PS3 Reviews: Skate 2 Review

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Skate 2 Review

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Graphics:

 

8.3

Gameplay:

 

8.4

Sound:

 

8.5

Control:

 

8.0

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.3

 

 

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

EA

Number Of Players:

1-2 (Online 16)

Genre:

Extreme Sports

By now you should be well aware of SKATE. It is the franchise directly responsible for the break the Tony Hawk series had to take for 2008, making it the first missed year the series has taken since its inception. By delivering a skating game that no longer features dial-a-combo input methods, but rather more intuitive measures, the impact EA had on Activision's skater was momentous. Now, more than a year after its launch, EA has brought us the follow-up to their success by delivering us an even bigger and better game; SKATE 2.

What immediately grabbed me about SKATE 2 is that it's actually backed by a story. The story isn't just sort-of there, in the sense that you have to read the game's booklet or read an in-game blurb about what's happened in the past five years. No, EA has actually pieced together live-action intro showing your character being released from prison, with your supporting cast of characters (Rob Dyrdek, Big Black, Danny Way, PJ Ladd, and more) shown as your fellow prison mates.

Taking place five years after the original, SKATE 2 shows you an abandoned San Vanelona that's dramatically changed. Following your disappearance from the scene, the city was taken over by a mega corporation, aptly, simply, and amusingly titled Mongocorp. Mongocorp wins the bid to rebuild the city, and in doing so, has also restricted skateboarding. In the process, Mongocorp employs a series of security measures to get rid of the flourishing skate scene in the abandoned city, but you'll have to fight them every step of the way, showing that you're not willing to leave.

You'll begin the game much like you do many others, by creating your skater. Following that, an in-game cut-scene, similar to that of GTAIV, will bring you up to speed with what's happened in San Vanelona (San Van for short). The locals now call the city New San Van, too, so you'll have to get used to hearing that. The goal of the game's career will be to rebuild the San Van skate scene, and you'll achieve that goal by participating in a plethora of challenges and events. To help you in your progress, you'll also be given a few new features to do that with. First, you can now get off the board and walk around. This will also allow your skater to push and move objects around, giving you the ability to create your own custom lines. Next, a new set of tricks have been added to the mix, as your skater now has double the amount over the first game, such as one-foots, handplants, hippy jumps, and more.

When you're on foot, you'll be allowed to walk up to certain, movable objects, such as ramps, grab onto them, and move them to a location you see fit. With this ability, you can string together a line to your liking, but aside from that, it's also a requisite for completing many of the game's missions. I must address a complaint though, because the on-foot controls are absolutely awful, requiring you to come to a stop if you wish to change the direction your walking towards. While on the subject of controls, why hasn't EA addressed everyone's biggest complaint? The camera angle. Yes, we get it, the point of the low-hung fish-eye-lensed camera is for the sake of authenticity. But for the sake of gameplay, we need a higher perspective that allows us to properly judge our distances. This oversight can make for some frustrating moments in SKATE 2, and it's a shame EA has completely overlooked it. Also, I'd have liked for EA to allow the gamer to re-assign the kick/push buttons. Having them as shoulder buttons would be a much better idea, as it'd free your right thumb and allow it to always rest on the analog stick ready to pull of tricks at a moment's notice.

Back to the good...San Van is larger than before, and also boasts much more variety as far as the layout goes. There are more ramps and half-pipes to exploit, and there are even more leap-of-faith jumps too. The city feels much more amusement park-ish than last year's game, which is a definite plus; no matter where you go, you can rest assured that there are objects you can put to use and string along a nice combo immediately.

I mentioned earlier on that you've been tasked to bring back the skate scene to San Van. So how exactly will you do that? Rebuilding the skate scene will require you to perform a variety of different tasks, which include unlocking more and more areas with skating potential, for example, like draining a swimming pool to use as a skate bowl. Furthermore, local crews will provide you with assistance, such as security of your own, helping you to keep your hair clean of the rent-a-cops and any other potential obstacles that Mongocorp has setup.

Sadistically, one of the best new attributes in SKATE 2 is the Thrasher Hall of Meat feature. Taking a cue from the Burnout page, SKATE 2's Hall of Meat is where you'll be encouraged to attempt the most bone crushing bail you can pull off. So feel free to plummet from as far up as possible while trying to land a trick, because these Slam Challenges will require a plethora of broken bones to complete. And hey, you'll even be able to customize and control your bails too! Think of it as Sony's PAIN meets Burnout's Crash mode meets SKATE. It's good fun, trust me.

