by Professor Layton
reviewed on X360
Big year for the gaming industry
2009 is going to be a big year for gaming, and more specifically, the XBOX 360. With titles such as Street Fighter IV, Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Resident Evil 5 all being released before the end of March, gamers will be wishing there were more hours in a day.
Kicking the year off in style is EA Black Box’s much-hyped game, Skate 2. This time around, gamers can expect to see more cities, tricks, new control options, and much more. At the same time though, they will be greeted with a lot familiar sightings. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”.
Since the original, the Flickit mechanics have remained exactly the same, and due to this, veteran gamers should easily be able to pick up a controller and skateboard around the city. The only major difference veterans may encounter are the tricks. This time around there is double the amount of tricks of the original, including hand-plants, fingerflips, lip tricks and foot-plants.
Perhaps one of the coolest new tricks is the ability to sketch. This trick basically allows players to grab onto the bumper of a moving car while on a skateboard to gain speed. From the time I have spent playing Skate 2, I found it to be neat trick that works well for the most part.
One of the biggest differences in this sequel is the ability to get off of your skateboard and roam around the city. I found walking to be very convenient when you are trying to get to the top of a flight of stairs. Besides this, once you are off your skateboard, you can move parts of the world around. Whenever you find that you can’t execute a trick, just get off your skateboard and move the smaller parts around to try and make things easier.
Moving your surroundings
Sadly, the developers sort of screwed up the idea of walking around on foot. The camera is really the pits and movement feels very obtuse. At various points throughout the game, I found myself ‘fighting’ with the game to try and move my character where I wanted it to go. Moving objects, however, is a little easier to do, but getting your character in the right spot to move the object can be an absolute pain.
When it comes to moving objects, things that are light-weight and small can be moved, such as picnic tables, ramps and benches. Cars, bus stops and buildings can’t be moved, for obvious reasons. The idea of moving objects works really well for the most part. I found that by moving objects, it can make some tricks easier. It also allows gamers to experiment with their surroundings and try things that they would have never dreamed of.
Making a return from the first Skate game is the film editor. This time though, there is a tripod you can use and a camera that follows your skater around and can be placed at any angle around the skater. Both cameras work really well, but there is a problem with the film editor. Film effects have been removed from the game, which is a really bad move. Film effects were free in Skate, so if Skate 2’s appear as downloadable content, I honestly can’t see myself investing in them.
When it comes to online, Skate 2 excels tremendously. Players can take part in location specific cooperative goals, such as everyone grinding a rail at the same time, which is a lot harder than it sounds. With a large amount of players, you may be there awhile trying to complete that goal.
From the start of the game, almost the entire city is available to visit, with a couple of minor exceptions, such as a skateboard park. Another interesting thing to mention is that players can choose to be either a girl or a boy this time around. Hey, girls want to be girls, right?
The story mode has been improved but is still far from perfect. One of the newer additions is the ability to take on more goals. Those wishing they didn’t have to skateboard to every goal in the first game will be very pleased to hear that you can now jump directly to it. Yeah, it sort of takes away some of the fun seeing as the best part of the game is skateboarding around the city and experimenting with your surroundings, but it may come in handy sometime.
A few collisions
At the end of the day, Skate 2 is a great game. Though it suffers from some minor problems, the game is very polished and accessible. It features some great skating animations and maintains an almost constant 60 frames per second. The soundtrack is fantastic, as is the online play. Simply put, Skate 2 is a great game that shouldn’t be missed.
No Pros and Cons at this time