It takes a large amount of skill and focus to become a professional skater; thankfully it takes less to become one in EA Skate. Skate is the most realistic, beautiful, and challenging skateboarding simulator to ever grace the gaming industry. The game features a living and genuine city named 'San Vanelona' – a city that is split up into four different areas ranging from central business districts down to seedy back alleys and streets. A decent simulator like Skate needs to have realistic controls that challenge the user – and the controls in Skate are both challenging and fun.

The opening sequence to EA Skate has got to be the most hilarious creation ever to be made for a video game. It starts out with your character acted out by a hooded and anonymous skater. After a couple of basic grinds the character kick flips onto the road...then he gets hit by a bus. The following skit introduces the real-life versions of the skaters that you meet in the game in an entertaining manner. After a rush to hospital your character then gets approval for plastic surgery – and this is where you come in.

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The 'design-your-own-skater' system in Skate is an incredibly accurate tool that can produce a perfect replica of yourself or a decent construction of what you would want to look like in your imagination. If customizing your looks wasn't enough then you will be delighted to hear that you can also customize your clothing. From hats to shoes and all the bits in between – the look of your skater is moulded by your fingertips. The final phase of creating your avatar is to select a design for your skateboard, trucks, and wheels. Skateboards can also be tuned for trunk strength and wheel density so that your rig will provide the perfect platform for your acrobatics.

The control system in Skate is a marvel to observe and perform – requiring mettle and skill to conceive even a simple grind. The 'flickit' system in Skate consists of using the analogue sticks to achieve total board and body control. In order to do an ollie the player must hold down on the right analogue stick and flick it up. If the player wants to do something more complicated like a kickflip then a tailgrab, they must use not only the analogue sticks but the triggers. You must first hold the right analogue stick down and then flick it off to the right. The right trigger makes the skater grab the side of the board with his right hand, and while in the air, the left analogue stick must be held down – this controls where the board is in relation to his body (right to the right, front to the front, etc.). This system is much more complicated than the button-masher style of the Tony Hawk games.

It takes quite a few falls and hours to get used to having to use a different part of the controller to manifest moves but it is all worth it. To pull off a complex maneuver is incredibly rewarding - especially since you can record it and put it online. The motto goes, “Without fact, it's fiction” - in other words, if you pull off a massive combo and you do not record it who is going to believe you? Skate provides players with an easy-to-use replay editor that can be accessed by a simple press of the start button. Up to thirty seconds of skating is recorded at any one time – this provides players with a window of opportunity to create the masterpiece of skateboarding. There are also simple editing options like slow, rewind, fast forward, different camera angles, and the ability to put on different filters to give your video that edgy look.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is another cool feature which adds to the longevity of Skate. Team up with friends, rivals, or strangers in parks, stadiums, or streets for racing, tricking, and more fun then you can shake a skateboard at. Game types like 'trick race' place you and a handful of other players at one end of the city. Your goal is to reach the other end of the city whilst doing tricks in designated areas. This is much like a checkpoint style of race - miss a checkpoint and you have to go back and get it; miss a trick and you must backtrack to complete it. The game also has a neat way of dealing with lag; instead of freezing or teleporting you simply slow down. This is indeed an advantage as players can now time tricks perfectly and judge obstacles over a longer period of time.

Skate provides so much enjoyment and challenge that it should keep fans of the skateboard entertained for hours on end. A fantastic setting, realistic controls, and insane graphics make EA Skate a definite must-have. It may take some time to get used to the advanced controls but once you are past that stage you will be skating like a professional and enjoying it even more.

"The best skating game in the world. Period."
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 1 Hour


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Comments Comments (1)

Posted by marbig
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 6:56 PM
I enjoyed this game a lot, played it a lot and got 1000gs out of it, as well as a Skate skateboard from EA. Definitely getting the second.