Developer: EA Black Box
Release Date: 9/14/2007
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The Good: Revolutionary Flickit stick trick system, amazing graphics and ambiance, robust replay editor, realistic animations
The Bad: Shallow character customization, Flickit stick demands too much precision, no big name skaters, it can get too cramped sometimes, frequent loading and too many menus, EA tracks haven’t gone away yet, EA is sexist?
It’s very interesting how Skate just comes out of nowhere after Tony Hawk has reigned for over 10 years now. Just don’t come into Skate expecting a Tony Hawk rip off because it’s far from it. Skate uses a wonderful, albeit sensitive and too demanding, Flickit stick and it just feels so real. Just think of Skate as Gran Turismo and Tony Hawk as Burnout. While Skate is a skateboarding simulator it may turn people off who like the arcadey approach…so if that’s you stop reading this and go wait for your Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground pre-order call.
The world of Skate is a living breathing world full of cars, people and other skaters. While Skate doesn’t have the big names like Tony Hawk does it doesn’t detract from the experience. The graphics in Skate are amazingly wonderful and realistic. This game has to have some of the best graphics next to BioShock and Heavenly Sword. The animations of the skaters are so real with flowing shirts and real time skateboard damage. What’s also different from Tony Hawk is this isn’t a “get the biggest million point combo in a minute” type game. Every thing’s realistic and you can only do a few tricks at a time just like real life. You can’t manual 5,000 feet and still bust a million point combo by doing flat land freestyling…you flip a trick grind a few feet and flip out and it’s very rewarding.
The video editor is very robust and it’s cool to upload your awesome skate lines online and download others. You can also save photos from your replays as well. Of course, there are issues such as the frequent, yet short, load times and the flood of menus. The Flickit stick is nice but is too demanding on precision and takes hours and hours of practice to master. While you can customize a character it’s extremely limited. So much so that you can only be a male and there isn’t much to differentiate from other people.
There aren’t many tricks either; just your basics. There is no flat ground tricks what-so-ever. My biggest beef here is that every thing feels too cramped. It’s like you’re Godzilla trying to skateboard in Barbie Land. Also, EA tracks haven’t gone away yet but thanks to custom soundtracks via the Xbox Guide this is remedied quickly. If you’re a Tony vet then Skate will wow you and frustrate you at the same time but no matter how hard it is for you you just keep coming back for more. I hope EA makes a sequel and maybe Tony can learn a thing or two.