Review: Skate

Video van skateboardtitel ‘Skate’ - Demo 15 aug

Skate Review, 13th October 2007

With Neversoft already dominating the skating franchise across all platforms, the whole industry barely took notice when EA accounced that they intended releasing a far more realistic skating experience on next gen consoles. Well EA really made a laughing stock out of the industry as Skate easily suprassed Tony Hawks latest efforts with ease. Keep reading to find out why.

Skate offers realistic physics, environments, and tricks. You'll find yourself skateboarding in school yards that look like school yards, streets that look like streets, and neighborhoods designed to look like neighborhoods. The animations are smooth and truly beautiful. The number of tricks you can pull off doesn't reach into the supernatural and yet the skating is still fun, and the depth of the controls and the game itself is readily evident.


Coupled with a "flickit" system built into the analog sticks of the Xbox 360 and PS3, enabling a down-to-earth approach to skateboarding, flip tricks, rails, airs and more are handled with reality in mind. The result of EA's years of work has paid off. Skate is distinctly different than its rival, it's fun, and it's easy to learn but hard to master. While EA's endeavor gives gamers an alternative, the game genuinely stands on its own. The introductory video--a skateboarding accident in which you, the player, are stitched back together-- sets the tone for the game; it's whimsical, a little adolescent in humor, and fresh. Players start by creating their own player, and with the help of a moderator who videotaped your whole accident, you "relearn" skateboard moves such as kickflips, rails, holds, spins, manuals and more.

Skate feels wide open, like a palette on which you can express your skateboarding moves. The approach gives players a wide playground to explore and create, and it's definitely a new experience as compared to the more arcadey and compressed THPS levels. The benefit of this style of design is its freedom, but the negative side is that in less than a few hours, you'll realize you're going to have to do a lot of basic humping just to get from Point A to Point B. Sure, there are train stations to get you there faster, but there just aren't enough of them. Skate suffers a little from the same vacantness that plagued Need for Speed Underground 2; its size and openness was impressive, but its emptiness left you wanting more.


Structure? It does exist. The game is a mishmash of minichallenges and contests that range from simple and easy to challenging, and progressively become harder as you dig deeper into the game. To move forward, you'll follow the basic pro track: Compete to win first place in contests, thereby earning money, and increase your skills to get photographed for magazines, eventually landing cover spots. The better you get, the more photos are taken of you, and the better your cash flow and notoriety becomes.

As you improve, the maps populate with new challenges that are integrated into a deep online community tool. You can take videos and shots of yourself, send them to friends, and use EA's servers as storage spot. Players can skate online too, which is a decent experience as long as EA's servers are functioning properly (which historically hasn't always been the case). The video tool is a metagame all on its own, offering edits, speed changes, camera angles, and special effects.


Visually and sonically, Skate is a gift. The animation is incredibly smooth and realistic. There are so many instances of the game's gritty art style working well and its animations seamlessly animating each move without hitches. The soundtrack is a nice mix of Motown, punk, hip-hop and rock, and there are great sound touches in every nook and cranny--for instance, if the music volume elevates while you're skating and you see a gathering of skaters, it's an indication of a hot spot, a special challenge location built for challenging your friends or posting online on leaderboards.

For a first effort, EA really hit the nail on the head with Skate. Level design could be a little tighter but Skate is a fantastic start to what looks to be a great franchise. Neversoft need to sit up and take notice. Tony Hawks is now stale, pick up skate this time around, you wont regret it.

Graphics 8.9
Audio 8.5
Gameplay 9.0
Replayability 9.0