Come on in - the water is fine in the full review
of the Xbox latest surfing game TransWorld Surf.
To be perfect honest I am not the biggest fan of extreme
sports games. Sure I enjoyed SSX and back in the day I enjoyed the Extreme
Sports series on the Playstation 1. While I appreciated the game design
and over all style that the Tony Hawk series provided it never really
interested me. The only other surfing game I played was the classic Town
and Country Surf design on the NES perhaps it was because I was raised
in frigid Michigan which is more known for its lakes rather then its
waves. With that being said I really wasn't expecting a great deal from
TransWorld Surf features several modes that extend the playing
time: Pro Tour, Free Surf, Single Run and finally a Multiplayer. In the
Pro tour mode you can make a selection from 13 pro surfers each with
their unique strengths and weaknesses. You can choose from Cory Lopez,
Chris Ward, Taj Burrow, Tim Curran, Rochelle Ballard, Shawn Barron, Shane
Dorian, Fred Patacchia, Jason Collins, Dan Malloy, Christian Fletcher,
Andy Irons and Taylor Knox. You will have a chance to surf in the games
9 different locations such as Fort Point, Kirra Point, and Witches Rock,
at 2 different times of the day. For each of the different locations
(and times) you're given different goals that you must achieve before
you can continue on to different locations - each location has a point
level which you must reach. There is a good assortment of objectives
for example some ask you to perform combos or maintain a long barrel
run. Each location has a specific objective that can be somewhat difficult
You can compete against 3 other surfers in a three-minute
contest. In this mode you will be judged on the overall quality of your
run and your skills. Points can be deducted if you wipe out or collide
with the other surfers. Another touch the game has added may be familiar
to some. The game also has you performing tricks in front of a photographer,
much like you have to do in Microsoft's snowboarding game Amped.
The multiplayer level also offers players a chance for 2 players to compete
in the pro tour mode as well as the free surf mode. In my opinion the inclusion
of the multiplayer mode is somewhat surprising being that Surfing is typically
a solitary sport. But you will be able to surf with 3 of your best buddies.
"...allows you to really immerse yourself in the environment."
One of the most unique features in the game is the karma
meter. The area that you're surfing in feels like a living, breathing
world. You will encounter dolphins, and a variety of other sea life that
you normally would see at the ocean. You will also see other surfers
and encounter both natural and man-made debris, which you have to avoid.
The way the karma meter works is this: it moves between good and bad
based on how well you treat both surfers and the animal life around you.
If you have bad karma, the animals and the surfers will be out to make
your experience a negative one. In some cases Sharks may even attack
Sound wise, TransWorld Surf does an outstanding job of capturing
the mood that the developers set out to achieve. From the music to the
finer details, TransWorld Surf allows you to really immerse yourself
in the environment. The music soundtrack is very well done and probably
one of the best I have seen in any game. Although it doesn't allow you
to use your own play lists you will find a huge selection to choose from.
From Hip Hop to heavy metal you will be hard pressed to complain about
the musical selections. The various comments from the surfers are kept
to a minimum, and a little bit more variety would have been an improvement,
but not necessary.
Without a doubt, TransWorld Surf has some of the best looking
water effects seen on any console. The water ripples and reacts realistically
to your surfer's actions. The surf uses high-resolution textures very
effectively along with the Xbox bump mapping ability. I can guarantee
that you wont find better looking water anywhere else. Frame rate wise,
TransWorld surf runs at a rock solid 60 frames per second. Your surfer
is also animated very well. The way your surfer swims on his board is
particularly well done. The locations all look unique and different from
the other locations. I have been to San Francisco and the way they captured
the Golden Gate Bridge is spot on. One area that is typically ignored
by people is the production effects. Not here. The menus are laid out
intelligently and are very sharp looking. Everything is done very well
and you can tell they spent time polishing the interface.
Control wise, Trans world surf can be very unforgiving.
I found myself eating surf more then I was actually on the boards. The
controls are very reminiscent of other board games like Tony Hawk and
SSX. The aerial tricks can be done in conjunction with X button and the
right and left triggers. The A button is used to jump, Y is used to grind,
B is used to pull off laybacks and X is also used to slow down. Players
have a varied assortment of moves, which you can then connect into combos.
One of the problems that I found was that the controls are not as responsive
or precise as a game of this type warrants. With lackluster control the
20 or so hours it takes to complete the career mode can be a frustrating
experience for some players.
Just don't call him Mr. Drippy.
TransWorld Surf: The Scores
Overall, Trans World Surf scores high with its graphics
and its overall production values. But falls in the most
important category of them all and that's the gameplay.
With unresponsive controls and some dubious choices regarding
objectives during the career mode TransWorld Surf can
be somewhat frustrating to play. For those of you who
like surfing and have the patience to overlook the frustrating
controls TransWorld surf can be the game you're looking