Skate 2 Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Who would have thought that EA would be the ones to redefine the skateboarding game? When Skate was released in 2007, they certainly did that and as an upstart, the game managed to sell more than Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground (an instalment in Activision‘s well established series), which was released in the same year. Skate 2 obviously doesn’t do any redefining, although fans of the first one should be happy with what’s new here.

The game is once again set in the city of San Vanelona, although after some disasters (those who played Skate It on the Wii will remember that the city was in ruins) the city had to be rebuilt from the ground up, thus being rechristened New San Vanelona. For those who played the original, there will be a sense of familiarity when playing the career or freeskate modes, although many of the areas are new and others have been changed, but, whatever the case, the game still revolves around showcasing your skateboarding talents.

Speaking of showcasing your talents, Skate 2 now offers you more ways to do this, courtesy of an expanded trick list. As a result of this bigger trick list, this sequel boasts double the amount of tricks than the original did, with new “look at me” moves, including everything from handplants to hippie jumps. Cool.

Of course, what made the original so great was the flickit control system, wisely EA has stuck with this for this sequel, using the analog sticks to control both body and board. As Skate is a simulator, the game requires plenty of patience and practice, and as some flickit tricks are similar in their executions, when you are attempting a kick flip you could end up doing an ollie for example, at least until things really start to click. Of course, veterans of the original will have no such problems, the only thing standing in their way is learning the sick new tricks and also choosing the moment as to when to make them happen.

A criticism of the original was that, try as you might, you just could never get off the skateboard (at least not at will, although accidents did prove that your feet weren’t superglued to the board) and walk around with your legs, well now you can. This walking about business isn’t perfect by any means, not only because I have to use my virtual legs, but also because the turning speed is heavy and unrealistic and nothing like natural leg use. To be fair you can see in which area that the passion was really poured in, also in certain situations, it’s still much less awkward than being on the skateboard, so it’s not all bad (or should that be gnarly?).

I could only imagine how awkward and silly it would have looked if you could move items around but you couldn’t get off the board to do so. With another fresh feature you can do exactly that, shift particular objects around with little real effort to speak of (you can even set session markers for these objects or reset them to their default positions). This not only allows you to move and set objects up to complete certain scenarios, but it also ties in with yet another new feature, Create a Spot.

Create a Spot allows you to move objects around, place a scoring zone and upload it to give people an opportunity to own your created spot. You can also download and play spots created by other players which is all great, but this is only a small part of the expansive online mode.

Like the original, videos can once again be uploaded to show off something that is worthy of, well, showing off. Downloadable content has already been released, for 600 Microsoft Points (or £4.79 if you’re playing the PS3 version) you can download the Filmer Pack (it’s a kick in the teeth, as the content should have already been included with the game) which includes extra options for the video editing tools, including the capability of uploading up to five minutes of footage. For those who don’t have the time, patience or skill to unlock everything, 400 Microsoft Points (£3.19 on the PS3) on the other hand will buy you The time is Money pack, which magically gives you the key to the entire game. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this, although it’s in no way a forced purchase (if you want to unlock things in the traditional manner, then just don‘t waste your points) and will probably be downloaded by a very small minority of people.

The online play has obviously been inspired by that of Burnout Paradise’s, at least with the new Freeskate activities (all the old stuff is there too, along with “pass the pad“ offline multiplayer). There’s an ample 150 challenges for you and up to another five players to get involved in, you may have to attempt to be the first player to grind along a couple of rails, or perhaps you’ll be teaming up with other players in a bid to amass a target score. It’s probably needless to say, but there’s much fun to be had online.

Skate 2 is the sequel that fans of the original game would have wanted; it takes all the clever stuff from the first one and then adds to it considerably, it’s just a shame that one of the most welcome additions (getting off your board and running about) has been so poorly implemented. Regardless of this, Skate 2 is a well made and skill based game that is deserving of plenty of attention from all you dudes.

Props to EA, or something like that.