Players will choose from a numerous list of events and take to the water in order to score ridiculous combos and meet a variety of objectives.
For those unfamiliar, Wakeboarding is a sport in which you are placed on a board and pulled forward by a speedboat. The speed of the movement causes the board to glide on the water and naturally — where there are boards and movement there are stunts.
In Wakeboarding HD, the ocean is a little more interesting than your bog-standard trip to Bognor Regis. Not only is the sun always shining, but there are numerous ramps, obstacles and, well, giant rubber ducks to jump over.
There are 20 levels in Wakeboarding HD, each with menacingly difficult sub-challenges. You'll need to perfect every route to top the online leaderboards.
Wakeboarding HD is available from the Playstation Store for 14.99/$14.99.
Given Wakeboarding HD is a game very much aligned with water - it's paramount that the game handles its water physics well. Thankfully, the water is one of the game's strongest suites, with rich, realistic waves lapping themselves up your board. It looks great too, with the serene tropical vista surroundings reflecting in the ocean. Spray flicks into the air as you land particularly large jumps, and the water's strength is enough to pull you off course — just as it would in real-life. It's a stunning technical achievement, and it's going to whet [heh - Ed] your appetite until someone finally comes along and makes that PS3 jet-ski game we've all been craving.
Wakeboarding HD plays a lot like a classic Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game. You'll approach ramps, hold X to launch and then execute tricks with the other face buttons. The variety of tricks on offer here is less than you'd expect from a classic Tony Hawk game, but they're still fun to execute and are well animated. The principle of the game's scoring structure is to keep a multiplier active by collecting stars, destroying objects or performing tricks before the chain has time to count down. However, tricks are not often the key focus of each level. Each "stage" will have a primary objective, and numerous sub objectives. The primary objective (be it collecting stars, or landing tricks) determines whether you score a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal, while the sub-objectives net you even more points. To progress, you'll merely have to score the Bronze medal of the primary objective, but those completing sub-objectives and landing massive score chains will earn the most points and subsequently top the leader-boards. Naturally, it's no easy feat completing all of the game's objectives without, erm, water-planting, thus the game demands an obscene level of perfection to achieve the top-tier scores.
Completing objectives and landing tricks is difficult. As such, we imagine that's why Creat made the decision to keep Wakeboarding HD a quite slow paced game. However, some of the later stages decide to turn up the heat a bit, and push the game's engine to its max. These stages are the best in the game, as you literally speed through the game's colourful settings with lashings of motion-blur heightening the sensation. It's a shame there isn't more of this really, as the game's engine can obviously cope.
Where the Tony Hawk comparison is less kind on Wakeboarding HD is freedom. In Tony Hawk you were essentially allowed to go where you wanted, exploring the environments for the best spots to score tricks. That's not so in Wakeboarding HD. Due to the nature of the sport you're totally on rails throughout. The game's also very slow. This allows you to complete each level's varying objectives but, like we said above, the best levels are when Wakeboarding HD is going at full pelt.
Some of Wakeboarding HD's objectives aren't very clearly defined. You're given a quick screen to glance at while the game loads and then expected to understand from a three word description what the winning criteria is. Sure, some of the objectives are obvious ("Go through the gates") but others are less clear, resulting in some trial and error.
Wakeboarding HD is clearly a very complete experience. The graphics are phenomenal for a PSN title, and the amount of content is respectable. Still, we can't help but feel that the price is still a little high for what you're getting here. The levels are all very similar thematically and the gameplay - while fun - isn't particularly complex. Still, there's plenty of meat to the game, and if you're a perfectionist you should get a good few hours of play out of this.
What do you get when you take Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and mix it with WaveRace 64? Nope, it's not a trick question: the answer's of course Wakeboarding HD - a super-fun objectives based extreme sports game that perhaps should make more use of its engine's potential to go really, really fast.