skate. Review

22 Oct

By Andrew Myers

Now usually I will write my reviews on games I have finished, but I have a feeling I wont be finishing many games in the coming months (well, except Bioshock and the amazing games to come out of Night Shift :D). So here’s what I have to say after 10+ hours of time with it.

The Good – a new and innovate take on extreme sports games, varied missions, great video editor/sharing, great to just free roam the city, level design is awesome, nice graphics and a realistic (but still funny) bail physics system, analog sticks are perfect for tricks, Chris-motherfucking-Haslan!

The Bad – new camera angle takes a bit of getting used to, cant get off your board, high learning curve, need precision to pull off harder tricks, advertisements tend to get in your face, there is quite a bit of trail and error gameplay at sections, no female skaters.

skate. is a new skateboarding game for both the 360 and PS3 (will be coming to the PS3 in a few weeks) that takes the player through the world of San Velena, where the players goal is to get coverage for 2 magazines (Skateboarder and Thrasher) and make it to the x-games. The story is really not that important in this game, Its a very laid back approach to the whole game, you have all the tricks in the beginning of the game, so there is no rush to finish the story mode. The missions themselves are varied quite a bit, but still all make sense in the skating world. They range from doing a certain trick, getting enough points, racing down a hill, beating a pro at a SKATE duel (pretty much horse with flip tricks), competitions, getting a photo, and everything in-between. Theres quite a lot of them and I found em all to be a lot of fun, so its hard to get bored in this game.

The visuals are very good, they arent completely realistic and the face models could use some work…but other than that, it’s just nice game to look at. The create a skater isnt too in-depth, and it oddly doesnt have a female option….but with the “skate-cam” (low angle and off to the left) camera angle you wont be seeing much of the skater itself…of course, until you fall. The physics system acts very realistically when you bail, and with the huge drops and cars on the street, it makes for some very funny results.

The core gameplay is extremely fun, there is no doubt about that….the dual analog stick controls are used (left analog stick for body movement and right analog stick for tricks, like Fight Night Round 3). Call it a gimmick or not, but they work, the way you do tricks feels natural (after the slight learning curve of getting used to ’em) and you’ll never want to go back to the old model of button presses ever again. As mentioned before, all the tricks are unlocked from the start of the game, there are no “special” moves, its all there, its up to the player to master the system and get good at the game before he’ll be able to pull off 360 nollie variable kickflip’s with ease. Now it isnt a perfect system, some missions will require a certian trick and you’ll tend to do another trick that was a milimeter over on the analog stick (found myself pulling pop shuv-its WAY too often), and this often results in the trail-and-error system that can be a little frustrating, but with practice this system becomes second nature. It also helps that the entire world is accessible by your board and is just fun to skate around in for hours, just practicing your skills and finding good skate spots.

The other big feature (for me at least) is the video editor, you can take the last 30 seconds of gameplay and edit it however you want, then when you’re done you can upload it to the net and let other people rate the video (both in the game and on ea’s website) like youtube. The video editor is basic, you can change from 5 different camera angles, put a filter over it and change the speed of the video….but splitting it into segments and changing through these options makes it a little cooler. Its not the editor itself thats exciting, but uploading makes you try your hardest to nail that perfect line to show everyone else on the net, (it also helps that they added a feature that lets you respawn back anywhere in the world, so you can try again if you screw up) this adds an inifite amount of replayablility, and thats not even multiplayer! Halo 3 is including this feature as well and Im pretty sure that it’ll catch on through all genres of gaming. Speaking of multiplayer, there is quite a few options in multiplayer (though most of these are online), ranging from free skate, to downhill races, and trick competitions….but I usually spend my time in the turn based offline modes, where SKATE and Own the spot (get as much points as possible in a combo) are available. Though, Im not really an online gamer, so other people might spend more time online.

Just 2 things I would probably change for the next installment, 1. Put in the ability to get off your board….this would be the solution to my new mortal enemy in this game….stairs. You just cant go up them, if you want to get to the top (or even by them), you’ll have to search around for a ramp or something to get up. Getting off the board would fix this problem, while still keeping the realistic environments 2. Tone down the advertisements, do we really need extreme close ups on the brand name of what clothes each pro is wearing? Now, I know sponsorships and advertising is at the core of pro skating….and this I dont mind (found it quite immersive when I was checking out all the different sponsorships), just find they went a little overboard.

I’ve been avoiding this issue, but I miswell say it now, it is better than Tony Hawk, plain and simple. I’ve been a huge Tony Hawk fan ever since the first game, but ever since underground the series went downhill, and now skate is a breath of fresh air that brings so much new stuff to the genre, I keep on forgetting its an EA game. Yea, that was a cheap shot, but back to TH….I cant say much about Proving Grounds (the new Tony Hawk game), but I played the demo…and was vastly dissapointed, the gameplay hasnt changed since the first, it seems they’re trying to focus on more of a story this time, and that may work…but the gameplay is still the same old tired stuff.

Anyways, skate is a great, laid back kind of game that really suprised me on how well it was put together, granted it isnt a perfect game…but all the things it does well vastly outweighs any minor faults it has. I would definitley reccomend this game to extreme sports fans, and just any gamer that wants to play just a fun game

8.5/10

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