Though your job is to free minds from the prison of The Ministry, you’ll brighten up shop fronts and release them from their shutters — since when has consumerism been an opponent of capitalism? Ubisoft swaps pearl-white snow for cement-grey streets in its latest boardwalk.
The personality of skateboarding culture, the throwaway attitude and anti-establishment, live-free ethos, has been the prism for games about urban adventures on wheels since Tony Hawk strutted his ska-punk stuff around town. Never before, however, has it been so explicitly juxtaposed with the ‘real world’ of modern living in the way that it has here. The world of Shaun White is a bleak one, its inhabitants brainwashed by The Ministry, an Orwellian organisation that keeps its briefcase-carrying victims prisoners in their own heads. Skateboarding, along with anything else presumed to be subversive, is outlawed. It’s your job as White’s accomplice to splash a little colour on the scene.
Grinding, kick-flipping and grabbing your way around town emits a pulse of creativity from your rebel with a board. Mounds of cement become impromptu ramps, graffiti is unleashed on walls, and monochrome businessmen become jeans-wearing chill- factories, spouting slogans and swaggering around town. It’s a black-and-white modern world redeemed by skateboarding culture, and it’s a neat device that enables Ubisoft