A couple of years ago Electronic Arts entered the skateboarding genre and took the title away from the Tony Hawk series. Skate was more realistic and wasn’t nearly as ridiculous. Now with Skate 2, Electronic Arts has taken that winning formula and added on to it. You find yourself in the city of New San Vanelona as you are released from prison. Things have changed while you were away and the government is clamping down on skateboarding activities. If you want to skate in some of the more popular locations you are going to have to do so without being caught by the authorities. The tutorial on this game guides you along just enough so you can learn the basic maneuvers before you start your career. Once that is complete you have a completely open world to do as you see fit. You can either work on competing the challenges that will further your career or just skate around participating in races, street contests and more. If you want to see just how good you are you can go to a “Own The Spot” location and see if you have what it takes to get the high score and “own” that location. There is a feature in the game where you can create your own spot as well and then upload it to the EA servers. Once that is done anyone can download the spot you created and see if they can beat your score. You even get an achievement for “owning” someone’s spot.
As I mentioned, you have a big open world to play in, however, you can warp to a specific location if you so choose. This is a great feature that was put in and it definitely helps keep the game going if you are only interested in the career challenges. One addition to this title is that you can now get off of your skateboard and walk around. That is how you would create your own spot as well maybe set yourself up in the perfect starting position before you attempt a trick. The controls when you are walking around are pretty bad though. They aren’t very responsive and you can’t do a whole lot with your character. Just to get him in the correct position will take a few seconds longer than it should due to these issues. The controls when you are on the skateboard are the complete opposite. You’ll be pulling off tricks and skating around the environment with ease in no time thanks to the intuitive control scheme. Fortunately you will spend the vast majority of your time skating and not walking. If you are new to this genre there is a definite learning curve to learning how to pull off the bigger, more spectacular moves. If, on the other hand, you played the original title a lot then you should feel right at home.
For those who like to try and maim their character in games there is also a “Thrasher Hall of Meat”. Throughout the game you will be graded on how bad you injure your character when you wipe out. If you injure them enough , you will get some money as well as some achievements. For example, if you break both legs during a fall then you will get rewarded. Other achievements in the game range from being really easy to get to you having to be pretty damn good to unlock them. There are the standard story progression achievements, however, there are other ones such as purchasing all of the property in career mode or appearing on the cover of Thrasher magazine.
In addition to everything that is mentioned above there are also quite a bit of things you can do on Live. There is a free skate mode where you can go on with others and just fool around or compete in challenges. Thre is also an option where you would browse and download spots that other people have made so you can try and “own” them. There are “ranked” and “unranked” matches so you can either go super competitive or just have a laid back experience. There is also the “skate reel” section where you can watch videos that others have posted online and rate them. You can sort them by “Top Rated” and “Most Viewed” to better help you browse through the good ones. There is also a section where any videos your friends have uploaded will reside. Overall it seems like a very well thought out system. Another good thing to mention is that while I was playing online I didn’t notice any lag at all. The whole thing ran really smooth which is vital for a game like this that is trying to establish a community.
Overall the development team should be commended for making another excellent skating title. Everything runs really smoothly and it seems to have come together really well. The new features add on to what was already a fun experience with the original. I can definitely see this game having longevity as people try to create the best spots and videos they can while trying to beat the ones that are already available. If you enjoyed the original title then be sure to give this one a chance. It’s a fantastic title that everyone should experience.