A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has a strong anti-establishment attitude. Players steal signature items from places around L.A. to build the ultimate skate park, running from the cops and security in order to do so. Players make cash by spray painting graffiti on walls. In addition, players can hit each other with skateboards, and the game's outrageous moves lead to spectacular crashes, complete with blood. Players can deck themselves out with name-brand skate boarding clothes and equipment, such as Vans. Finally, the game is online enabled (except for GameCube version), which means players can run into unpredictable language and behavior.
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What's it about?
TONY HAWK: AMERICAN WASTELAND offers players several modes of play. In story mode, players take on the role of a country bumpkin, just arrived in L.A. and attempting to make it big on the skateboarding circuit. To fit in, players have to develop a pretty serious attitude. Although the game has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, players often finds themselves on the wrong side of the law -- from stealing random objects for their skate park to tagging walls with graffiti in order to make some cash, to even running from the cops.
In classic mode, players face challenges, such as achieving a high score within a set amount of time. And a multiplayer mode allows players to face off against one another in variety of small games, such as trick attack and king of the hill. There are several BMX bike missions mixing things up. And a map editor is included so players can make their own skate park designs.
Is it any good?
A long string of successes propelled the Tony Hawk series of skateboarding games into a mega-franchise. Packed to the half-pipe with goodies, Tony Hawk: American Wasteland is perhaps the best effort in years. The skating is fantastic, and several modes of play keep players engaged, from a solid story mode to exciting online play.
Overall the game proves, hands down, it is the best skateboarding game out there. Parents may cringe over some of the bad behavior, but teens will love the outrageous tricks, the wide-open world to explore, and the first-class gameplay that they have come to expect from Tony Hawk games.
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