|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1; 2-4 Competitive Hotseat||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Like Ubis Road Trip, players will have two different challenge goals for every objective during Career: You can Own It or Kill It. Owning it allows you to advance through the game and obtain new objectives. Killing it, on the other hand, is where the proverbial wheat is separated from the chaff. Unlike Ubis boarding title, however, players are given far more freedom to complete the goals. Also, the My Spot Zone feature lets players develop their own lines. This feature is novel, but actually setting up the lines felt fairly cumbersome. I was also dismayed by its mandated implementation during the career mode; as far as Im concerned, leave user-created mechanics in games like LittleBigPlanet.
Multiplayer Party Play allows two to four players to skate in four different gameplay modes. Unfortunately, there is no split-screen action, so youll be passing off sweaty Wii Remotes between each other. Nonetheless, multiplayer is still enjoyable. Players can choose between Best Line, get the best score in three selected areas before time runs out; Best Trick, hit the best single line; Hall of Meat, break your body in hilarious ways; and Best Time, a slalom race course. All of which are quite fun despite not allowing for simultaneous play.
By far the worst part of Skate It! is the visual presentation. This is one ugly game! For starters, the character models are terrible; the five or six heads you have to choose from are woefully drawn and pro skaters like Mike Carrol and Rob Dyrdek dont fare much better. The environments, while varied and well constructed, suffer from an overall haze and fuzziness thats inexcusable. Finally, objects in the game are seriously lacking detail and are plagued by the worst case of jaggies Ive ever seen. Fortunately, the animations are smooth, so the aesthetics never actually hinder gameplay. I cant help but think that EA should have employed a cel-shaded or cartoon-like style to alleviate the graphical shortcomings.
Thankfully, sounds are better than visuals but not perfect. The voice over work is admirably acted, though the dialog is so cliché as to be reminiscent of 1983s Valley Girl. The sound effects are spot on though. For example, grinding along varying surfaces yields a distinct resonance. Finally, the licensed music selection nicely fits the theme and is punctuated by heavy, effects-laden guitar riffs.
Skate It! is a great core experience for the Wii. Gamers will really enjoy the depth and satisfaction derived from the Flickit trick control scheme. Whats more, if you want to ratchet up the difficulty to eleven, the Wii Balance Board effectively mimics the feeling of real skating. Unfortunately, the dreadful visuals further prove that the Wii simply cant replicate lifelike characters and environments, and the multiplayer would have benefitted from some kind of simultaneous cooperative and competitive split-screen features. Still, Skate It! is a must have title for Wii-owning skate fans, but casual gamers beware!
CCC Editor / News Director