Shaun White Skateboarding

Brings new meaning to the word grind

Envision a good idea as a tiny, precious, sparkling stone. Then imagine a cement mixer slowly reversing up to it and emptying gallons upon gallons of lukewarm vomit on top. The vomit of a thousand people. A thousand people who have all just eaten a Doner Kebab-flavoured Pot Noodle.

That is what Shaun White Skateboarding is like. This is a dreadful skateboarding game. That one good idea, the ability to reshape rails and ramps, is trampled underfoot by a stampede of crushing design decisions, terrible writing and rotten visuals. Things don't start off well, with controls that are woolly and imprecise compared to the genre-dominating Skate series.

There's zero satisfaction to pulling off a trick and the hobbled multiplier system means there's little penalty for just hammering the same trick over and over. The introduction of the flow system early in the game seems innocuous at first, but it will quickly become the bane of your boarding existence.

Essentially, you have to build a certain level of flow to pass obstacles, but not only does flow decrease any time you're not actively pulling tricks, at certain points in the story the game will arbitrarily bust your flow meter to zero and then ask you to build it up again. Cue another teeth gnashingly frustrating session on the nearest half pipe...


It would help if there was more imagination in the level design. Barring the funfair area, every slice of the city uses the same handful of bland textures. One of the central ideas of the game is that you bring colour and life to a drab world, but frankly, we found it more visually striking when it was grey. There's little in the way of exciting lines to carry you around quickly, either, meaning you spend a lot of time simply getting around the large and indistinct areas. It's like somehow all of the fictional Ministry's propaganda about being average and unremarkable began to affect the design team as well. That's the only explanation for why they made all the missions within the maps cripplingly dull too.

These major problems are orbited by a series of smaller problems, trapped in this awful game's gravitational pull. The supporting cast are the most irritating characters we've ever encountered. You earn flow even when you fail to land a trick and skin your knees. Characters and pedestrians alike refer to a female player character as 'brother', 'buddy' and 'fellow'.

Oh, and when you bail heavily there's no ragdoll animation, you just transform into a load of balls. Which is appropriate, really, as that's exactly what this game is.

The verdict

More painful than a 720 faceplant

  • Shaping is neat
  • 'Free your mind' music
  • The visuals
  • The controls
  • Everything else
Xbox 360