(As seen on G2unit)
Between Tony Hawk and Skate series the market for skateboard video games already seems a bit crowded and counting only on Shaun White's name might certainly not be enough for a new comer to reach our consoles. Ubisoft Montreal guys obviously realized that and Shaun White Skateboarding comes with something new: a story! Ok, a very basic one but nevertheless enough to expect more than the usual tricks compilation for motivation.
Yippee-ki-yay ! But ... how are we gonna do that by the way? Thanks to you skateboard of course; and also to a special super power of yours which is called the "flow". A power you will have to discover and master through the different missions you will be asked to complete by your new mentor, Jonah. Performing tricks allows you to bring back colors in the city. Should you do several amazing tricks in a row, your flow gets higher and you can then awake citizen nearby from their zombie trance or even transform the city itself in a giant skate-park altering building, roads and stuff in your vicinity in order to get new ramps, bumps and curves.
And that's only a starter cause in this city where dreams are prohibited, you'll learn through the lessons of Jonah to free you mind and in this city where dreams are prohibited, you discover kind of imaginary ramps, rails or even surfaces that you can model however you want. They are just waiting for your wells to become tangible!
Mastering for good your capacities you'll be able to create rails from thin air, transforming then a deadly fall in an awesome ride or even, skating above water!
Of course all these tricks are not given for free, they are needed! Even if you always have several ways to complete your missions, soon they'll imply to reach complex destination with most of time, the highest level of flow. Yes, one thing I haven't said is that if you're stopping your tricks, your flow is going down. This means your character is jumping constantly, which doesn't help when you have think about your itinerary. In the end my TV was getting scarred (yes! my TV has feelings too. I know it, mmkay?) about receiving my paddle in it when I happened to crash myself deadly on the ground. In these times Shaun White Skateboarding becomes as annoying as the other skate games where you have no other goal than technical ones.
But the "story" and the fun of the game actually made me go till the end in about fifteen hours with several of them spent in pure exploration as well (hopefully once the game finished, you can skate freely in New New Harmony to hunt successes you've missed yet).
I really enjoyed this solo mode and that's a good thing cause, on the other side, the multi-player is ... well, e-m-p-t-y! In one week I've played the game on my Xbox 360, there is not one time I've tried when I've been able to meet another skater on the LIVE. Not one!
I've then tried the four different modes on split screen but if they might be fun online, they're quite boring with only two players. Especially when you're really not found of split screen gaming like me (try to take both a ramp on split screen mode and you'll know what I'm talking about).
Really a big disappointment, especially after having spent 30u on Uplay for the "Free skate" mode and seen their that I'll most probably never get the last Uplay/Xbox common success I've missed which, like all multiplayer successes, can only be won online...
Anyway I do like Shaun White Skateboarding and think it deserves clearly more players than the terrifying emptiness I've encountered on the LIVE emplies. The atmosphere is here, cooler than in any skate game I've played to and you have to test first a flow wave at maximum level which makes trees and cars nearby shake when you succeed your figure before saying I'm wrong about that. Do that and you won't contradict me. I'm quite positive about that.
A well earned 4/6 for me, sadly moderated by the empty multiplayer area. If you get the game on Xbox 360, don't forget to add me (ChevalierBayard) for some skate contests!