EA’s Black Box created the first Skateboarding game to truly test the famed Tony Hawk series back in 2007 with Skate. Not only did it do better in retail sales, but it also gave skateboard fans a more realistic feel to the skateboarding genre. Now two years later EA has brought a sequel to there very popular first installment of Skate with Skate 2. The build up to the game suggested that any problems gamers had with the original Skate would be taken away with the second installment. Did Skate 2 tweak out the problems with the original Skate and capitalize on what fans loved about the first? Check the rest of the review to find out!
To start it off I must admit I have always been a huge Tony Hawk fan in the past, but when I first played Skate I couldn’t deny how smoothly the game ran and how the utilization of the joystick to manipulate the board gave it an edge on the entire Tony Hawk series. Skate brought a completely open environment and made it easy to pull tricks anywhere and everywhere on the surroundings. With Skate 2 the first major change made is the fact that you can get off your board and walk which to many Skate fans was a big problem with the original. With this comes the ability to move small objects anywhere you want in the environment. Sometimes this is a great tool, and other times it can make transitions a lot less smooth.
The story in Skate 2 is good, but it certainly isn’t the type of story that you can’t wait to see what happens next. In fact the majority of the game leads up to certain points which when completed can be a letdown. There is no real triumphant feeling when completing the game, which is probably the main issue I had with it. There are plenty of objectives which can be pretty difficult at times and can be teleported to instead of skating through the entire San Vanelona city to get to each objective. As a part of the objectives include getting magazine coverage, death races, and street and vert competitions. There is enough variation with the type of goals that the game doesn’t become too repetitive.
The controls of Skate 2 are still the strongest point in the game with the very popular flick-it control scheme. Along with getting off of your board you now can do hand plants and foot plants which can create some pretty technical lines in the game. The hand plants at times can be frustrating as you can rarely jump up to perform a hand plant, but the foot plants really add a realistic flow to the game. The majority of all the little problems in controls have been fixed with Skate 2.
The graphics in Skate 2 are very solid and have some nice smooth looking textures. The majority of the character models in the game look great and the cut scenes look fantastic as well. The only small flaw in the graphics comes with some of the more open environments as some of the surroundings can look a bit dull.
All of the tricks look perfect and the sound effects in the game are extremely realistic. One of my favorite parts in the game is the Hall of Meat which is basically seeing how many bones you can break when bailing off of your board and crashing. The rag doll effects can be pretty intense and sometimes it can be surprisingly fun to fall. All in all the games graphics do enough and are heads above the graphics from any of the Tony Hawk series
If there is one thing Skate 2 has going for it its that it is always fun to play. With the online gameplay where you can not only compete, but compete for some career money and test your skating skills against others the game offers a strong online mode. Some of the more exciting skate parks kept me playing for hours at a time. The party play mode is also fun when you don’t feel like playing online. You can also save and upload replays to the internet which can be fun to look back at with your friends.
I can’t say that Skate 2 is perfect because even though the majority of the problems with Skate were fixed the game still lacks a solid story mode. Holding it up however is the solid control scheme and the variety in game objectives. The graphics do enough for a skateboarding game for you not to pay too much attention to them. The online mode offers some high level gameplay and will keep the game from becoming repetitive. Skate 2 is without a doubt the best skateboarding game out on the market today and I would highly recommend picking this game.