(R) Skate 3 (PS3, 360)

August 9th, 2010 -

So I just finished Skate 3, and the the first thing I noticed is that it resembled more of Skate 1 then 2 did, even though 2 was in the same city and was more or less a rehash of 1. Skate 3 is what 2 should have been and reassures my faith in the franchise again. There is something therapeutic about just free skating around and grinding on stuff. It takes me back to the good ol’ days when Tony Hawk was a popular skater and not a popular brand. In the intro video for skate 1 and 3, you crash and become horribly disfigured, thus prompting you to create your skater. In 2 you were apparently jailed and leaving prison and… well, that’s it. The controls are refined more then ever, the graphics feel right, and the over all presentation of the game is great.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtSAs6TXGBY]

Pros:
It’s Skate again – the story is right, the color scheme is right, the intro video is right… Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen them, Skate has some of the most well put together intro sequences for any video game ever made. They always involve every pro skater that’s in the game out of context, portraying some character in this theoretical “one shot” video that just serves as a way to introduce you to the skaters, and eventually lead to your demise. Also, the entire video is live action, no rendered skaters here – these are the real skaters doing real acting, which is impressive by itself.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vksyj5JHOGE]

Running off your board. Thankfully someone finally got the memo that you don’t control left and right look with the right stick and forward and back with the left stick. Half the reason I stopped playing Skate 2 so quick was the terrible controls for running. Getting off your board was probably my most wanted feature, and when they dropped the ball in 2, I was crushed. Luckily, they sorted it out and walking in 3 is fantastic. I could still see some room for improvement, but it’s light years ahead of 2.

I’m not really sure how to explain the key aspects of this game that I like, because its honestly just the presentation of the game as a whole. I rented Skate 2, and I felt so robbed and frustrated from the experience. All the create a characters looked like they were taken from Guitar Hero, the color scheme was a dark and brown pallet like Tony Hawk Underground, and over all it just didn’t feel like the game I fell in love with anymore. However, it’s not what Skate 3 does new that impresses me – it’s what it does again. I didn’t have many complaints from Skate 1, so it’s as simple as: “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.

Cons:
If it is broke.. please fix it already. When I said I wanted Skate 1 back, I didn’t mean everything. Skate 3 is still plagued with many of the first game’s issues, and in some cases they can create a very frustrating experience. One example would be the other skaters in the game, and their sense of direction. Let’s say you’re in the middle of a trick-line – you have a 3x multiplier, you’re going for a sick grind, and then a pro skater hops on the same rail and knocks you over … GGGGGRRRRRFFFF$#&;@!! *throws controller*. Another issue would be the fact that your skater makes a better door than a window, which creates big problems at full speed in a death race. Honestly though, these are all minor gripes here and there. The bigger issue is that these minor gripes somehow find there way to each other and stack up, becoming a controller twisting experience.

Loading… you know, for a game that has almost no loading sequences at all, it’s really surprising that as soon as the game goes online everything goes wrong. The game constantly loads online, and it never seems like the seamless experience that the single player pulls off so well. Maybe I’m spoiled with Burnout Paradise, but the few times I tried to play online felt really laggy. Every time someone leaves, enters, starts an event, does just about anything other then skate, it stops everyone in their place and starts loading. To me, an offline game that is this seamless makes playing online more of a turn off.

Final Verdict:
All in all, this is leaps and bounds over what Tony is offering these days. For its genre it’s a must buy, but overall, it’s a $19 or less bargain bin gem.


Rent

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