STAFF REVIEW of Surf's Up (Xbox 360)

Thursday, June 7, 2007.
by Longball77

Surf's Up Box art Let me set up the scene, the game is situated on the Pen Gu Island. Every year surfers must travel to this island to participate in the surfing competition. You are expected to surf in all kinds of conditions, night surfing, volcanic surfing and even storm surfing. Only one surfer stands in your way of the ultimate prize, a nine time winning surfer named "Tank", and he is out to win his 10th title.

Games modeled after movies have always meant for increased profits for movie producers and generally the games are left without much substance. Rarely do they go deep enough in the characters for them to mean anything. At least with this one surfing is the main story line in the movie so this one seems to be a natural fit.

The fun thing is you can be a penguin, a chicken, or, if you play enough, and unlock one of the other hidden characters. They all have unique moves and surf boards. Minutes shortly after you've create your new penguin persona, we (my son and I) the game was ready, loaded, we atttempted to surf. We went right for the championship to test our skills. At first, we noticed were the intense graphics, the attention to detail and an obvious attempt to create a movie like setting. At first we were challenged to surf the Arctic Ocean by avoiding ice burgs and jumping over orcas. Learning to turn, jump and get small points was easy to figure out. The game opens with you needing to get a score target of 10,000 to pass through some gates and finally having to get another 15,000 points to achieve your three stars.

Inside each round there are idols, point multipliers and some big jumps. Master the small stuff, and take advantage of the opportunities for some really big points and next thing you know you will have two of the three stars and the only one you are missing is the gates.

On a side note, my only complaint with my Xbox 360 to date has beeen the fact that their has been few games that I can play with my young kids. When we got this one to review I jumped at the opportunity to play a game that I could share with the kids. What you will find in the playability of this game that you can play for a very short time and you can become reasonably good. You get to unlock surfboards, new characters and dress wear. The more you play the more you unlock the possibility for a unique bit of surfing called leaf surfing. You are sliding down a dirt path with some sharp corners and tall cliffs. Fall off and you get to start over make it all the way down and set a record time and you un-lock something new. This is a great game to play with the kids.

They will catch on quick and get the self-confidence to want to play more. This game was a lot of fun. Mastering the tricks to get you points is fun, trying to find all of the gates and do the tricks is challenging. Although it did not take my son long to find them all and start telling me what to do next and some of those gates are hard to get into.

The graphics are what I would expect from a game based on a movie. Stellar. The waves as they come over you are not real, but they are cartoon-ish and that adds to the game. The details in the water, the characters and the variousobstacles were great.

Even crashing into the rocks seemed real. If you clip the rocks or the wharf you will get set in to a tailspin. With great graphics comes my biggest complaint lately, loading time, it takes so long for things to load and reload. If you restart a race you will have to wait a few minutes to play.

The sounds of the game are good although the language is a little strong for my kids. It is modeled after what we have become to expect from every surfer movie out there except for when you screw up. The characters call themselves? losers.

To a 10 year old this is funny, and that it is clearly marked on the cover there is strong language, but is that necessary? Other than the strong language that you are warned about even before opening the box, the sounds are good enough to enjoy.

Overall this is a good family game. I would recommend it to any parent looking to play games with their kids. I was looking forward to this one and I wasn?t disappointed. First and third-party publishers need to listen, you need more games like this. Push your developers to create the Microsoft version of Mario and Luigi. Lets get the kids playing with the parents.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.4 / 10
Sound: 7.4 / 10


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