75th game played so far
Although I suppose it might have vaguely resembled my former social groups, neither of us have been into skating, really. At all. It just never appealed to me. I prefered doing things where I didn’t have to worry about big falls and fast speeds. I’d rather not run the risk of breaking my neck during entertainment for vague tricks.
This game always had a big hill to climb, not helped by the fact I have no real clue what an ollie is or why you’d grind… at least in this context. It will be interesting to see whether this will pay off.
I still cannot quite get to grips with the fact that you hung out with the skater kids. Although I guess it does explain the Avril Lavigne CD. Not directly skaters – none of those around that I remember – but the general music likes and such, yeah.
I remember when this line of games first game out, there were a large number of celebrity endorsed sports games on the market. Activision made a mint out of using the names of big names in niche sports such as surfer Kelly Slater and BMXer Mat Hoffman. Or indeed Colin McRae, to go back a game for a moment. Of the Activision endorsement group it was only the Tony Hawk games that appear on this list (twice in fact). It’s a bit of a pity really since I would have loved to play Extreme Ironing with some D-List celebrity. And wine drinking, I’m sure. Still, as might be obvious, these games usually disappoint, selling on celebrity power instead of good gameplay. This is obviously not the case with this game, it was lauded by every gaming publication upon its release and is still ranked amongst the highest rated games of all time.
Since we have given the great compliment let us now discuss how this has not stood the test of time: the graphics. Now, we are always fairly understanding when it comes to games when compared to it’s contemporaries but when you consider that this was released just one year before Gran Turismo 3 the difference between the two is startling. Granted this is a year that crossed console generations but, looks wise, it is fairly poor.
One thing where this really stood out were the models of the players. They were clearly trying to get some sort of photorealism here, but didn’t have the technology to do it, making the faces be more a blurred mess of pixels. Textures of your surroundings, at the same time, are fairly low resolution, drab and repetitive. You can get lost not knowing where you are again due to most places looking similar. The only places where this was not the case was the Hawaiian Helicopter Drop level and the one where you are skating on the moon. I mean it is all well and good saying that you are skating in New York City but when the level could easily be Nowhere, Indiana it doesn’t make much odds.
Yeah, and while there’s some interesting ideas here and there, it doesn’t always join together nicely. It doesn’t feel like that much of a normal place… even in an outdoors environment, it feels more like random set elements put together that sound cool. Skating in a bull ring is weird - especially when the bull is taller than the skater.
One thing that can be very daunting about this game is the complexity of the trick controls. Being able to execute a fantastic trick takes a great deal of control as otherwise you may end up flat on your face with blood spurting out. Pity that this game was not advanced enough for the blood stains to remain on the ramps throughout the entire level attempt. Not helped by the fact that tricks are a combination of directional control and the relevant trick button. Because of the difficulty there, you do indeed end up falling down repeatedly. It is fairly difficult to finish the tricks too – obviously the important bit – and it’s a good thing the walls seem to be made out of foam, as all that happens afterwards is that you get up and go on, while your skateboard magically reappears under you.
In the end this game has a very specific target that it wishes to hit – and it is neither one of us. Gamers who are greatly into sports games or are actual skaters will end up being huge fans of this game, as well as others in the franchise, due to large number of skater professional namedrops and the severe level of detail that has been paid to it. Once you master the controls you are able to earn tens of thousands of points buy stringing multiple tricks together. You need to possess the drive and the general interest to play this again and again in order to master every nuance but, as I have been told, when you have the drive this is one great sports game.
It’s a double feeling. Yeah, this game is a good skating game. And I’m sure there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had when you get into it. But if you’re not, it’s not great. The graphics are a bit behind, the sound has good music, but nothing outstanding, and it just all makes it less interesting if you don’t care greatly about the skating games.
Nice ten years ago, not anymore as much. If you like skating or such things, do so, else it might be better to avoid this game.