The lights are on
Skate 2 brings back the formula popularized by the original
.skate (a game that served to defeat the once popular Tony Hawk series in the
skateboard game market), and adds some new moves and features, all while
focusing on being bigger, better, and more fun. Though it’s geared more towards
hardcore fans of skateboarding culture, the learning curve and polish displayed
is enough for anyone to give the game a go and have a blast. If you’ve had any
experience with the previous entry though, you’ll find the game fitting like a
well-worn pair of skate shoes.
Taking place several years after the original .skate, you
find your main character being released from prison (explained in another
stylish intro credit sequence, reminiscent of the hospital intro from the first
game). After getting reacquainted with your buddies, the changes in San
Vanelona, and some of the new abilities you have on hand, you’re off to go have
some fun and rebuild your reputation as a top skater.
While the plot isn’t much of a plot to begin with, you do
have various contacts and motivations for doing what you do. Competing in
tournaments and doing missions will unlock more gear for you and give you
access to more content in the game. Plus, the game does an amazing job of
having you learn as you play, so feats that would have felt impossible at the
beginning are second nature towards the end of the game. Even without the
various activities, the gameplay is stellar enough that just free roaming for
several hours, looking for new runs and high scores seems to be what the game
most wants you to do.
The new moves and areas don’t add a significant amount of
change from the last game, but it doesn’t need to. Handstands are a nice
addition, as are some of the other little tricks, but the main new addition is
the ability to get off your board. It’s incredibly helpful in getting over
obstacles or walking up a set of stairs. For the most part though, Skate 2
simply focuses on being bigger and better than its predecessor, but anyone who
wants to go back to the original can still do so without feeling too spoiled by
the new features here.
The online mode is also very well done, with a bevy of fun
game modes (including a local mode that allows players to take turns going for
a high score). My favorite mode was reminiscent of Burnout: Paradise in having
the various players online try to perform a specific trick or complete and
objective during a time limit. It led to some hectic moments trying to finish
the task, and it was a nice change of pace having the godly player you once
competed against be on your side in a difficult co-op mission.
The location of San Vanelona is familiar if you’ve played
the first game, but has gone through some massive changes. The whole world
feels like one great big playground, and while the security and police might
put a hamper on your skate activities, they aren’t nearly as menacing as the
game would want you to believe. If anything, your biggest problem would be the
pedestrians and vehicles wandering around the city and inevitably screwing up a
great run. While these are the sort of hazardous things you might expect in
real life skateboarding, the AI on display is a bit questionable when it comes
to reacting and getting out of your way (or in the case of cars, not running
you over and driving away).
While the game is undoubtedly very fun and full of things to
do, it might be because of its size that it has such glaring issues in the AI
and polish. Too often I’ve had my skater completely bail out of nowhere or
ragdoll in a hilarious way because of the buggy physics engine, while one
annoying and unfixed exploit even allowed players online to instantly launch
themselves into the air for cheap points during online Hall of Meat challenges
(where players are supposed to injure themselves for points). In general, it
was difficult trying to get the game to do exactly what I wanted to because of
the focus on analog controls and the uneven physics. Even worse were the uneven
respawns, which would often place me far away from where I needed to be,
forcing me to either trek back or restart the objective for the sake of time,
but luckily the game did sometimes plop me right where I wanted to be, and I
was never so frustrated that I had to stop playing.
Overall, Skate 2 ends up a fun and deep skateboarding game,
for new fans and longtime skateboarding aficionados alike. While hardcore
skateboarding fans might understand the wealth of references to skateboarding
culture and appreciate the realism on display, the quality of the game and
sheer amount of activities and fun involved in just nailing a trick should be
enticing to anyone who just enjoys a great game.
loved this game, beside some very hard to complete challenges I would even say it bests its predecessor skate 3. The parks were all very detailed and the thrashes too! The removal of party play in the third for dlc really made me appreciate how well put together this game was. Rather than being forced to play online which some people can't 24/7 it gave us the ability to spend time destroying our friends and family locally. It may be old but it is indeed a classic in the eyes of many.