EA Black Box’s skate 2 will be released next week and X-Play will have its full review on Thursday, January 22. Right now, you get a preview full of video! I am a huge fan of the original skate (henceforth referred to as “OG skate”) and was very much anticipating the new game, especially with all of the new features and improvements that Black Box promised. So sit back, relax, and enjoy my preview of skate 2 and the New San Vanelona… but first, enjoy this video of the first challenge outside of Slappy’s park.
If the city in OG skate was the ideal skater world with tons of grinds, ramps, and spots… skate 2’s city is the perfect skater world. Turn down an alley and you’ll find an improvised skate park. Head to the marina and you’ll find a set of verts and bowls. What are they doing at the marina? Who cares?! It’s a little bit Tony Hawkian, but I don’t mind.
I will say up front, however, that you don’t need to play the first game to enjoy the sequel, but if you don’t have any experience with skate’s controls… you’ll probably find this game very difficult.
Gameplay & Improvements
The gameplay is largely unchanged from OG skate. The revolutionary “Flick-it” system is back and remains the same for the returning tricks. There are a few new things to try, however. Thankfully, they fit in nicely to the game’s control scheme and are easy to pull off after a few minutes of gameplay.
A lot of the issues I had with the first game have been resolved. For example, to quick travel in OG skate, you had to use subway stations to get close to the location you want. skate 2 let’s you teleport to any points of interest in the game. OG skate made you go to the Adidas store to grab some new kicks, but skate 2 handles all character customization from the menu. This also means that it’s accessible at all times. Generally, the gameplay is still realistic, but Black Box removed many of the overly realistic quirks that made getting to the fun a chore.
The ability to move objects and create your own spots should add a lot of replayability to the game. Unfortunately, these objects are not moveable in multiplayer. Also, be careful about moving objects near challenges: you might find that the rail you were skating a minute ago gets in the way of your landing…
The career mode is similar to OG skate, but focuses less on specific tricks. Instead of having to do a 360 flip to crooked grind, you’ll be asked to flip into a grind. The types of tricks you do are largely left up to you. The game is still difficult and experienced players will be challenged.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics got a little bit of a boost, but don’t expect a giant leap over OG skate. The game runs at a refreshing 60fps, but does suffer from a bit of slowdown on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. It’s not gamebreaking and only happens in some areas of the city, but it’s worth noting. The physics on the bails are improved a lot and leads to some truly bone crunching moments.
On the audio side, the game features a great, diverse soundtrack as well as a lot of voice-acting from real skaters. They’re still going to talk all “fresh” and “buttery,” but that’s just how skaters are.
Online Play & Community
While I haven’t been able to play any multiplayer yet, I was able to start a multiplayer session. An online freeskate session can be started from anywhere in the world a la Burnout Paradise, but it isn’t quite as seamless. The game will also limit you to certain areas at a time. The entire city is skateable in online freeskate, but not without loading screens to move between areas. It also removes the moveable objects, which is sad.
The in-game version of skate.Reel feels much snappier and has a tab to quickly view videos from your friends on Xbox Live or PSN. It’s a step in the right direction, but I’ll personally be using third-party sites like goonskate for my footy.
skate 2 Death Race Video
As always, if you have any questions for me, I'm happy to answer them if I can. Are you picking up skate 2 when it releases next week?