|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Black Box||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 21, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are few different modes available for online play too. There is Freeskate Online, Skate Reel, Create-a-Spot Browser, as well as the usual Ranked Match, Unranked Match, and Ranked Leaderboards. The main online mode is Freeskate. Each location has its own unique set of freeskate activities.
Players will have to work with other online skaters to complete the various tasks. These tasks include Group Accumulation, Trick List, Survival, Gap Challenge, Simultaneous Trick, and Tag the Spots. The Skate Reel will allow you to upload footage for others to see. You can show off your great skills, or some really crazy wipe outs. Create-a-spot will let players upload spots that they created and also download other popular spots created by other members of the community. The Ranked mode has the same gameplay modes from Party Play. These include Spot battle, Best Trick, Jam, S.K.A.T.E, Death Race, and Hall of Meat. Players' objective in Jam is to outscore all opponents before the timer expires. Death Race has players racing head-to-head. The objective in this mode is to get to the finish line before time runs out. Players will rank up and earn bonus cash every time they complete an event.
The controls are very good. They are the same, for the most part, as the last iteration. A couple of the buttons got shifted around to compensate for the off-the-board function, though. Accepting challenges got moved to the Up button on the D-pad and off-the-board function is the Y/Triangle button. The A/X buttons are mapped to right foot push and X/Square are mapped to left foot push, while the B/O button is the brake. Flickit controls are still the same as last year. They are responsive, but they are marked by a very steep learning curve. As such, I feel this game will be difficult for the average player. It is not a game you can just jump into. Also, for some reason, touching water is like falling into lava or acid. Any attempt to touch water, even while of your board, will instantly reset the character a few feet back. This is very annoying. I can't imagine it would be too difficult for the developer to implement swimming.
The visuals are good. New San Vanelona is huge; it takes about ten minutes to get from one end to the other. The city is also very detailed. There are lots of pedestrians, security guards, and skaters everywhere. Cars are everywhere as well. Players be warned! New San Vanelona drivers are terrible and will not stop for you. The textures look great too. There are a couple problems though. I noticed the framerate drops every once in a while. It is noticeable when there are many cars and skaters all in the same scene. There are virtually no loading times except when setting up a marker and you get too far away from it - there were times where it took 15 seconds to teleport back to where the marker was set. Also, I really hate not being able to control the camera angle while I skate. It can often gets stuck behind objects and it sometimes the angle makes it too difficult to see an upcoming ramp. This is not always a problem, but it is worth mentioning.
The sound is also good. The city really sounds alive! Ambient effects such as car horns, police sirens, as well as pedestrians talking help make the game feel realistic. Also, everything sounds clean and crisp, especially the skating effects. Hitting the ground has never sounded better. The music is great in Skate 2, as it sports a really diverse sound track. There are multiple genres of music, so there is something for everyone. The game also includes a music player that will allow you to select the tracks that you like and turn off tracks that you do not like. The dialog does get annoying after the first ten minutes, however. I found myself mimicking it and making fun of it. It sounds a lot like this: "That was dope man!" or "Sooooo sick, yo". It gets old very quick, becoming very repetitive after a few hours.
Skate 2 is a great game, and, in fact, it is the best skating game to date, so I recommend it to everyone. This game is very successful because it makes players want to go skate. I think the game will click with current skaters even more. It does have some problems, but besides the running controls and the steep learning curve, there is not a better skating game out there. So go out, buy it, play it, and enjoy another great game from Black Box.
CCC Freelance Writer