Game Review: Skate 2 (PS3 & XBox 360)

skate2box

In a year that will not see a new entry in the Tony Hawk series, EA’s Black Box studio releases a sequel to their original thrasher unchallenged.

Is it an improvement, or a step backwards?

Once upon a time, if you wanted to play a skateboard game there was only one choice: Tony Hawk.

Over the years, the franchise got further away from cutting edge. Graphics began to look dated, control schemes became rudimentary compared to other genres, and the the series became less about skating and more about celebrity appearances (where did the Jackass guys come from, and why are they riding a bull in my SKATING game?).

Electronic Arts brought Skate to the table, and everything changed, most notably Activision’s Tony Hawk is taking a year off to re-evaluate the franchise.

And that’s where I’m going to stop discussing Tony Hawk… we’re here to talk about Skate 2. Rather than ignore the elephant in the room, I’ve acknowledged it’s existence, and it’s absence this time around.

Moving on…

Skate was far from a perfect game, but it was very good. I nearly missed the original game, but I had a copy sent to me free (a rarity here at B.O.M.B.) and after giving it a spin, I was pleased… pleased enough to purchase Skate 2 with my own money.

The first thing I noticed were the graphics; they really haven’t changed. The control scheme is nearly identical to the original, but seriously… that’s not a bad thing. The stick control in this game is intuitive, tight, and easy to pick up. Even though the controls are friendly to new players, it will take a lot of work to master this game… and that’s a good thing as well.

While Skate 2 doesn’t have a lot of improvements from the original, it’s the little things that make the difference.

Multiplayer seems to have taken a lot from Burnout Paradise, making it incredibly easy to drop in and out of random games, or for hooking up with your friends to shred.

Online challenges, game modes, and replay editing (and uploading) round out the community experience, giving you plenty of gameplay for your dollar.

Unlike Burnout, Challenges and Missions can be restarted without returning to a specific location, and you can also drop a ‘Session Marker’ at a location to instantly transport yourself back at any time.

The missions are varied and numerous, and if you ever get bored with them, it’s very easy to occupy yourself by just rolling around causing mayhem.

Although there is a linear story going on, this is very much a sandbox game, and online multiplayer has endless possibilities.

On the down-side you’ll find graphic glitches, clipping problems, framerate dips and suspect collision detection. It’s not so bad that it gets annoying, and doesn’t ruin the basic gameplay, but you WILL notice it once in a while.

Slightly flawed, but certainly not broken, even with those problems the game is just too much fun to ignore.

If you’re even REMOTELY interested in skating games, this is a must buy.

Are you still here? Seriously… go get it.

Now.

We’ll still be here when you get back.

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2 Comments

  1. Good review Matt! Sounds like a great game and I totally think Tony Hawk could use some competition. I think the VERY first skate game I got for my C64 was actually an EA release.

  2. LOL you made me wax nostalgic so I looked it up.. Skate or Die by EA, produced in 1987 for the C64 and other old ass computers.


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