Skate 2 Review
There’s no doubt about it. Skateboarding is one of the most difficult sports on the planet. Not only do you have to practice even simple tricks hundreds of times to get them dialed-in, there’s also a little thing called fear that comes into play. Every time you fail while skateboarding you pay with a trip to the pavement, and playing the first Skate could be almost as painful at times. You tried something a thousand times before you landed it, but when you did, the feeling was incredible. The problem is that most players aren’t that patient, and Skate 2 is here to grind the fine line between realism and fun once again.
Like most extreme sports games, the career mode is the conduit that allows you to unlock most of the content in the game. You begin by creating your own shredder using a system that’s vastly improved from the first outing. Then you’re thrust into the story, which follows your skater as he gets out of the joint and attempts to reclaim San Vanelona as one of the world’s premiere skate spots.
As you might imagine, this is accomplished by meeting up with pros scattered around the city and completing the objectives they give you. The development team has listened to a lot of the complaints about the first Skate, and has dropped many of the trick-specific missions in favor of getting particular scores at certain spots through any means necessary. You still have to play SKATE from time to time, but you’re asked to nail a specific trick or series of tricks far less frequently. This is undoubtedly a good thing.
The rest of the objectives revolve around winning downhill races, getting shots for Thrasher and Skateboarding Magazine, avoiding the cops while racking up points, and scoring sponsorships from dozens of real companies by winning contests. You can use the map system to immediately warp to any objective, cutting down on tedious travel time. It’s a tried-and-true way to set up a career mode.
The list of modes is rounded out by free skate where you can spend as much time at any particular spot as you want, and party play, where up to three friends can jump on your system and compete in three different challenges. It’s all fairly standard stuff.
Once you head online things open up a bit. Free skating was the big hit from the first game and it’s returned. You can set up cooperative challenges with your friends, select particular spots to session, or create spots yourself and then share them or download the work of virtual riggers. The skate reel option has returned, allowing you to edit your best clips and upload them for others to check out. Not much has been upgraded, though. You still can’t edit multiple clips together and set them to music, which was a feature in the last Tony Hawk game released in 2007.
There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Skate 2’s design, but there are plenty of ways to put your plank—and noggin—in action.
Playing Skate 2 is really a double-edged sword. On the one side you have undoubtedly the most realistic skateboarding game ever made, and on the other side, the game is filled with minor annoyances that eventually add up.
There are many more tricks in Skate 2. Considering how few were included in the first game it’s hard to call it a compliment, but this time around we get inverts, no-complies, and bonelesses. All of these are essential to the skateboarding experience, so they’re great additions if a little tardy. You can also skitch, or hitch a ride on the back of vehicles to get someplace quicker.
With the exception of skitching, all of these new moves are performed by pressing a modifier button on the shoulder of the controller. This may sound like an easy task, but it’s made difficult by the fact that you must start by smacking a straight ollie, then pressing the modifier button, and then performing a movement with the right analog stick. Ollieing without performing a kickflip, heelflip, or shove-it is a lot more difficult than it sounds when you’re worried about timing, speed, and angle.