnen und nicht einfach einen weiteren Jackass-verhunzten Underground-Teil auf den Markt geworfen habt! Danke dafür, dass ihr euch mal wieder aufs Skaten und nicht nur auf das Drumherum konzentriert habt! Danke dafür, dass ihr endlich Xbox Live-Unterstützung auf die Reihe bekommen habt! Und danke dafür, dass American Wasteland eine Art Best-Of der Reihe darstellt, mit gut umgesetztem Story- und runderneuertem Klassik-Modus. Macht all die Dankbarkeit jetzt summa summarum das beste Tony Hawk aller Zeiten? Nein, dafür wirkt American Wasteland zu überambitioniert, dafür ist das Spiel in sich nicht völlig stimmig. Aber es kommt sehr nahe an diesen Status heran und ist in jedem Fall besser und empfehlenswerter als die Underground-Teile.
Mit Tony Hawks American Wasteland ernten die Entwickler von Neversoft sicherlich nicht den Innovationspreis. Fans der Serie werden jedoch mal wieder ausgezeichnet mit neuen Aufgaben, einer erfrischenden Story und Stadtgebieten versorgt, die jedem Skater die Freudentränen in die Augen treiben. Die Möglichkeit das Board gegen ein Bike zu tauschen und fortan Tricks per Zweirad zu zeigen, bringt zudem eine gehörige Portion Abwechslung ins Spiel. Der rundum gelungene Onlinemodus erfreut sowohl PS2 als auch XBox Spieler und sorgt für Langzeitmotivation. Insgesamt ein durchaus empfehlenswerter Titel!
Dass auch der siebte Teil der Tony Hawk Reihe begeistern kann, liegt vor allem am gelungenen Story-Modus und den zahlreichen frischen Ideen. Für den Sprung auf die bald bevorstehende nächste Konsolengeneration wünsche ich mir allerdings mehr als eine modifizierte Grafik-Engine und eine Hand voll neuer Impulse. Als Fan der ersten Stunde kann mich American Wasteland nicht mehr ganz so begeistern, wie es die ersten Teile taten. Alles in Allem handelt es sich dennoch um einen überaus gelungenen Funsport-Titel, der sowohl Anfänger als auch Fortgeschrittene gleichermaßen begeistern wird. Skate Fans, die noch keinen Teil der Serie besitzen, können bedenkenlos zuschlagen. Trendsportmuffel sollten erstmal Probespielen.
Tony Hawk, the international man of trickery, is back for his seventh (or eighth – I'm starting to lose track) journey to stunt perfection. It seemed wise to go underground with such a dangerous sport, but this time Tony Hawk is taking his game to a place that no extreme sports game has gone before: a large, streaming world with the promise of there being no loading and no end to the areas you can explore. Sounds too good to be true, and it probably would've been had not been for the fact that this is the zillionth sequel to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. This series doesn't make a habit of disappointing its players.
With what is essentially the third "reinvention" of the series, Pro Skater being the first and Underground being second, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland sees the series shy away from the unfettered destruction focus of the last two games and head back to its pure skateboarding roots. In fact, the game's story mode is based around old-school skaters, building a skatepark from the ground up and basically earning everything from scratch.
Game Informer Magazine
The gameplay that honed our reflexes to the point that we could easily snatch a bullet out of the air has mysteriously vanished in this latest entry. Long gone are the glory days of spending countless hours concocting massive combo strings to achieve the sickest score possible. In American Wasteland, thrashing holds little relevance. Rather than standing tall as the greatest skater in the world, you are now pushed to secure the undesirable title of helper monkey.
"Tony Hawk's American Wasteland" mantém a alta qualidade da série, mas já perdeu, há algum tempo, sua capacidade de causar impacto. Assim como alguns clássicos, talvez não haja mais espaços para reformulações radicais e ficará cada vez mais difícil para a produtora se decidir entre tentar reinventar gênero ou apenas continuar fazendo ajustes menores e enchendo o jogo apenas com perfumarias. A Neversoft foi feliz nesta versão, pois todas as modalidades ficaram bem formatadas, mas nem sempre isso pode funcionar.
