Skate 2 Preview
- Posted December 30th, 2008 at 14:21 EDT by Steven Williamson
In a genre that has long been dominated by the Tony Hawk series, EA’s Black Box studio created an impeccably presented and technically outstanding alternative skateboarding game that reportedly and impressively outsold the competition, ‘Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground,’ by almost two to one. With the second game in the Skate series due to hit stores on January 19, there comes with it high expectation that it will improve on the solid foundations laid down by its predecessor. Whilst Activision remain tight-lipped on a release date for its next dose of Tony Hawk’s action, Skate 2 comes grinding into the New Year unchallenged and with high hopes that it can lure in as many skateboard-loving fans as possible with its big feature set, technical prowess and sharp visuals.
Hawk should be worried. The future is looking extremely bright for the Skate franchise. In Skate 2, it’s not a bad thing that the gameplay feels instantly familiar, with the right-analogue stick-flicking control scheme making a welcome return, but the series also makes great strides in its second outing thanks to an enhanced control scheme, that allows for substantially more trick variety, and a whole host of new customization options and user-generated content that should extend its replay value well into 2009.
Despite the fact that Skate 2 offers more variety in its gameplay than a KFC Big Box Meal, with choices galore at your fingertips and a more complicated control system to boot, the fluid and technically strong gameplay that we enjoyed in Skate hasn’t been compromised one bit, far from it. Skate has been improved on and its sequel is shaping up to be a worthy successor that looks set to thoroughly entertain old and new fans alike.
Skate 2 returns to the cluttered streets of a radically re-designed San Vanelona, which has undergone a significant transformation following a series of devastating earthquakes. Along with a visual makeover, the politics on the streets have also changed dramatically and now a rather nasty corporation, known as Mongocorp, has cracked down on skateboarding and outlawed it in certain areas of the city, where cops and security guards keep an eye out for your board flipping exploits. Whilst Pedestrians go about their daily business, which you can enjoyably interrupt with entertaining effect (watch out for passers-by armed with tazers), you can jump on your skateboard and partake in dozens of challenges by follow the main story mode as a skater who is trying to resurrect the skating scene in New San Vanelona. Do this by taking part in a series of photo and filming challenges, as well as sponsored events so that you can raise money and earn influence across the city.
Alternatively, you can branch off from the main mission and enjoy a number of other activities, including race and trick challenges; throwdown events, where you compete for cash against the pros; or street and vert contests. Don’t like to be restricted by rules? Well, you can simply free-roam across the city taking in the sights, including new areas such as the glistening waterfront, or the wooded mountainous region, as you use handily-placed architecture to get to grips with some of the new moves the game has to offer. This includes the likes of hand-plants, hippy jumps and the highly entertaining skitching maneuver (the act of hitching a ride on the rear bumper of a car).
Aside from the skating challenges, there’s also plenty of optional side quests, for example, you can meet up with Rob Drydek, where you are tasked with creating some films using his special blend of comedy and drama. There are also services that you can hire to counteract the crackdown on skating, such as calling in Sammy who will happily drain any pool or fountain with water in it, or Mickey who removes any caps that have been placed on rails by the authorities. We’ve only just brushed the surface here, but there’s more than enough content in Skate 2 to keep you busy for a long time.
The fact that you can now walk and explore locations on foot has also opened up the opportunity to jump into ‘Create-a-Spot’ mode, a brilliant addition to the series that allows you to hop off your board by pressing ‘triangle’ ... (continued on next page) ----