Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland Review / Preview for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland Review / Preview for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland also known as T.H.U.G 3 and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 7 will be the next chapter in the long running and no doubt the most popular extreme sport series ever.

Developed by Neversoft the same company that has given us the previous 6 outings the game is set to make additional changes to the tried and tested formula of the series plus expand on the story themed style of gameplay first introduced in Tony Hawk’ Underground.

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland which takes place during the early 1980’s will have you playing as a Midwestern kid who after being fed up with the police, his father and his unfaithful girlfriend decides to go to Los Angeles where he hopes to become a famous skater. Unfortunately when he arrives in L.A he is robbed of all his belongings and left with only his skateboard. A local pink haired punk girl, Mindy, takes pity on you and this is where the story begins. The main object of the story is to reclaim a precious piece of land, squatted by an old& famous skater Iggy that has been built on an abandoned skate park plus build the same by collecting and stealing pieces of the park. The park will be huge around 10 city blocks and there will be 40 pieces that you will need to collect. You will be able to enhance the park with the pieces that you collect and also skate in it. On your quest for these 40 parts you will encounter many pro skaters like the legendary Tony Alva who will help you out in your quest.

Like the previous installments American Wasteland will feature a plethora of new tricks as well as modifications of old ones. Modifications of old tricks will include one footed grinds, Nata spins that can be modified into one footed and can also be converted into sit downs and handstands. The previous game introduced flips and rolls. Now you will be able to do double flips and rolls. There will also be a pogo board move and a handstand movie. Besides that you can do charge jumps, back flips while you are off your board and you will also be able to run up walls and do wall flips. This time around graffiti tags can be placed anywhere in the environment and in different styles that you will be able to learn during the game. Be it the ground or a bus etc. You will also be able to throw your skateboard at people and rail stalls will let you hop onto rails and stop moving. The list of new tricks is quite long which will include Bert Slides and Bert Rolls. These moves are based on Hawaiian surfer Larry Bertleman’s innovative sliding techniques from the 1970s. A tutorial will be available in the beginning of the game that will allow you to learn your tricks some which will be from previous games and some brand new.

As mentioned above the whole game will take place in L.A. Areas of L.A. that have been confirmed so far are East LA, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Downtown, and Beverly Hills. Ofcourse there will be many more areas in the finish game. The best thing about the game is that there will be NO load times. Yes that’s correct for the 1st time in the history of the Tony Hawk series this game will have absolutely no load times whatsoever thus allowing you to skate from one end of L.A. to another without any interruptions. This also means that individual levels will now be replaced by a large multi-area city. Though in the beginning you’ll be restricted to only a few spots of L.A. the whole city will become available for skating as you progress in the story mode. Kinda like GTA.

Similar to GTA: San Andreas American Wasteland will also have various shops around the city. There will be barbershops, tattoo parlors, skate shops and clothing stores where you can purchase items with which you will be able to customize your skater. Remember all of this will be inside the city so you won’t have quit the game and exit to the main menu every time you want to change your clothes, hairstyle etc. But all of this customization will cost you money.

As always goals/missions will be given to you by pedestrians. Missions will be like those found in the THUG series. You will complete a few easy ones and then move onto a big mission that will include several parts that will have to be completed. In these missions parts of the landscape will be destructible because you will have to destroy the landscape in order to open a new areas, collect skate park pieces and progress. You will be able to skate in the new area immediately. Needless to say these missions will be fun, complex and interactive. Besides these story related missions there will be dozens of sponsored challenges and NPCs who will ask you to perform tricks as they call them out. Also you can skate into cash signs floating around L.A., which will allow you to earn cash, enter missions, earn new equipment etc.

For the first time ever the Tony Hawk series will feature BMX bikes. BMX bikes can be found lying all around L.A. Using a new set of physics and mechanics for riding bikes controlling bikes will be very different from skating. While riding you will use the right analog stick to push your weight around while doing rolls and flips in the air. Also there will be certain goals in the game that can only be accomplished while riding a bike.

BMX rider Rick Thorne will train you and Matt Hoffman will also make an appearance. Tricks that can be done on bikes will include flips, grinds and multiple combos.

Besides the Story mode Classic mode will return in this game. Although it is not known which levels from the old games will be put in this game it is known for a fact that these levels will be fully updated with new graphics and looks.

A new offline co-op mode will enable players to play the game in split screen and complete goals together.

Besides the above modes online mode will be available on all platforms except the Gamecube. This game on the PlayStation 2 will feature the face-mapping option found in the THUG games. It will be Xbox Live compatible for both the Xbox and Xbox 360. When online, players can play classic THPS modes like Horse and Elimiskate, while Combo Mambo enables you to skate for graffiti tags or points. Another mode, Pot of Gold, (very much like King of the Hill) will give you a pot of gold, which you have to hold on to and keep comboing before someone steals it from you. Upto 8 players will be able to compete in these modes online.

Graphically this game is looking much better than its predecessors. Besides a better-looking model of your skater the running, walking and climbing animations are more fluid and realistic. Pedestrians and by standers are also better looking this time around plus the areas also seem larger and better. Goals look much better and life like too because they were set up with in-engine cutscenes that were motion-captured. Despite the larger area in this game it seems to run faster than THUG 2. The cutscenes in the game also look more interesting because they include artwork from the famous skate artist Jimbo Philips. This game also uses streaming technology. Also the game will feature support for widescreen and progressive display. It is expected that the Xbox 360 version of Tony Hawk’s American will look better than its current-generation counterparts. Also, on the 360 it will take advantage of some of the new features of Xbox, including achievements that displays some of the things you’ve accomplished and leaderboards that will let you know where you stand in the game.

Like previous games American Wasteland will feature a huge licensed soundtrack, which is yet to be announced.

The game is currently scheduled to be released on October 18th 2005 on the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and DS. The Xbox 360 version will be released later though no date has been announced yet.

This game should give players a skating experience unlike any they’ve ever experienced in the series. This could be the Tony Hawk you’ve been waiting for.

To top