#966 Skate 2

Posted: 20th April 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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949th played so far

Genre: Sports
Platform: Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: Electronic Arts

In my understanding, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series and its spin offs dominate the skating genre, although it makes sense that EA would try to get into it considering the number of sports games they publish. It’s not a series that reached the yearly release timeline (probably because the environments need more than copy and pasting in a new list of players), but I wonder how a more modern skating game holds up.

Our Thoughts

As I was setting up my posts, I let the introduction to the game play, with your skater released from prison in a live action segment and giving credit to a lot of actors – both prisoners and guards – which immediately makes me wonder what I got into. It’s fairly low budget live action too, but the story mode just feels like it’s going for a cringy, edgy feel – an underdeveloped GTA to frame a story that feels more serious than I feel I’d get from a Tony Hawk series game.

All of that leads to you skating to a fairly standard skate park in a basic movement tutorial, while the skate park itself is set up to teach you a number of tricks through challenges. It uses the standard set up of a bunch of challenges with some thin story justification (taking shots for a magazine being the obvious one) and requires you to get all of them quite well without, I think, giving you quite as much feedback on what you’re doing wrong – there was one where I couldn’t get the height, while another felt like it didn’t really have the margins you need. I found the controls fairly floaty, and since there were no camera controls in the game, it’s actually quite difficult to go in a straight line – something you need to be able to pull these things off. I’m sure there’s a trick to it, but as the game focuses on teaching you the button combinations instead, you don’t really get to doing the actual work.

I get that these linear “do the trick” challenges helps you teach the game, but between the boring environment and fairly linear set of challenges, there’s not that much exciting here. When I compare it to Tony Hawk’s cul-de-sac start that had loads going on and more to discover, this felt incredibly boring in comparison. I tried the freeskate option, which gives you access to the later levels, and they’re big, interesting areas to run around in, but without any guidance it got quite boring too. You need some sort of story goals, but the game really seems to fight against letting you do something interesting.

Final Thoughts

I can see Skate 2‘s value in a different take on the skating genre and going for a more serious feel, but it doesn’t work. The controls don’t feel intuitive and the reliance on mandatory tutorials to teach you tricks hinders the game without making it feel any more accessible. It honestly feels like if you want this, there’s a series that clearly does it better, and this game trying to contrast itself with it comes off as hokey rather than interesting.