Tony Hawk's American Wasteland REVIEW

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland Review (Xbox 360)

The venerable Tony Hawk series makes it's debut on the Xbox 360 with it's latest iteration, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. While the title takes some advantage of the Xbox 360's graphical punch and utilizes the new and improved controller very well, it's exactly the same game our own Clay Shaver reviewed earlier this month.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in an effort to keep this review from simply repeating everything Clay covered, I'll briefly address the differences between the Xbox and Xbox 360 versions.

This won't take long.

First and foremost, the biggest change is not with the game itself, but with the control scheme. The Xbox 360 controller's design now has four buttons (well, two buttons and two triggers) atop the controller, making it more like the PS2's Dual Shock - for which Tony Hawk's control scheme was designed for years ago. The change for the gamer is dramatic and positive. Many more tricks can be pulled off with ease, and the gameplay - while not changing one iota - is improved by default.
The user experience is simply much better with the Xbox 360's controller in hand.

American Wasteland
also receives a nice amount of visual polish in the translation to Xbox 360. Textures are better and brighter, and the games runs at a silky-smooth frame rate at all times, making the game that much more fun to play. Now, it's true that the game does not look "next-gen" - though it doesn't look bad by any stretch, it doesn't look much different than it's Xbox cousin - only playing the game in high-definition will make any substantial improvement, and that's too bad.
It's obviously a port, and two issues from the Xbox version still stand out. First, the subtitles don't match up with what's being spoken by the characters on screen; in fact, it's often not even close. This is simply sloppy, and I'm surprised this wsan't cleaned up.
Second, there's still far too much pop-up occurring during game play. On the Xbox 360, draw distance shouldn't remotely be a problem anymore, and so it's disappointing that Activision and Neversoft chose not to clean this up - it detracts from the game, and upgrading it for the Xbox 360 version would have given the game much more life and vibrancy.

As it stands - every feature, every mode, every... everything in the Xbox 360 version is the same as it's Xbox counterpart; it simply looks better uses a controller more suited to the game's design. The game itself is as fun and varied as ever, and the Xbox Live modes are a riot. American Wasteland may be nothing more than a port, but it's an excellent port of an excellent game - gamers could do (and already have done) much worse with other Xbox 360 launch titles.

Is all that worth full price to you? If you already own Tony Hawk's American Wasteland for the Xbox or PS2, the answer is no.

However, if you don't own it already, then you're missing out. It's pure videogaming fun, and it's definitely worth the purchase price. The Xbox 360 version of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland is - despite the only-modest improvements - the best version of the game available on any system, and can be recommended as such.

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland Score
out of 10