When the original skate game was released upon us, the world of skateboarding videogames was forever changed. Its control scheme was its major feature, and as such a rather mediocre skateboarding game was given leeway just because everything felt so damned fresh. Does the sequel disappoint? Read on to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up skate 2 is the vastly decreased load time. Whereas skate would take a few minutes to get you to continuing your career, skate 2 only takes about a single minute. Everything also looks more refined and old spots from the original show up here with new textures or even added objects. Some textures, like those on hillsides or other small places, look a bit dated but overall everything looks cleaner. The framerate is also much higher than the original’s, especially while playing on the PlayStation 3.
In terms of audio, most everything is the same here. Though the tracks have changed, there aren’t really very many standout selections. This is a bit of a disappointment on EA’s part as they usually have great “EA Trax” songs. I would say oh well and start up a custom soundtrack, but that feature is oddly missing from this game! I am hoping for a patch soon that allows for this seemingly necessary feature, and once again think that Sony should have made custom soundtracks mandatory at the same time that they mandated trophies to be standard. One thing I must mention is that the sounds of bailing has been much improved since the original. In skate, I would find myself laughing at the bails. In skate 2, however, while the bails are fundamentally the same ragdoll-like physics, the sound has me cringing when I witness a gnarly wipeout. Bones crunching, skin scraping, it all seems to be well captured.
Now, for the new innovations Black Box has put in the game. For starters, you can get off your board now! Though this has been in the Tony Hawk series since Tony Hawk’s Underground, it is a new feature for this series and is very welcomed. Stairs are no longer a problem! Having said that, the actual walking/running around is pretty cumbersome as your skater doesn’t react nearly as quickly off the board as they do on. Once you get off your board, you can move a variety of objects and set up your own lines. This is often required in some of the career’s missions, and can result in some great videos. Also added to the mix are one-foot tricks, handplants and fingerflips. These new tricks add more depth to the trick system, and are easily implemented in any line. Also, while not an innovation, it is worth mentioning that online play is much improved from the original, with little to no lag and various welcome changes to some modes have been used to make the experience more enjoyable for all. There are also freeskate challenges, where you can propose different cooperative events to complete with everybody in the lobby. This is reminiscent of Burnout Paradise, and is so much fun I usually do at least one event every day!
No game is perfect, and skate 2 has its fair share of faults. As mentioned, the walking system is flawed as you cannot walk backwards and have to fight with your skater to get them exactly where you want them. The respawn system can be utterly obnoxious when it places you just before the point where you fell into the water or off a cliff, and you are stuck in a nearly-infinite loop of falling over. The “story” in skate 2 is ridiculous, but then again playing a skateboarding game for its story is like going to Las Vegas for its religious offerings – there’s little there and you don’t expect to see much anyway! Also, EA is doing its money-grubbing thing and now charging $7.25 US for extra filming capabilities and slightly more online storage…Which is a disappointment but if that’s what EA is going to do to great IPs then so be it.
So the question remains: is this sequel a success? Fans of the series should definitely buy this, no questions asked. Others who may have missed out on the original and want to try it out should still just pick up this title. This is what the original skate game should have been.
P.S. Be sure to check out the custom PSLS skate 2 artwork!
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
The framerate and online experience is much better this time around.
You can get off your board, but controls suffer a bit. (This has been improved in a recent patch).