Like always, the Tony Hawk
games have been driven by button combinations that allow you to perform sick tricks and score major points, reaching goals that seem unattainable at times. Youíll be grinding, manualing, jumping, flipping, and transferring your way to great feats. While the gameplay is thoroughly unrealistic with death-defying drops and truly impossible moves, the fun-factor of American Wasteland
is amazing and addictive, as always.
While you can play the classic mode of Tony Hawk, the heart of American Wasteland lies in its Story Mode. Here, youíll start out as a young rookie skater, eventually budding into a professional. For veterans of the series, the monotony of learning tricks in your career could be considered boring, but for Hawk newcomers, these early training "missions" can serve a great purpose. American Wasteland is a completely free-roaming style game, and each mission is initiated by the user. When you talk with the residents of the city, you can earn many things, including money and respect, and develop yourself into a stellar skater.
Along with the skateboard tricks you can perform, youíll also be able to cruise around town on a BMX-style bike. These bicycles are laying around town for the taking, and certain missions are available only to players on bikes. The tricks, while similar in nature to the skateboard, do vary enough to almost make this two games in one. Personally, I find controlling the bike much more difficult (I always have since the days of Dave Mirraís BMX) than the board, but both are fun in their own right. At any time, you can switch back to your skateboard with the touch of a button, so you donít have to worry about running back to find your board. And speaking of running, you can also easily hop off your transportation and hoof it through the city, which makes reaching higher places much easier than in old Tony Hawk games by allowing you to walk up stairs.
Xbox Live is full of game modes to keep you active skaters rolling too. Youíll be able to play up to 8 players in ranked or unranked competitions in everything from Trick Attack to King of the Hill. There are a decent 12 game types to choose from, so thereís sure to be something for everyone. I do wish there were more levels to enter, but hopefully that will increase in time.