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Old March 21st, 2010, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Review

Wakeboarding HD

Given the lack of coverage and information about the game, I decided to type up some of my thoughts on it now that I've spent some time with it and played through all the missions.

When I first saw the heard about the game and saw the trailer, I figured it would probably be a clone of the early Tony Hawk games design-wise, and I wasn't too far off. For each of the 20 missions, you will have one main objective you have to complete to complete the level, as well as two secondary objectives, unrelated to your progress, but needed for completion and trophies. Moreover, the main objective is tiered into bronze, silver and gold medals depending on how well you accomplished your main objective. To properly "win" a level you have to come out with a gold medal and achieve both secondary objectives.

Where the game fails a bit is in the design of said challenges; they are never as inventive or fun as the Tony Hawk-style games were. No two of the 20 missions are the quite the same, but they revolve around the same archetypes. You have the levels where you collect stars, you have the levels where you run slalom through gates, you have the levels that are score/multiplier related, and you have the levels that are shark related. However, due to the secondary objectives you are always trying to do three things at once, and so the slalom doesn't necessarily get boring since at the same time you're trying to slide for 30 seconds and dodge 3 sharks.

This, however, leads to the biggest cave-out design wise: The game is fucking hard as nails. Getting through the missions with just a bronze medal and paying no head to the secondary objectives are easy enough, but if you're aiming for gold with secondary objectives, expect to spend a lot of time memorizing your path through the level. Furthermore, a gold medal with secondary objectives usually means doing a (near-)perfect run, and as we all now a near-perfect run is skill, but a perfect run is just as much luck, and that is infinitely frustrating.

You get to choose between three characters, two guys and a girl, however they differ in no way, and are just skins. This is disappointing considering most extreme sports games would differentiate between characters by having their stats be different. The game could have been made more interesting, if say for instance one of them could jump higher, one of them turn sharper etc.

Enough of the bad things, let's move on to the good stuff. The engine is amazing. It's just perfect; spot on in every way. The game controls just right, and while the trick system is limited, it does not stop this from being a really well put together game. Moreover, the physics feel just right. Whether it's the water or the jumping, it's really a lot of fun to just ride around, which makes it a real shame the levels can't be played in a free play mode removed from the challenges.

The game also offers offline split-screen multiplayer which I have not been able to try yet.

Quite simply put, for a PSN game this visuals are great. It only runs at 720p, but at a rock solid 60fps that never dips, barring some of the major explosions, but that's hardly noticeable nor does it affect gameplay, The design work is really good, although as caveat for being a budget game all the levels are in the same setting: south-east Asian paradise island thingy. This, of course, allows them to re-use most of the assets again and again, but they still did a really good job of the visuals; the constant 60fps being the most impressive feature.

Now, this is probably the game's weakest area. It's easy to tell it's been completely over-looked. The sound effects themselves are fine, and do a well enough job considering the budget nature of the title. However, the music consists of one single track of ambient electronic music. Extreme sport titles like this really need varied licensed soundtracks, and while it is perfectly understandable that a PSN game couldn’t have that, I feel it's a great let-down that the game doesn't offer me custom-soundtrack option allowing me to play tracks from the hard drive. To close off the sound section there is a voice that says something I can't make out if you win, and "you suck" in an eastern European accent if you lose. It gets old really quickly, and believe me, you will heat "you suck" a lot, and there are only so many times you can retort "and so does your pronunciation" quietly to yourself.

Closing thoughts:
The game is good. It's not great, but it's good. They’ve made a really good engine and a framework for a much better game, and you can't deny it's really great fun to play. However, after they got the game feeling just right, they just pissed together the rest. The objectives, while not really failing, are never as good as they should be, and the sound is not very good at all. It's really frustrating as this game could so easily have been a must buy truly great title, but in this state it's just merely quite good. It will take you a good 5 hours or so to play through the missions, but it will take a lot longer than that if you wish to properly complete the game. It's a shame the game is $20, as for $10 I could recommend it to nearly everyone, but as it stands I can only truly recommend it to extreme sports games enthusiasts.

Gameplay: 6.5/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 3/10

Average: 6/10

Final Score: 7/10
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Old March 21st, 2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Great review!
A question: There are any online mode?

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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:08 PM   #3
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There is no online of any kind, no. Also, since this is a trophy site, and I wasn't too clear on it, don't get this game for the trophies. They are a mixture of time-consuming and outrigth hard.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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Nice job bud. I was thinking about picking this game up because like you I also thought it would be like an early Tony Hawk game. I'm still on the fence though. If it was cheaper I might get it. By the way normally we put our reviews in the User Generated Content section of the site rather than in the actual games forum.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:53 PM   #5
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Great review! Been waiting for a review from somewhere on the game. It does look pretty fun from the trailer that I watched but the price tag is a little bit hefty. I've been umming and ahhing over whether to buy it or not, but no online is a major downer on the game, I'm sure the game would have been pretty epic with online play. I'll give it a bit more thought and maybe wait for a few more reviews before making my final decision.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 06:27 PM   #6
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Well, it really is a borderline thing. I can point to so many flaws and things they could have done better, and indeed I did. I could probably find more as well, but when it all comes down to it it can't change the fact that I've played it for about 8 hours over the week-end, and apart from like half an hour spent screaming at the screen in frustration, I've enjoyed the experience. I docked it 0.5 on my final score because of the price. In hindsight I should probably have docked it a full point and scored it 6.5. At any rate, due to some quirks in the design of the challenges etc, it will never be a game for everyone, however, at $10 it would be far easier to reccomend to anyone who think they may be interested. At the $20 price point all I can say is I got 8 hours of more or less fun play time out of it. I'm pretty burned out on it now, though, but I'll probably go back to it in a while. It's not a bad way to spend $20, but compared to what you can get on the PSN store for $10, there really is no reason why this should cost any more.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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Thanks, I really appreciate the review. It's good that some of these PSN games that have little to no information anywhere on the net we can see some complete information here.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #8
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It's $15, not $20.

Either way, a little too much for me to spend on this title after reading your review and watching some trailers and what not.

Thanks for the review though!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #9
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Kudos for the review. I was curious after seeing the only trailer video if it's fun or not.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #10
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It is fun, but it's not for everybody. It's an odd thing to say maybe, but this is really the kind of game you already konw if you're gonna enjoy. If you looked at it and thought, wow this game is for me, then you'll probably enjoy it. If not, then it's probably too expensive for you to feel you're getting your money's worth.

On a side note, in addition to the price being 15 and not 20 as I wrote, I was also wrong about the game not supporting custom soundtracks. As a consequence, I bump the sound score to 5/10, but the final score for the game is still 7/10.
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