|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Black Box||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: Sep. 14, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Justin Conte
When it comes to the extreme sports genre, the Tony Hawk series has been giving us more of the same for years, and fans continue to eat it up. Black Box and EA have seen fit to challenge that throne with their latest game Skate, bringing us a more realistic game where one won't be doing back-flips off of buildings and spinning on fire hydrants, and what they've crafted is a great foundation, with only a few problems preventing it from achieving perfection.
The City of San Vanelona actually feels like a city, and not just a series of various ramps and pipes meant to be skated upon. There's still plenty of areas for you to unleash your inner skate punk, but the fact that you actually have to plan your tricks in order to execute a sequence gives a certain satisfaction not present in other extreme sports titles. You truly feel like a skater, finding the best spots, and putting things together to finally hit that perfect line.
Adding to that is the control scheme, which uses the analog stick, triggers, and buttons to emulate your skater's body. The triggers control your hands for tweaking the board, the X and A buttons are used to push off with your legs, and the right analog stick controls your tricks, with every different motion differing in results. Pull down to crouch, then move in any manner of ways to varied results. Things do suffer a bit by being limited to the analog though, as many tricks are so similar that you'll find yourself not doing what you intended, but then that only adds to the realism of things for this writer.
The robust character creation tools allow you to get a pretty good representation of yourself, especially if you really like merchandising. With a huge amount of skate apparel that any Pac Sun shopper will know, Skate allows you to play dress-up in any number of ways. Even with this level of customization, the game remains visually a treat, with lifelike characters and a vibrant city that feels like it isn't just a playground for you, but instead a challenge you must overcome.
Career mode provides a wide open sandbox with various goals for you to complete, leading to cash, sponsorships, and access to different skate parks, and eventually the X-Games even. You're must win various competitions ranging from a variation of HORSE entitles SKATE to a best trick competition. All this blends right into the city itself, meaning if you choose you can ignore all these other goals and treat career just like you would a free skate session. I found myself doing so more often than not.
Multiplayer, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment. You compete in the same type of events present in single player, but it would have been much more satisfying had there been a way to freely skate around the entire city with your friends. The games available are fun, but they pale in comparison to what could have been some of the best "chill-out" multiplayer this side of Uno.