There have been many skateboarding games, the most popular including the Tony Hawk series, which has set the bar for skateboarding games. The series had been the uncontested champion for years, until EA’s Skate decided to come up to bat. With Skate’s unique analog control scheme and realism, it definitely gives the Tony Hawk franchise a run for its money. No other skateboarding game has even come close. Skate is a great game because it gives you breath of fresh air by including both the right and left analog stick to control your movement, which has not been applied to gameplay in the past.
The story mode for Skate is generic: Ollie, kickflip, and grind your way to the top. After completing an optional tutorial, the player is free to choose whatever challenges they want. All of the tricks are unlocked right at the start, like a real skateboarder, nobody needs to unlock tricks. Just enter the menu and find the trick book to see a list of all the tricks. The tricks are designed to relate to the physics of real skateboarding. If you flick the analog stick, you will flick your skateboard. Hold the analog stick down and your skater will crouch down. More advanced tricks take practice and can become very frustrating as the analog stick isn’t as precise as some tricks require.
To grind, you simply have to crouch down and either move the analog stick up quickly, or slowly to determine what kind of jump you want. After getting airborne you simply land on any edge. After practice, grinding becomes a lot easier and you’ll find yourself grinding among the most advanced edges.
As you advance in your career, you’ll gain money for sponsorships and winning competitions. You can use money to buy new skateboarding gear and change your wardrobe. There is a wide variety of clothing to choose from, though they only vary from shirts to hoodies, shorts to jeans, and hats. There are many real clothing brands to choose from, and your sponsor will even give you gear and clothing for free. The player customizer is not the most detailed, but it’ll let you create your dream skater to a certain extent.
Where Skate tries to shine and does fairly well is online. There are multiple online modes including Jam, Freeskate, S.K.A.T.E, Own the Spot, and racing. There are many small maps to choose from, and the host of the game can change the map or game. Freeskate allows many players to skate freely in a map, there are no challenges to this, and it simply allows players to skate around with friends. Jam is where players are given a time limit to get the highest score possible. S.K.A.T.E is the skateboarding version of H.O.R.S.E, simply repeat the trick or receive a letter. If you spell out S.K.A.T.E you lose. Racing is fairly straightforward; get the end of the map with additional checkpoints that require you to satisfy a requirement before moving on. Some examples would include ’Grind the edge,’ ’Gain 200 points,’ or ’Perform one ____ move.’
Skate’s replay editing is a very nice part of the game. At any given time while you are roaming around in Career mode, you can look back at any tricks or neat moves you pulled off. After editing you video, you can submit it online where other skaters can view and rate your video on a 1 to 5 star based system. There are achievement points given to those who upload their content online, which pushes gamers to getting their videos out there. From the main menu you can access videos, and even a live feed of popular skaters. Watch them for as long as you like, then jump in and join the party!
While Skate has its flaws but really did a good job. The control scheme is unique and certainly creates a good gaming experience. The game is definitely worth a look at, even if only a rental. There is definite hope that with some tweaking, it will be the best skateboarding game. Give it a chance; the Tony Hawk series will never feel the same afterwards.