Skate Review (PS3)

Almost two months ago we previewed Skate and gave it praise. It was great fun to play through the demo version we got, and while that could easily be enough, this is no Dead Rising. The full game doesnít make us wish that the rest of the game was just as fun as the demo. In fact, Skate may be the new big franchise in the skateboarding universe dominated by Tony Hawkís series of games.

Skate is all about nabbing that perfect trick, then hitting the next one before the first oneís done
Getting mad air is like spreading wings. Just donít forget when the groundís gonna hit

Starting out as just another punk on the street (after a comical introduction of your amazing injury by a truck running over you), Skate makes you work your way up the corporate ladder. You want to be good, youíve got to learn the tricks, find the hot spots to do them, and have enough proof of your mad skills.

Itís at this point that Skate really succeeds. Sure, the extra functions like taking screenshots, recording footage, and total customization of everything for the character are great things to have. Itís the controls that are completely different from the standard button pushing for that make all the difference.

EAís ďFlickitĒ system is absolutely genius. While Tony Hawk tells you to hold two buttons down while twisting both analog sticks, Skate asks for nothing more than using one analog stick, and maybe add on one button and/or two triggers. Everything else is extra.

Flickit works like a charm. Just flick the right stick down then up to do an ollie. The opposite will make a nollie. Down then up to the right does a kickflip, and depending on how long I hold it, it could do a double kickflip or land in a manual. And there are a ton of different tricks that can be done, far too many to describe here. New to skateboarding games, the harder the trick in real life, the harder it is in the game.

This leads perfectly into the growth of the character. Itís way too hard to just pull off excellent tricks, at least at the start. Like playing Guitar Hero for the first time, expert mode will seem impossible. But over time, the gameplay will grow on anyone really putting in the effort.

If thereís anything to watch out for, itís those small ledges. Because thisÖ
Öcan turn into a fun time at the hospital

So proving those skills is necessary to get access to important parts of San Vanelona, the city where skating is as important as breathing, except when near cars and in no-skating zones. If something can be skated on, jumped over, or be associated with a trick in some way, then itís probably worth trying. With the exception of moving vehicles, everything is part of that playground.

And when I say city, I donít mean the standard videogame area. There is a whole, huge, extravagant city to explore, and it can take days. With such a list of tricks, places to perform them and the means for it, thereís no way to complain.

Thatís really why Skate is such a winner. It takes the most important aspect of the game and does an excellent job with it. Skating comes first, and everything else is second. Maps are huge and highly usable. Pedestrians, cars and security give realism and life to the environment and the list of tricks and difficulty of making a good set makes the experience all the more worthwhile.

Almost as expected, the biggest issue was with camera angles. At times, the camera would zoom in on the board more than the surrounding environment. Though the board is obviously important, hitting something with it is just a tad more important. The same applies to the character played with, which at times is translucent, but even then itís difficult to see whatís ahead.

If anything, seeing is something youíll want to do with Skate. Visuals are great, sounds are great, and as a skateboarding game, those are right up there with the skating. There may not be wind in San Van, but thereís just about everything else that looks as real as it gets.

Something I discovered while playing was that nabbing a hard line of tricks is always awesome, making a huge fall was also damned fun to watch. Sure, videos of guys breaking their crotchís grinding down poles or snapping a bone and breaking the skin on a huge jump are too gnarly for this game, having it happen with just ragdoll physics was good enough for a good chuckle. EA must have known that because they added in the ďHall of MeatĒ which shows how many broken, bruised, and beaten bones youíve taken on a hard fall.

Multiplayer gameplay has a few modes, like s.k.a.t.e., basically playing horse but with skateboarding tricks. Thereís also trick contests that take place in specific areas that you may have spent plenty of time at in the single player mode, like a rare half pipe or swimming pool.

The video features are likewise easy to use and works through EAís website so you can upload videos anytime you like. The same applies to pictures, and although itís required for the campaign and takes time to get used to, the ease of use means youíll either love using it or know how to when you need it.

See whatís in the distance? Thatís your next set of targets
The replay menu with easy interface, options, and fun tools. Grainy footage, eat your heart out

Skate is a testament to what this generation of gaming can really accomplish with the tools given. A great game with just about everything necessary to have a great time, for plenty of time, both alone and with friends. With so much to offer, Skate is really the epitome of an excellent skateboarding game that wonít take forever to be good at, but will take the time and effort to master.

Top Game Moment:
Jumping off the biggest ledge into a Wallie on the corner of a building, then getting hit by a car just before the land.

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