Best in the series
It's nothing to rave about, but it's a good story about a skater from out of town leaving his old life behind to try and make it big in Los Angeles, where he gets taken in by a bunch of local skate punks trying to clean up and rebuild a legendary skate park that time forgot.
Skating and running have never felt smoother. Not much has been added to the trick book, except a few hilarious special tricks and the Bert Slide. Parkour has been added this year, giving you a much better reason to get and stay off your board. Running now gives you the ability to do front and back tucks, run up walls, which enables you to do wall flips mid-wall run, and as always, you can shimmy your way across ledges. BMX bikes have also been added this year, the trick system isn't nearly as deep as the trick system on the skateboard, but it's quite fun nonetheless.
As always, there is story mode, where you embark on the aforementioned story, which takes around 5 to 7 hours to complete, not counting the side missions which enable you to collect pieces for the skate park you and your buddies are re-building.
Classic mode returns with a bunch of new old school goals featured in the Pro Skater games, such as high, pro, and sick scores, trick over a specific gap, and collect the SKATE letters.
Free Skate/High Score is pretty much self explanatory, you can either skate your heart out for as long as you want, or you can attempt to set a high score for the level that you're playing in (this sub-mode of Free Skate formerly known as Single Run in the first four games).
Multiplayer lets you team up with a buddy and shred your way through L.A. or a level of your own creation. Game modes include
Trick Attack, where you have to score more points than your opponent, whoever has the most points at the end of the time limit wins. Graffiti has you and your opponent busting tricks on ramps, rails, whatever you can trick on, and after that you "own" that object, but if your opponent does a trick on the object that scores more points, it will become his or hers. Free Skate lets you and your buddy skate around any unlocked levels to your hearts content. There are a few modes here that I haven't played (I don't play multiplayer much), and I've never played online.
You can customize your skater, create your own skate park, and create your own graphic, which can be used as your "tag" and can be used on your skaters deck, shirt, and hat. All of the modes are very fun, and there are tons of parts and options to choose from.
Across all of the Tony Hawk games, both released before and after this one. the soundtrack in American Wasteland is the absolute best. Made up of punk, rock, alternative, metal, and hip-hop, it suits the game perfectly. Featuring artists like Rise Against, Emanuel, Rob Sonic, and my personal favorite, Green Day, this is a great soundtrack to skate, bike, and run to.
Overall, this is one of the best games in the Tony Hawk series, and is a lot better than what jaded critics and fans say. I'd recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the skateboarding genre, and it's pretty inexpensive nowadays.
***All opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the user, and might not be the same as everyone else's.