Shaun White Skateboarding takes on one big jump and bails… hard. It attempts to involve a storyline, which is a poor attempt to mix the complexities of Matrix – free your mind – and the book 1984.
I got the sense that the creators kind of knew that couldn’t realistically incorporate a story line in a skateboarding game and so, cleverly, they made all the characters and agendas hilarious and “totally awesome duuude” – nothing is taken seriously. So in hindsight credit is due to the creators for using such a powerful story as a baseline for an entirely non-serious game.
Your character, as with most skateboarding games, is entirely customizable. Where Shaun White differs slightly is the shear level of customisation available. Mohawk, shorts, boots, sleeveless and a psychedelic skateboard. You can make your character look utterly terrifying or kitten-cute.
As for gameplay, it is so simple anyone who has just learnt how to make use of those handy opposable thumbs will look like a legend. There are a vast amount of grinds, verts, grabs and street tricks to learn. They all look awesome and are complemented with an equally aesthetically appealing environment. You “influence” the environment with your trick score multiplier which increases through three levels as you “link together some awesome moves duuude”.
The influence you create not only makes your environment more skateboard friendly but also frees the Ministry captive pedestrians. The higher level of influence you have the broader and better the influence you create.
So far Shaun White has proven to be a pretty decent game, that said there is one huge downfall – the bailing aspect. Of which is so PG I feel like I need my parents around watching me play to make sure I don’t fall victim to some negative influences. You ramp up a half-pipe do half a forward flip and just as you’re about to explode your skull into the ground you transform into a million little silver balls. What? No! I want to see my character get hurt dammit!
What kind of skateboarding game doesn’t let you bail? Skate 3 had achievements for the person who bailed the hardest. Tony Hawks produced some grotesque but laughable bails. Shaun White Skateboarding on the other hand is like the softer more sensitive brother.
That is not to say the entire game is spoiled, Shaun White Skateboarding still evokes the right feelings when you chain together so many wicked tricks and coupled with the objective based gameplay it does create a slightly different game sense.
Shaun White will the void for skateboarding games for long enough for the next much more gruesome Skate or more realistic Tony Hawks comes out.
Josh ‘Swift’ Sack
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