Shaun White Skateboarding

Shaun White Skateboarding Preview for PC

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Shaun White Skateboarding screenshot
Shaun White Skateboarding screenshot

Shaun's development team has clearly been inspired by Skate's FlickIt control scheme, too, although there have been a few tweaks made along the way. Hitting a button causes you to jump, for instance, which makes grinds effortless – but if you want to trick then you've got to pull the stick in various directions. Your bread and butter Ollie is still down and then up, thankfully.

But there's a clear impetus on making Skate's challenging controls more extravagant and way more accessible to the average player: rails are easier to hit, jumps are easier to trick over and it's far more probable that you'll be able to get about the place without breaking both your legs every thirty seconds.

Tricks have to be unlocked with XP, which is earned by doing tasks set to you by the game's cast of characters: rescue Bob (owner of the local skate shop, probable stoner) from the clutches of the Ministry, unlocking his store in the process, and you'll score enough cash to purchase the Hand Flip, Varial Kickflip and Laser Flip. You can also perform a selection of tweaks and grabs, as well as hold down R2 to modify your basic tricks into more extravagant (though far more dangerous) combo boosters and point scorers.

As is the way with the genre, it's all about achieving it with style. The game takes it a step further by introducing the Flow meter: dull yellows can be enlivened with a basic level 1 flow, for instance, but mottled blues can only be jazzed up by getting your combo meter high enough to reach level 2. Keep combos ticking by performing endless chains of boring Ollies and you'll get there in the end, but genuine gratification comes from manoeuvring and navigating obstacles, criss-crossing benches, grinding railings and leaping from rooftops with a gorgeous, smooth and uninterrupted action.

For the most part it works well – jumps have enough spring, grinds handle well and there's even a nice spinning meter so you can pirouette around in the air without much concern. Movement speed feels a touch slow in this preview build, though, and no matter how much I tried to accelerate my skater always had a bit too much of a hard time when it came to getting up half-pipes.

There's never the opportunity to build up as much momentum as in Skate, either, leaving the game currently devoid of its own version of the amazing and terrifying bits where the camera goes blurry and you can hear the wind whooshing past. It means you're less likely to trip on the pavement and go cartwheeling into a wall, but taking away some of the danger also removes some of the gratification from the times you do manage to get it right.

Shaun White Skateboarding is obviously trying to claw out the middle ground between Skate's genre-shifting realism and Tony Hawk's over-the-top glory days. It stays challenging while always remaining accessible, and while it lacks some of Skate's more advanced features it compensates by throwing in a ridiculously charming campaign mode and never, ever compromising on its sense of fun. There's enough promise in the opening sequence to make you forget Shaun White Snowboarding ever happened and, if the game can scale its over-the-top propensities with a player's advancing skill over the course of its 15-hour campaign, it'll be on the right track to becoming one of the most daft, ridiculous and entertaining examples of the genre.

Shaun White Skateboarding is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii on October 1.

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6 Comments

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IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

Seeing as we have one of those ludicrous Tony Hawk Ride skateboard decks at the office I want more games that support that. Maybe somebody will one day make something vaguely enjoyable...
Posted 00:51 on 12 August 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ clangod

I agree with you mate. Me being an actual skater I love the Skate franchise for what it is.
Posted 22:56 on 11 August 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ SexyJams

I guess its just because I like skateboarding (and snowboarding) games which can represent it in a raw form. Something a bit more authentic and technically relevant to the genre or subject matter.

I like that the game is trying to re-invent by introducing some really creative ideas into the genre and the opportunuties for gamers are a little more diverse, but personally my interest lies with shredding a more realistic scenario as opposed to:

"... Case in point: you can grind across thin air. Bold green rails make up parts of the terrain, and when you jump onto these starting points they snake outwards into twisting, winding constructions that can easily take you from street level to rooftops without the development team having to fuss about with making such a thing architecturally possible.".

I'm not saying I think Shaun White Skateboarding will be a bad game. Because I simply do not know. While the idea of farts of colour as I'm shredding the streets does have creative merit, I do not have any personal interest in all of the fanciful bullsh*t that goes along with it.

I will not begrudge it any success if earned but I can't get excited about skateboarding becoming the Okami of extreme sports. Totally just my opinion mate and I expect there would be a few to question my reasoning. I guess it was impossible to convey that in my first post...:\
Posted 22:51 on 11 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ clangod

Dunno why you're so turned off;
it sounds really interesting to me.
Posted 19:37 on 11 August 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

No thanks. Just makes me happy that the Skate franchise exists.
Posted 17:10 on 11 August 2010
erebusstyx's Avatar

erebusstyx

Sounds interesting, I always thought a mix between Skate and old Tony Hawks games would make for the optimal skating game IMO.
Posted 14:43 on 11 August 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 01/10/2010
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Extreme Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 4,403 37
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