Set aside your extreme-sports snobbery for a second and Murray may actually appeal to you. Imaginative challenges, like leading a captive orca to the open sea and ferrying stranded livestock to safety, complement the first-rate water effects. Of course, even immaculately rendered H2O can get monotonous, but look at the screens on this page and you’ll see that Murray rides more than wakes. To reach the riverside houses and roller coasters bracketing the banks, though, you have to part with the horsepower that pulls you. And therein lies one clever-as-hell catch: When you release your towline, you lose momentum. To avoid being stranded and forfeiting accumulated combos, you have to reconnect to your tether by getting your waterlogged ass back to your boat. Ending your off-the-leash acrobatics with a coordinated rope catch gives your combos a sense of stone-solid completion you won’t find anywhere else.
This game gets no points for creativity whatsoever (no, discovering yet another sport to exploit with the foolproof Tony Hawk formula doesn’t count). That said, Murray is loads of fun and provides that twitchy instant gratification every well-implemented action-sports title should. Like Shawn, I discovered a new sense of possibility once I learned how to manipulate the physics of that boat-rope combo, and the multiplayer co-op mode where one player drives the boat is way cool. It may be just another Pro-Extreme-SporterWke so many that came before, but
I’ve been an action-sports-hating curmudgeon up until now, but damn it if this wakeboarding nonsense isn’t fun. My Hawk and Hoffman experience has been mostly limited to yelling, “Quit grinding on my rails, ya punk kids!” so this Hawk-derived gameplay is fresh to me. Messing with the boat’s towrope opens the trick book way the hell up, and I had a blast coming up with my own unique towline maneuvers. Landing the right tricks to complete stages did present a serious challenge-extreme wusses like me might want to rent first.