Accessing the online world remains a seamless entry. While we haven't been able to play with more than a handful of people (who we assume were the game's developers and other writers), we didn't have any troubles with lag and such. Additionally, with your new-found ability to move objects around and create your own skate spots, you'll be allowed to take these spots and upload them online for others to use. Likewise, you can download created spots, as well, and vote on the ones you like best. And when you're online, you'll be able to show the SKATE community the work you put together using the game's Graphics Creator, where you can customize the art on your hats, hoodies, and decks.

Visually, SKATE 2 continues to run on the same game engine, albeit with some improvements made here and there to enhance the look. Lighting is more vivid, and the textures seem a bit sharper. Your environment is still epic, but moreso this time around. There are no issues with pop-up or draw-in, as the game engines is always up to task with rendering the world. But, the framerate still isn't silky smooth, which is unusual, considering that this is the second iteration of a game running on the same game engine. The frames don't stutter all the time, but rather occasionally, and even though the dips aren't very bad, with this being the PS3's third year, it's annoying enough that it needs to be mentioned. That aside, cut-scenes demonstrate that the character models are well done, and even gameplay shows how nice the animations are.

Audio is composed of largely the same sounds as the first game, so it's the soundtrack and voice-acting that's important here. The soundtrack covers a wide variety of genres. On one hand you've got the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas, on the other hand, Rage Against the Machine and Motorhead. I personally prefer the sounds of rock when I'm playing an extreme sports game, and because SKATE 2 doesn't let me pick and choose the songs I want to be heard, I turned the music down and turned up the Foo Fighters on my PC. Yes, that also means no custom soundtracks here. Still, overall, the soundtrack is really good, and to round out the audio experience is some great voice-acting, too.

SKATE 2 is great fun, and fans of the original will no doubt love it more than the first. Yes, there are still some gripes to be had, mostly dealing with control issues, but they don't hurt the game nearly enough to damage the experience significantly. With a larger campaign mode, a better playground, more tricks, the Hall of Meat mode, and enjoyable cut-scenes, SKATE 2 is worth the price of admission. Let's just hope that the next game takes it up a notch and blows the first two out of the water.

1/20/2009 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (27 posts)

MasLB51
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 7:37:09 PM
Reply

thanks for the review. im probably gonna get it :)

Last edited by MasLB51 on 1/20/2009 7:37:32 PM

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:00:26 PM
Reply

Not my type of game but glad to see skateboarding titles get better

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eLLeJuss
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:22:38 PM

LoL yeah.Basketball and wrestling games are getting worst.

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:53:37 PM

I was never really into wresling, but I think NBA 09 did pretty good. But i HATE NBA Live, its just the wide camera angle of the whole court kills me, also NBA 09 just looks better in graphics to me.

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MetalHead09
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:29:58 PM
Reply

i quit playing skate boarding games when i was dissapointed with the jump to the ps2. the first tony hawks had more realism than the ps2 versions and the jump to ps2 killed it for me.
i thought it was way to fast and it changed the gameplay imo.

skate looks cool but i think ill pass. great review though, it almost makes me want to download the demo at least lol.

Last edited by MetalHead09 on 1/20/2009 8:30:32 PM

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MirrorSoul
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:54:58 PM

Naw, I think Tony Hawk: Underground was the best SB game I ever played, couldn't get into Skate or any of the new Tony Hawk's.

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MetalHead09
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:43:19 PM

i had that on my gamecube when i had a gamecube lol i miss that little square box, but anyway i liked the story and look but in the newer games they spead it up so grinds were twice as fast ans stuff and i couldnt pull off the same kind of combos and such as i could on the ps1 tony hawks and it really killed it for me.

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Arkhon
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @ 9:19:09 PM

My friend only has a PS2 and a Gamecube because he can't afford any of the current-gen consoles. It's amazing the way he mistreats his Gamecube. He literally drops it on the ground on purpose.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 8:41:33 PM
Reply

Skating is so 2003 lol

Seriously

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shindelion
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:22:23 PM
Reply

Not my type, just waiting on EA for a next SSX. Damn them

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:04:33 PM

So sad there hasn't been a grea snowboarding game since SSX On Tour :( And the one for the Wii which wasn't much of a sequel...

Anyway we really need something like Cool Boarders again. Or something like 1080(Nintendo).

The only thing I don't like 'bout SSX is the heavy emphasis on tricks. I like snowboarding as a racing game, not as a trick game.

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www
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 5:20:53 AM

say it again we need some friggin SSX!!!!! cot dammit!

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Cale_168
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:22:27 PM
Reply

Yeah, I liked American wastland and THUG2 but I just cant get myself to play the newer games for very long.

