|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: May 11, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (6 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
The first thing you need to know about Skate 3 is that this is a massive game filled to the gills with compelling skater-based content. Whether you want epic, varied terrain, deep creation and customization tools, robust online play, or cool challenges, this game has it all. What's more, if you're an analog stick trick veteran, you'll love the familiar, realistic-feeling control scheme. If you haven't been following the Skate series, however, get ready to devote hours mastering the inputs; this game definitely has a steep learning curve. Put in the time, though, and you're in for a hefty treat of skating goodness.
Skate 3 is nothing if not varied, and that certainly includes the diverse environments in which you'll skate. Ditching San Vanelona for the greener, more northerly shredding pastures of Port Carverton, Skate 3 gives players the ideal setting for great skating fun. Port Carverton oozes quality hits, grinds, and lines strewn across the vibrant city. You'll be able to skate your way around the college district scaring co-eds, thrash about the umpteen skate parks, travel from zone to zone enjoying the many long, well put-together skate lines, visit the downtown and leave your mark on the buildings and businesses, head to the docks and startle the tourists, and even take in the floral beauty of the Memorial Gardens. Having fun in Skate 3 and taking advantage of the unique characteristics found in each area is one of the best aspects of this title.
Another great facet is the way in which players are rewarded for their efforts. Whereas in Skate 2 you were struggling to leave your mark on the scene, here you're already a known quantity. Building upon your hard-earned fame, you'll now set out to start your own team and brand, selling as many boards as you can. What better way to improve your worldwide brand recognition than by promoting your company through winning competitions and ballsy skating. The better, cleaner you skate, and the more difficult the challenges you best, the higher multipliers you'll achieve, translating into serious board sales - reach a million units shifted and you own the skating scene.
In all, there are over two dozen challenge types in Skate 3 that run the gamut from the HORSE-like "Skate", "Follow the Leader" (learn new, sick lines), and "Deathrace" (get to the finish first by any means possible) to "Film" (get great footage for promotional purposes), "Hall of Meat" (break as many bones as you can while pulling off massive bails), and organized "Contests" (pro events with varied formats). The diverse challenges, married with the ability to roam the open-world and free skate at your leisure means there's loads to do while playing solo.
Naturally, completing all the objectives in these challenge means you "Owned" them, netting you notoriety and lots of board sales. But, if you really want to up the ante, you'll have to try and "Kill" the challenges. Killing a challenge requires utter precision in the execution of the tasks at hand. Getting a "Kill" grade can be incredibly trying at times, so thankfully you'll be able to go back to any "Owned" challenge and retry it in order to get the "Kill." Both "Owned" and "Killed" ranks will open up new challenges, reveal more pros, and unlock new gear, but killing challenges will add up over time to get you ridiculous board totals. Best of all, this dual-tiered ranking system allows both skilled and not-so-skilled virtual skaters to be duly rewarded for their efforts.
In addition to being rewarded for your technical ability to skate, you'll also achieve board sales for letting your creative juices flow. Skate 3 has an extremely rewarding, user-friendly skate park creator and even photo and video editors. While capturing footage is likely only great for hardcore players, building a park through the editor is great for anyone. Because there are tons of different terrain pieces you can use and earn through challenges, plus there are a number of props such as rails and benches to position, you set up and create the perfect lines, truly leaving your mark on the game. Once you're finished creating, you can invite friends to join in on free skate sessions to test out your creation, and you can upload your parks to the EA servers in order to have people download them for their own use - the more downloads, the more board sales you'll get. Best of all, this means there will be essentially limitless, cleverly made terrain parks for you to download to keep your experience fresh.
I loved the "sell-boards-to-improve-your-score" mechanic. Though board sales, on the surface, are essentially interchangeable with standard point tallies, it ends up providing a convincing flavor to the game that is carried on and nicely incorporated throughout it. After several hours of gameplay, you'll still want to shred around Port Carverton simply because there are boards to be sold - it really feels like you're the head of a company, but rather than fudging numbers and staying under the SEC's radar, you'll just have to link sweet tricks and pull off varied lines.