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Skate 2

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Written by Daniel Malito on Tuesday, February 03 2009

Skate 2 is the sequel to EA's answer to the Tony Hawk series of games. Tony and his crew over at Neversoft, while they get full credit for single-handedly bringing back the skateboard video game, were admittedly getting a bit long in the tooth, a bit stale. Enter EA and its right-analog-stick controlled skating game. Perfectly programmed to feel as real as it could get using a control pad, the game was a hit. Now we have the sequel to contend with, and EA maintains that all the gripes from the first game have been remedied. Let's find out, shall we?

There is not much story to talk about in Skate 2, then again, not much story is needed. You play the same character that you played in the first game, and you have apparently been in jail, believe it or not. Once you get out of the slammer, all your old skating buddies are there to help you get back into the scene, along with a few new faces. You have returned to the town you know and love from the first game, except now corporations have hired even better security. Many locations have been rendered "unskateable" due to such things as metal points being bolted on to rails so that they become unridable. Of course it is your duty to defy authority once again. You must skate around town, meeting up with different real life skaters and accepting the challenges they put forth. If security shows up, you have to skate around them. As you progress, you will become more and more famous (or infamous), and more locations and challenges will unlock.

The gameplay is, in essence, identical to the gameplay from the first game. The right analog stick is still the main control device, and EA has added even more tricks this time around. The tricks are still just as difficult to pull off when you encounter a particularly complicated challenge. You will find yourself using the restart challenge option frequently. That is not to say that the game is not good, most times you will use the restart option in order to perfect the trick, rather than because you fail. In addition, in this sequel you can now hop off your skateboard and walk around. While walking around, you can use the right bumper button to grab objects and drag them wherever you like. Sometimes you will need to move obstacles out of your way, and sometimes you will need to move items into their optimal position for use in your trick. Being able to walk certainly helps when trying to ascend staircases or climb hills, but unfortunately the control scheme while on foot is seriously lacking. You cannot walk backwards, and in order to turn you have to use the right stick to move the camera. It is an awkward, uncomfortable, sometimes frustrating way to move when not riding. Another addition in Skate 2 is the ability to call friends to help you secure a location. There is one friend who will drain pools, one friend who will remove metal caps from rails, and even one friend who will push security personnel around and distract them. It costs money, but it is sometimes worth it. One other thing worth mentioning that has been included this time is the Thrasher "Hall of Meat." If you are just not a good skater, you can intentionally bail from your skateboard in midair. On the way down you could use the right stick to perform somersaults and other acrobatics before you hit the ground. Your aerial antics plus the amount of bones you break when you hit the ground determines your "Hall of Meat" score. My record is 22, 000, and at that level you will definitely exclaim "oh shit" when you hit. Crrrrrack!

The graphics in Skate 2 are basically identical to the first game. The city itself is a little bit larger, but the actual textures and motions have more or less remained the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the first game and more than adequate visuals. Unfortunately, at least on the Xbox 360 version, there will be times that you notice graphical slowdown. This happens most frequently during the race events, where you and several other skaters must race on roads with oncoming traffic. The cars combined with the players, all in motion at once, make for a drop in FPS. Every once in a while, you'll also notice that your skateboard seems to melt into a ramp or a sidewalk. Overall though, is a minor inconvenience.

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Skate 2

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