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Daedusian
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:54:00 PM
Reply

When I was playing the demo, the transition to walking was downright awful. Like you said, you almost have to stop, turn the screen in the direction you want to walk, and push forward.

And the same goes with moving objects around. It's like the guy is skating on ice while he moves the object, it's ridiculous. I was so disappointed because I thought it would be easy to implement this feature, but I guess it was a very lazy effort on their part.

I do love the game however, it's just that I wanted better because the first was already great and I never really thought they could kinda screw it up, even if very minimal.

So whenever I get the game, which won't be for awhile since I'm saving up for K2, I'm going to try and avoid walking, unless I have to go up a set of stairs lol.

Last edited by Daedusian on 1/20/2009 9:55:30 PM

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:55:59 PM

Yep, moving around objects is also terrible and clunky.

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mk ultra
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:55:38 PM
Reply

Nice review. From what I got after playing the demo I agree the off-board controls SUCK. But I might be able to overlook them in the full game if I can make some sick custom lines. I wish they would have addressed the camera, and I was also hoping for the option to have custom sound tracks. But I still think they did enough to warrant another purchase from me.


The only thing in the review I don't agree with is that pushing off would be better with the shoulder buttons. I agree it would make the game easier, but for the sake of realism you have to take your foot off the board to push, just like you have to take your thumb off the "board"(or right analog stick) to push.


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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 9:58:14 PM

I just think for the sake of timing, it'd have been better to use the shoulder buttons to push so I can keep my thumb on the analog to perform a jump and trick immediately.

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mk ultra
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 10:18:14 PM

I can see what your saying, but they were going for realism, not timing. I really like this game over the Tony Hawk games because of the realism. If they gave you the option to choose between the two configurations it would give the people using the shoulder buttons an unfair advantage. If they strait up changed it to be the shoulder buttons, me and all the other people who like it for the realism would cry foul.

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mastiffchild
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 @ 11:03:07 PM
Reply

Apparently it's another multi that runs better on 360. From what I gather it looks identical but only our version has framerate and slowdown issues which isn't nearly accepable these days-if it runs like silk on MS box of rattling bolts t should sing on PS3 and as it doesn't I won't be picking it up on principle.

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www
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 5:23:37 AM
Reply

Skate is a good franchise right
but SSX would be way better.
I can't believe resources are going to sh** like Facebreaker,EA wat's up?????

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dillonthebunny
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 6:17:22 AM
Reply

AK.. you seen the DogTown documentary?

so when I ask has SKATE 2 lost its soul or is it still DogTown.. what say you?

Skate 1 had soul, I just hope it hasnt lost it.

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Skatejimmy5
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 10:41:34 AM
Reply

I can't wait for this game, since it will probably be my GOTY 2009 (yes, way better than KZ2 imo). The first one was probably the best game of all time, and I don't have any problems with the controls, like Arnold here did. I think they are the best controls ever.

Thanks.

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Arkhon
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @ 9:19:53 PM

I think your screen name would explain why.

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city96
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 1:02:25 PM
Reply

Prefer Tony hawks

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dillonthebunny
Thursday, January 22, 2009 @ 5:45:03 AM
Reply

each to their own.. personally ive been playing hawks of the Tony style since ps1 days, and am just thankful that SKATE is out for two reasons..
one: as I said previously that its the dogtown of skating, sadly Tony Hawks games missed that epic feel..
two: it means Tony Hawk games HAVE to get off their lazy arse and make a decent game!

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Lordnicon
Thursday, January 22, 2009 @ 12:14:40 PM
Reply

Tony Hawk has been dead to me after 3. I enjoyed 3. 4 was ok and after that, every other game just became more and more retarded and comical. Perhaps there were some that became more serious afterward but i just lost interest.

Skate I thought was pretty good despite the fact that you couldnt get off the board. Getting off your board in 2 is pretty clunky but still opens up some pretty interesting opportunities if you can get it down.

The animations in skate are also FAR better than those in THPS. That and the extremely over the top bit really started to kill THPS. In all honesty Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy was easily one of my favorite skate games of all time next to THPS1&2. It was very realistic, funny, but not slapstick, the animations (since all the moves were preloaded) were great and the soundtrack was incredible.

Skate sort of fills that void that thrasher and the old thps's left. I didnt buy the last one but somewhere down the road ill probably get this one.

Last edited by Lordnicon on 1/22/2009 12:16:00 PM

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Arkhon
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @ 9:26:42 PM

I think I still have THPS2 for the GBA.

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