Skate 2 X360 Preview
INSIDER ESPORTS - Insider eSports' Michael "MuRRaY" Murray takes a hands-on look at EA Games' upcoming title, Skate 2.
EA Games found out the secret to creating one of the most entertaining skateboarding games back in September of 2007. Combining revolutionary gameplay with a phenominal engine as well as some slick graphics, fans of skateboarding and casual gamers alike fell in love with EA yet again.
Just over a year after Skate's release, EA Games is back at it again with the near release of Skate 2, scheduled to roll into our hands on January 22. Having a great time with the original, I decided to pick up where I was left off in Skate, this time in New San Vanelona. Equipped with my old tools of the trade, I would have plenty to learn in this new installment of the Skate series.
Upon sitting through the game's opening cinematic, the first thing that we are able to see is a number of new options to personalize your Skate 2 persona. An enormous amount of customization is available to make your skater as realistic or as entertaining as possible. Having a limited amount of cash, you will only be able to afford a bit of what you would like to have. With such a robust clothing store, you will want to outfit your persona with the nicest rags and top things off with the slickest shoes and decks. Look's like we're gonna have to work hard for our money.
Selecting our style and the look of my character was hard work (insert lol), but now the fun begins. Loading sequences have been amped up to showcase one of the game's many professionals shredding up imaginary half-pipes and rails in what looks like a dark, secluded room. Interesting choice! Luckily the game quickly loaded as within seconds we were jumping headfirst into the core gameplay elements of ollie this, grind that, tuck under this. Rather basic, however the perfect training tools. One of the first things I realized was just how much more refined the controls are at this point of the series. Kickflips were easier to hit and grinds were more accurate allowing for total control of the board. Not only that, but a new gameplay mechanic was brought to my attention. Upon missing a kickflip at high speed, my skate simply ran out of the trick rather than crumple to the curb. Definitely a help, now you won't have to worry about wrecking if you barely miss a ledge or slightly losing your balance in a grind.
Jumping off of the board is perhaps the best feature to be added to the series, however the controls still need to be worked on prior to the game's release. Rather clunky and unresponsive, it's rather annoying to just run up a flight of stairs as your character would rather spin into position than run up the stairs at a slight angle. Finding my way into Slappy's skatepark, I found out that my character has superhuman strength. Able to throw large dumpsters and park tables around like feathers, I was able to quickly move rails and other objects into my chosen position despite the slow on-foot controls.
Following a couple of Skate-oriented tasks before me, I got into the meat of the story. Being greeted by none other than skate team Girl, they put forth my first set of true challenges. Some interesting moments for sure, I was introduced to some awesome photo shoot moments along with a more detailed look at the controls that I have available to me. Putting together sick lines have never been so much fun as I create whatever looks good to me. Having numerous rails, kickers and quarter-pipes before me, I could create any line that I would like to. Within minutes even the most casual gamer can get used to the rather complex controls and skate anywhere. Pulling manuals have never been easier and the new beanplants keep those ground tricks moving more than ever. Being perhaps my favorite franchise as of recently, Skate 2 definitely improves on it's predecessor
Although I was only limited to the Slappy's skatepark, the game's visual style was presented in all it's glory. Using a handheld approach, the cutscenes and various clips are all polished like you would expect from an EA produced title. Combining that with some great tunes from none other than Rage Against The Machine and Wu Tang Clan to name a few, this game can surely get you amped and skating for hours on end.
Having my hands on a very small portion of the game, it already looks fantastic as the release date is near. Making sure I get the most out of this version of the game, I soon found myself in the multiplayer portion of the game taking part in the Thrasher Hall of Meat. Quite simply, the idea of this game is to cause more damage to your skater than your opponent. Oh man is this fun. Crashing into billboards at high speed, flying into bus stops upside down, and careening off of rails are the norm in this game as collateral is counted towards your score. Round after round I played and thoroughly enjoyed wrecking my skater.
Overall, Skate 2 is looking to be exactly the type of sequel we would want for this new series. Seeing that Tony Hawk's creators are passing on the name, we may have a new king of the hill as EA definitely holds the number one skate title as of now. Having only a week until the game's release, one can only imagine what will be in store for us with the full version. All I can say is that we finally have the most realistic skating game while still going above and beyond in several aspects.