Game Informer Magazine
Hawk fans will enjoy it, but Neversoft really needs to put the skill and inventiveness back into the single-player experience.
The Tony Hawk series is the most prolific franchise in console games that doesn't revolve around a ball. Since its PlayStation debut a little more than six years ago, we've been treated to annual updates to an already-great series. Each one brings something different to the table, but how long before that table breaks under the weight of so many sequels?
Since 1999, there have been few video game franchises as prolific as the Tony Hawk series, from its Pro Skater beginnings to last year's THUG 2. And with each iteration, developer Neversoft finds a way to create a great game that keeps the masses coming back for more. Tony Hawk's American Wasteland continues the trend set by its predecessors by providing a rich gaming experience that will keep the controller glued to your hand until the break of dawn.
I really have a love/hate relationship with the series. Some of the fundamentals are nailed right on the head (such as the combo system and level design), but other basic elements (physics, congruency, etc.) need to be drastically improved. Though some may argue that the Tony Hawk series grew stale long ago, I believe there is still room to improve, but developers Neversoft are likely going to have to change their design philosophy again in order to breathe new life into it. I almost feel that the series continues to get near-perfect scores based on the virtues of the original Pro Skater, but I can't, in good conscience, do the same.
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland est un bon jeu de skate, inutile de le nier. Cela dit, la série continue de tourner en rond n'offrant que peu de nouveautés pour le fan de la première heure. On trouvera toujours de quoi faire dans ce nouveau volet, notamment avec le BMX. La découverte des quartiers de la ville a aussi son charme, mais il faut savoir que le fond peine à se renouveler. A réserver aux vrais mordus de la série.
The story in THAW is actually pretty good for a game of this type. You fill the shoes of Random Midwestern Skater Kid #3, whose had it with the slow thinkers and constant hassles from The Man, gets on a bus and heads to the city where skating was born. After being robbed of all your 4H trophies the second you step off the bus, you meet Mindy, THAW's answer to Florence Nightingale. She takes pity on you and your sorry clothes and haircut. Mindy directs you to the local gear and coif shops and adds insult to injury by informing you that if you want to make it in Los Angeles, you also need the right look. I'm sorry.....what? Now reborn with new threads and trendy liberty spikes, Mindy clips the cord and you begin your journey through the streets of Los Angeles, eventually crossing paths with some skaters squatting in a place called The Ranch.
While the gameplay in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland is still sharp, and the game still looks and sounds just fine, this seventh installment just seems to lack that special spark that made the series so much fun in the first place. The Tony Hawk series has always worked because even if you stripped away all the goals, pro skaters, and extra fluff packed into each annual installment, the simple act of finding lines and skating freestyle across the levels was great fun. Even with a handful of new tricks, simply skating around and grinding out huge lines only goes so far, especially when the levels are set up to make doing so incredibly easy. It's enough to make you think that maybe the series needs a year off to give it time to incorporate some dramatic new ideas that could revitalize the once-great franchise.
Regardless of how it looks or sounds, American Wasteland just feels like a step backwards from previous Tony Hawk games. The levels aren't nearly as interesting as they should be, it's far too easy, and they didn't add much to the over all game play. Even if you've mastered all of the older Tony Hawk titles you may still want to try this one out before you sink your $50 on this installment. It's not a bad game; it's just forgotten what made the first six entries so good. Let's hope Neversoft realizes their mistakes and gives us something really special for the 2006 model.
For gamers who still haven't sampled from the Tony Hawk buffet, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland wouldn't be a bad way to get started. Since it compiles many of the environments and gameplay elements of the prior game, it's quite a sampling of the entire franchise. However, anyone who's played any of the earlier games will want to rent, or even pass on, this game. It's full of great ideas from the past, but the storyline lacks any elements of fun, and the other gameplay modes and areas are available in earlier Hawk titles. It's really time Tony, Activision and NeverSoft all put this franchise out to pasture, because after playing this, I was very happy that I had never gotten rid of my copy of THPS 2.
To give a little credit where it's due, you have to hand it to Neversoft for managing to keep the Tony Hawk franchise alive as long as it has, in spite of losing the Pro Skater tag and dragging the series away from its board-based roots into the more surreal, motorised contraptions found in the two Underground titles.