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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Infogrames

 

Developer

Angel Studios

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

April 2002

 

 

- A very Zen gaming experience

- Real surfers, real beaches

- Great Soundtrack

 

 

- Lackluster graphics

- Boring objectives in career mode (scare away three seagulls?)

- Competitions feature worst commentary ever

 

 

Review: Transworld Surf (XBox)

Review: Transworld Snowboarding (XBox)

Review: Jet X2O (Playstation 2)

 

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Transworld Surf

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Though not as visually polished as its Xbox counterpart, Transworld Surf (TS) for the PS2 is a solid game that manages to take the Tony Hawk formula out to sea and still feel shiny and new.  The wave graphics are solid; the soundtrack is marvelous; and, most importantly, the game play is tight and intuitive.  

 

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Transworld Surf’s career mode bears a striking resemblance to the Tony Hawk games.  The player begins by selecting a surfer from a collection of real-life surfing personalities.  At first, only one location is open.  Completing a certain number of objectives on each level opens new locations.  Sound familiar?  One slight variation has each level broken up into a morning and an evening set.  The two sets require different objectives, and when a certain objective is met (exploiting the photo ops on in each set), a competition for that beach opens up.

 

The controls of TS also mimic those of the Tony Hawk games.  The “x” button is used to load up for a jump, the “square” button is used to stall in order to enter a tube, the “triangle” button initiates the surfing equivalent of grinding (the floater), and the “circle” button controls snap turns.  The shoulder buttons (in a variety of combinations) control grabs.  Overall, any player familiar with other extreme sports games will find the controls simple and intuitive.

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- Playstation 2 Games Reviews

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The graphics of TS are not great examples of what can be achieved on the PS2.  The character models are pixilated, anti-aliasing has clearly not been included, and all graphic elements besides the water are bland at best.  The water, however, is quite impressive.  The ocean undulates perfectly as the surfer searches out his or her next wave.  Once a wave arrives, it crashes along beautifully with frothing foam along breadth.  Riding inside a tube with the wave crashing down around the surfer is particularly impressive.  In fact, the waves themselves are so impressive that the rest of the graphics can largely be ignored.

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The sounds here are as much a mixed bag as the sights.  Though the ambient sounds, including the waves crashing along, are simply average, the soundtrack is marvelous.  It features tracks from The Plug Uglies, The Stitches, The Line, and Hopelifter to name a few.  I enjoyed nearly every track, and together they set a wonderful mood by which to surf.

 

The biggest problem I had with TS was that I found the competitions to be very frustrating.  It was tempting to just grab a wave and bust tricks on it for the duration (again, Tony Hawk style), which simply doesn’t work.  To win a competition, it is imperative that the player spends a limited amount of time on each wave, for judges grade the surfer on his or her best three waves.  Though this is clearly based on how real surfing contests work, it is not particularly fun as implemented in this game.  I would often find myself having to abandon a wave that I was truly rocking on in order to catch another wave.  I also found myself getting low scores on the third wave, level after level, as it was so hard to leave enough time for it while also getting a high score on the early waves.  Still, since the competitions are basically extras, it may not be that big of a deal for most players.

 

transworld-surf-ps2-3.jpg (26303 bytes)          transworld-surf-ps2-4.jpg (27315 bytes)

 

Competitions aside, it is the surfing itself that makes TS a worthwhile gaming experience.  No surfing game to date has re-created the fun of surfing so accurately.  Clearly, like the Tony Hawk games, surfers in the game do some impossible feats, but unlike the Tony Hawk games, nothing in TS is so ridiculous that it is comical.  In fact, it is quite possible in Free Surf mode (where points don’t matter) to surf a wave just like you would surf it in real life and still have a ton of fun with the game.  In fact, after I opened most of the levels up, this is exactly what I did.  Without the prodding of the annoying announcer pushing me along, I found the game to be a peaceful, relaxing experience.

 

Despite some minor flaws, Transworld Surf is the best surfing game ever made.  Multi-console gamers may want to consider the Xbox version because of the slicker graphics (though I’ll take the Dual Shock 2 over the Xbox controller for extreme sports games any time).  If you have access to either system, I recommend you check the game out.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

- Tolen Dante

(June 16, 2002)

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