Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
Buy On
  1. A return to the roots for the Tony Hawk games – a return that is hampered by little bugs and the end of the console life cycle.
  2. Even with a handful of new tricks, simply skating around and grinding out huge lines only goes so far, especially when the levels are set up to make doing so incredibly easy.
  3. Though it might not be as great as "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" in my mind, it's still a pleasure to play.
  4. AceGamez
    An old game in new clothing.
  5. Edge Magazine
    The title is just painfully apt: never has a free-roaming structure brought so little to improve the quality of a game's world. The mooted open-ended environments of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland feel like a fallacy, a bleak repackaging for hocking the game to a jaded audience. [Dec 2005, p.107]
  6. games(TM)
    When only a couple of challenges require you to break the million point barrier, only the weakest players will have trouble acing the game in hours. [Christmas 2005, p.107]
  7. Neversoft has done what I would have thought impossible a month ago. They actually created a game that sold me on the sport of skateboarding, at least in video game format.
  8. A very solid game overall. The tweaks to the core gameplay, the addition of the BMX moves, and the inclusion of a massive city to skate around in are definitely appreciated.
  9. With all the content, THAW literally has something for everyone, and thus overcomes its flaws with brilliance.
  10. The controls take a bit of getting used to – if you are a first-time player – but are generally well designed and you should be able to understand them quickly – using them practically to score big points is another matter.
  11. I can see the series getting a little tired, and it doesn't quite have that magical "aura" that the first couple did. But nonetheless there's plenty to keep you busy.
  12. The audio department has always been a strong point for all of the TH games, although this go-round was my favorite. The soundtrack is awesome, with bands like The Doors, Motley Crue, and Dead Kennedys.
  13. The return to more trick based gameplay is welcome, but there doesn't seem to be much more they can do with the series.
  14. 85
    As a whole, the story, attitude and overall focus of the game is much better this time around than what we've seen from the two "THUG" games.
  15. 85
    Sure, you can choose BMX bikes instead of traditional boards, and the soundtrack of punk covers is the best freaking Tony Hawk soundtrack yet, bar none, but whether or not you'll love this game completely depends on how full your Hawk tank already is.
  16. 85
    The story mode seems a little short. It also seemed very easy, which could be part of the reason it seems so short.
  17. The story mode is fun, funny and yet not absurd enough to wonder what drugs were abused during development time.
  18. Game Informer
    Home to some of the greatest gameplay that you'll ever encounter, but unless you compete online, it mostly goes to waste. [Dec 2005, p.154]
  19. I did miss Bam, because I thought the two fit together well. It may be time for the developers and Tony to give the series a rest and come back with something totally new.
  20. Yet another solid addition to a top-selling franchise. A new story mode, a co-op classic mode, Xbox Live and a slew of other modes give this game high replay value.
  21. On an absolute scale, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland is an incredible game.
  22. It adds something that should have been here from the beginning of its time on Xbox -- online play.
  23. Official Xbox Magazine
    Same great gameplay, now with more immersion and no delays. [Holiday 2005, p.92]
  24. Through the deeper story mode, the sense of reality created through the L.A. environments, and the rock-solid Xbox Live experience, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland accomplishes all of those things. Whether it's your first or seventh Tony Hawk purchase, it's still worth every penny.
  25. 80
    With its easy to learn, skill-expanding controls, its awesome graphics and a rich skating environment with almost complete freedom, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland cements Neversoft's position as a leading producer of quality extreme sports games while offering another totally enjoyable and eminently playable epic for general gamers.
  26. The gameplay engine is showing its age, and the graphics hurt the story mode with some pretty poor cut-scenes.
  27. The strange thing is, there is something different about this one, like it was a bit rushed, and that doesn't reward you at all.
  28. Tough call, but I do know that there's more then enough here for pure fans of Tony Hawk games.
  29. 74
    Perhaps it's time that developers Neversoft go away for longer than twelve months and come back with something other than a glorified extension of a series that seems to be short on innovation.
  30. The thought of pulling a combo across an entire city with no load times is very appealing, but unless you have perfect balance, nimble fingers, and patience, you probably won't pull it off.
  31. Tony, you are lookin' haggard. Even though I like American Wasteland's country-boy-in-the-city story line much better than last year's World Destruction Tour's, the annual sequels will drive this franchise into the ground if publisher Activision doesn't take a break, and soon.
  32. The new gameplay additions like the bert slide, nata spins, and the BMX bike really don't make the game any deeper than the other recent TH games. Add to that the short story and classic modes and some disappointing and over-hyped features and what you have is a Tony Hawk game that fails to live up to the expectations set by its predecessors.
  33. Play Magazine
    A free-play mode returns Hawk to his origins and here, the game does not disappoint one bit with its go forth and explore approach. [Dec 2005, p.66]
  34. If you own the prior games, don't bother. If you're new to the franchise, give it a rent.
  35. With the braindead goals, non-charismatic cast of characters, and relatively limited level list, the game is unfortunately relegated to rental status, with its best points making us reminiscent of the days when you actually had to be good to beat a Tony Hawk game.
  36. 90
    So, is THAW the best Tony Hawk ever? No, but it's definitely better than the last two. It's a throwback to the old-school Hawk series, yet it's a compromise at the same time.
  37. The game's vast city landscape will take hours to submerge through, and the various modes will keep you busy. It's not blazingly new, but it still feels just right.
  38. 60
    Unfortunately, there's very little actual innovation in the gameplay here, and the overall package is just starting to feel old.
  39. Computer Games Magazine
    All told, it's no big loss if you decided to give Tony Hawk a rest for a year. [Jan 2006, p.91]
  40. Kudos to Neversoft and Activision for creating an amazing game, the sole competitor in its self-created genre, and curses upon them for distilling it to the point of absurdity.

Awards & Rankings

#47 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Sam
    May 23, 2006
    The THPS and rather short THUG series were great, and I was expecting a similar game with some different twists to call it a new game. I got The THPS and rather short THUG series were great, and I was expecting a similar game with some different twists to call it a new game. I got a new game alright, but just a different one than I expected. Basically, the whole game feels like you've won 100% of your Dad's inherritance, but he only had 500 dollars in it. Full Review »
  2. SamM.
    May 7, 2006
    never played a better game i dont no what the others are on about tony hawks has awsome graphix and is almost real this is a most buy.
  3. KyleL.
    Feb 10, 2006
    One word to describe: Stupid! What are these guys rying to do? Cant they just make a realistic/good graphic skateboard game?