In a game about bringing color to and eliminating conformity from the world, you'd think there'd be a be a little more variety. Shaun White Skateboarding, the latest title from the titular skater, thrusts you into a world of bleak misery, where the conformist Ministry has removed color and inspiration from the world, leaving a dismal landscape and oppressed citizenry. You, as a rookie skater (and friend of White), are the one tasked with bringing the world back to its former glory.
This mechanic, one of building up 'flow' (your combo), and using it to spread color around the world, is what drives most of the game. You'll explore the city you're thrust into, meeting characters and completing quests while skating about, eliminating the drab blue from the cityscape, replacing clean walls with graffitti and ministry signboards with Wendy's posters.
I'm not really sure how replacing one monolithic organization's propoganda with another is in your objectives but...whatever.
Anyway, so that's pretty much the premise of the game, and the skating is how you accomplish it. Unfortunately, the game suffers in this regard; this is troubling, given its placement as a skating game. Moves and their corresponding animations feels awkward, and have no real sense of accomplishment to them. In fact, you actually have to purchase moves as your progress through the game in order to use them, which is a tiresome mechanic to have to play through.
Changing the world into a colorful place, which is done through skating tricks, isn't much of a challenge either. A simple ollie will have the same effect as a huge combo, so just constantly jumping up and down will generally do everything you want. There're also special trails to follow, green arrows and ramps scattered throughout the world that you can grind and ride to reach hard-to-find locations.
In theory, this sounds kind of neat, since it sounds like you can find new locations and interesting places to go. In practice, however, these rails and ramps are nothing more than another path to take, since there's only one place that they can ever go. In other words, they could've just been built as part of the environment and served the exact same purpose with less needless flash. It feels like that with these additions to the world, the urge to explore the area is diminished greatly, since any interesting place probably just has one of these green paths leading to it.
There isn't a lot of inspiration to the secondary gameplay either: quests and such feel repetitive and pointless, and aren't a lot of fun to go through. They're not terrible, just bland, finding yourself running yet another fetch quest, or some collection quest, or what have you. There's just no originality to it. Doing these quests unlocks the ability to pick up customizations and moves for your character, so if you want yet another branded shirt, then they actually give you a purpose. For the most part, however, after the first few quests they're just worth passing up.
There just isn't a whole lot going for Shaun White: Skateboarding. It's a game that's, at best, bland and uninspired, and stuck in the past. With the quality of skateboarding titles that are out today, this game just doesn't do enough to stand out from the crowd.