So I know its been a while but ya boy is back for his first review of the new year and what better title to come back with than the much anticipated “Skate 2”, a follow up to the breakthrough original of the same thing that pretty much killed the Tony Hawk series. I mean after you played the first “Skate”, you were like Tony Hawk was the kiddie pool and Skate was were the big boys played. I don’t want to take anything from Tony Hawk, it was the best and only skate title out for almost a decade, but hey nothing last forever right?
Skate 2 is set five years after the events in Skate. During Skate many mysterious disasters (identified as Earthquakes in Skate 2) devastated the city, leaving it in ruins and caused a mass evacuation of the city. The new city has been named New San Vanelona, or New San Van for short. However, instead of a skaters paradise the city used to be, security has been stepped up by Mongo Corp. in order to protect the best parts of the city. But trust, you and Reda and all the rest of the greatest skaters in the world won’t let that stop you.
The game has several different modes including career, freeskate, and online. So let’s start with what you really want to know about, the tricks. Skate 2 features twice as many tricks as the original, including foot-plants, hand-plants, rail slides, fingerflips, lip tricks, ollie norths, easier hippie jumps and lastly the ability to skitch (pulling on the bumper of a moving car while on a skateboard to gain speed). Skate 2 also features the choice of creating either a male or female character, rather than just male. You can also get off your board to get to some of those harder to reach areas. While on foot, players can move certain objects in the world, creating their own lines. Nearly 100 different types of objects are movable by the player. Skate 2 also offers a graphics creator which includes editing both your skateboard and clothing.
Flick It !!
As far as the gameplay goes its pretty much awesome. I mean the plethora of tricks you can do is outrageous. Whether its hippy-jumping off a ledge and then popping a sick grind onto a waiting rail below or pulling a “coffin” down a mountain road going 50 mph there is definitely something for everyone. For all you hardcore gamers there is a career mode. With that said it is kind of all over the place. There is really no clear goal, at least not a first and that can get kind of frustrating. At first your major goal is to put together a tape of sick tricks in hopes a getting a sponsor deal who will then give you extra cash and pay your entry fees into contest. There are a lot of chances for you to be on the cover of magazines and to enter lots of contest so you can win do and luckily you can teleport to any of the locations in an instant. My biggest problem with career mode is that once you start an activity or contest there is really no tutorial to show you what you should do, there is a trick guide but you have to go to another screen and then try to memorize the buttons and go back. So what happens is that pretty early in you get introduced to some challenges that you have to pass to progress in the game, though they will require way more experience than you could possibly have at that point, even for really good players. When you pull really sick tricks and you want to share them with the world, its only a button click away. You can customize your own quick clip of your sickest trip or snap your hottest photo and upload it to the online community. Who knows your pic or video could be voted the top one.
From the soreness in my fingers what I can say without a doubt is that Skate 2 is a little bit more difficult than most casual gamers will like, most in fact. Especially in career mode where there are just some things that the casual gamer will have some major difficulty pulling off, I mean I consider myself to be a mid to high level player and some of the combination are ridiculous, not to mention that a lot of them require several components that must be done in sequence and if you mess up one thing you have to do it all over. This can be really frustrating, most are between three and four pieces long and you don’t want to know how many times you will just need to hit the last one and miss it and have to start all over.
Go Big or Go Home !!
This will happen so many times that you WILL want to throw your stick across the room. This year they have given you even more object to ramp off of including picnic tables, pool chairs and all kinds of stuff but speaking of those durn picnic tables. This is one of those classic they put a new thing in the game so they want to make us of it and they put it in when they really shouldn’t have. There is a challenge I won’t tell you which one, but you need to grind a couple of surfaces in succession, easy right? Nope. The trouble with this particular challenge is that you need to jump over an obstacle and then correct your course in time to hit the table at the right angle to get up to the ledges you need to grind. The actual challenge itself would have been difficult enough but when you factor in that you not only have to hit the grinds, but you have to correct course after jumping over the obstacle and then hit the table just right well let’s just say that one took me an hour and by the end of it I didn’t want to play anymore.
But hey if you never really want to get into the career mode too heavy and you are ok with freeskating and playing online with your friends then this is one awesome game. It definitely surpasses the original on several different levels, but perhaps fails at the most important one, ease of play. When I say ease of play I don’t mean controls or anything like that but its just that to pull of some of the really cool tricks the button combinations are difficult. Even though they may have pushed too hard on some of the challenges in career mode, the game is still excellent to play and very well designed. For that I give Skate 2 a 4.5 out of 5 stars.