Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

Tony Hawk's American WastelandOne has to wonder what has happened to the Tony Hawk series as of late. The series began dying out, so Activision put out it’s Underground game, a refreshing new addition that was fun to play yet featured too many similarities to previous installments. THUG 2 was just more repetition that caused almost endless boredom. However, this negligence is greatly overshadowed by Tony Hawk’s first foray onto the Xbox 360, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland.

The fact that the game can be played in high resolution truly only makes the games flaws, including its terrible graphics and sloppy animations, all the more apparent. Can Activision truly be any more lazy? One would figure that they would at least try to make a solid first appearance on next-gen consoles, however that is not so. Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, or THAW for short, really should have been thawed out prior to its release, since it will leave gamers feeling nothing but icy resentment towards the game.

The main factor contributing to how bad the game truly is lies in the game’s graphics engine. Similarly to Activision’s other game on the Xbox 360, Gun, THAW looks exactly the same on the Xbox 360 as it does on its current-gen counterparts (noticing a trend here from Activision yet?). How hard can it really be to at least re-work the graphics somewhat to at least make it look like it fits on the Xbox 360? Why did they even release the game at all on next-gen if they wanted to make it look so bad? Questions that will never be answered, of course.

These graphical failures lie in the fact that THAW uses the same exact graphics engine as its Xbox and PS2 counterpart. The same exact graphics engine as its predecessors, THUG and THUG 2. For that matter, the same exact graphics engine that was used in the old Tony Hawk games. Yes, friends, that is why the graphics look so terrible. The graphics engine might as well be from the 90’s. Sure, it has been improved somewhat along the way, but that doesn’t make the game look any better.

The story mode of the game is just as bad as THUG and THUG 2. Basically, you start out as a no name skater and try to build your way to prominence by completing repetitive, lame objectives as you progress. By completing objectives, you can earn points to upgrade your skater, making you more able to pull off better tricks and get better air time. All the is good and all, but the simple fact that the story is so bad makes it unforgiving.

Additionally, this IS a Tony Hawk game. What that means is that the game feels exactly like every other Tony Hawk game that has ever been made. It controls the exact same, feels the exact same, hell, it is the exact same. Granted, there are a few new tricks and touch-ups, but the game just feels too much like the previous installments to actually provide any real enjoyment.

THAW does have an online mode however, and that can be fun for a little while. Up to eight players can compete in the various Tony Hawk modes. The usual modes make their return, including S-K-A-T-E, Tag, and others. These modes are indeed fun, but the fact that nothing of any substantial value was added to the game leaves the player wanting a whole lot more than what was offered.

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland turns out to be simply a boring game. It bears nothing of any value that is worth mentioning. The game is repetitive and nauseating at times due to how much it feels like all those other games that you poured hundreds upon hundreds of hours in to. Activision should definitely have spent more time on this one, me thinks.


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