Transworld Surfing, despite its flaws, is still an enternaining game, and is arguably the best surfing sim out there.
While in Skateboarding or BMX it's all about the tricks and stunts you're able to do (no flaming or saying I like surfing above these ones, because I skated for about four years and tried BMX as well), the truth is in Surfing stunts are left in the second lines: it's all about the feeling you get while surfing, that can't be offered in any other experience. Obviously, this is a bit harder to portrait than Skateboarding grinds.
I was offered Transworld Surf two years ago, in Christmas. It wasn't a game I would feel compelled to buy, but as I was offered it, why not try it?
Just like the career mode in THPS, Transworld Surf presents us a 'Pro Tour' option, where you basically pick up a pro surfer, and start surfing in different spots, each one with its unique wave. In each spot, you'll have eight goals to fulfill (four at daytime, four at the evening), two or more photo-ops that, if picked, enable you the possibility of competing in a tournment on that spot, trying to earn a faster, smoother board. Sounds easy, right?
From the moment you start exploring the menus and access the game itself, you will learn one of its biggest problems: It takes HUGE loading times. The menus are easy to understand, but it takes you lots of times getting yourself through them, and the loading times for the surfing sessions are longer than the average games'. It's sad, because this is also a game for short gaming sessions, and spending minutes loading the game instead of playing it is not good at all.
Visually, the game is good. Actually, one of the most difficult textures to recreate in gaming history - water, and waves as well - are greatly executed. Some spots look terrific like Teahupoo's beautiful swell. However, it happens that there are some stuff that aren't quite good. The bottom of the sea is always the same: endless rows of sand. For anyone who surfs or has seen surfing, this isn't just right. There are some glitches found when colliding with solid objects like other surfers, exposed reef sections or ruins. However, yet another good aspect is that the waves aren't empty, as it is full of life, unlike its bottom: Surfers, bodyboarders, seagulls and other creatures fill the ocean, as they fill the game's beaches.
The gameplay is nice, as well, and probably the best in surfing simulators. You press X to ollie or to air (at the lip of the wave), Triangle to do a floater, Circle to cutback and Roundhouse and Square to stall. Doing the tricks in different segments of the wave enables you to pull off different stunts. Adding this to the barrels and the special tricks, there's a lot of stuff to do while surfing. A neat point on the gameplay is, while other surf sims get you back on a wave when you bail, here in TS you'll just be back on your board, ready to paddle to other waves. This is specially nice in freeplay, as you'll get the feeling of paddling, duck-diving, and positioning yourself to the next wave. In timed sessions, it's a time waster, because you'll still lose a lot of time in this procedure. In those circumstances, just press Triangle, and a nice lady will pick you up in her jetski, so you can travel to the waves with no effort.
When it comes to sounds, I got to say to you that the music is good, but it has a somewhat short setlist, and it might get repetitive, 'cause it's all the same genre. There are no voices, except for the commentaries in competition mode, and those are nice. The effects are excellent, though.
Graphics // 8
Arguably the best the game has to offer, beautiful visuals not affected by minor flaws. Special refference to the spots on Teahupoo, and G-Land which are awesome.
Gameplay // 7
While it gives you the feeling it couldn't be MUCH better, truth is surfing is a lot more than this. But if you look behind this, you'll find a good game.
Sound // 7
Nice soundtrack and effects, altough the music gets slightly annoying.
Lifespan/Replay Value // 8
The Career mode is challenging enough, and the free surf feature is nice for some relaxing gaming moments. There are some extra features (promoting videos and surfers' bios) to unlock, and they should keep you within the game for a while. Entertaining.
Reviewer's Tilt // 8
It's hard to recreate virtually some sports, and surfing is undoubtelly one of them. However, it's noticeable that Transworld Surf tries its best, and that is enough to entertain the player.
Nice graphics, and simple gameplay
The free surf feature is nice for short sessions
Plenty of extras, and surfers bios'
Loading takes about 1/4 of your sessions.
Some graphical glitches, and lack of detail in some textures
Verdict // 7.6
Nice for playing occasionally, Transworld Surf is arguably the best surfing simulator out there. Its major flaw - not being able to capture all the essence of surfing - is compreensible, and the others aren't too relevant. For surfers and those who never touched a board.