Skate (2007) Xbox 360 Game Review

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Avatar for patientgamer9
3 years ago

Since 1999 and the release of Tony Hawk's first instalment called Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, the Activision series has reigned supreme in the genre. While all of its sports simulations have gained in realism, it is no surprise that a real skate simulation called Skate arrived on the Xbox 360.

Overview

Although the Tony Hawk's series is high level and a lot of fun, many fans were hoping to see a more realistic and urban skate game one day, to achieve virtually what they dream of doing in real life. The developers of EA Black Box, therefore took the opportunity to explore this opportunity. To achieve their goal, they have developed gameplay presented as revolutionary and very different from its main competitor. Here the left stick gives the direction (the rotations once in the air) while the right stick schematizes the movement of the feet on the board. So to make an ollie, you will have to push the right stick down and then suddenly up to give the impetus, as in reality. From there, it is possible to do all the tricks via the right stick with more or less ease. Because this system is enjoyable when it comes to riding for fun, it often turns out to be a headache when it comes to making a specific figure to win a challenge. Indeed, putting thirty tricks on the directions of a stick is as brilliant as it is complex, and the slightest deviation of a few degrees will make you do a figure other than the one desired. A pop shove-it instead of a kickflip is expected when you are not entirely focused. However, let's not sulk our pleasure and put it in perspective: a real skater does not succeed in a nollie 360 ​​flip every time!

Gameplay

Still, on the gameplay side, the grabs are done very intelligently via the triggers, the one on the left allowing you to grip your board with the left hand and the one on

the right with the right hand. But the real genius idea comes from the grinds: all you have to do is land on a wall or a bar with a little speed and a minimum of balance for our skater to glide naturally. This is all the same much more credible than pressing the Y key to slide when jumping over a bar! It is also possible to crouch on your skateboard to gain speed, or even to lie down just for style. Even though it will take a little getting used to, Skate's handling is excellent and innovative, which deserves a tip of the hat.

Another major strength of Skate: its career mode is captivating and realistic. Logically you will start as a passionate young skater in the streets of San Vanelona. From the outset, the whole city is accessible to you, and you feel tiny since it takes almost a quarter of an hour to cross it from north to south! Which greatly surpasses the competition. The city is divided into four districts: the peaceful suburbs, low-rent housing and its steep slopes, the old town and its cobblestones, the city centre and its skyscrapers. As much to say it right away, like a GTA one can turn here for hours without making any objective, to have fun and to find the best spots in the city. And they number in the hundreds! Once the different corners are more or less spotted, it is high time to get to the heart of the matter and climb the ladder! Creating a skater from A to Z is one thing, making him a pro is another. There are many different challenges:

  • Performing a specific trick in a particular location for a photo sequence

  • Achieving point and style objectives for a video sequence

  • Best trick competition

  • High-speed races in steep streets reminiscent of San Francisco or even a challenge against a pro

For fans of skateboarding or in any case of the dress style associated with this sport, the game is a real treat since almost all the brands of the sector are there and offer the exact replicas of the products in their catalogue for your fictional character. Osiris, DVS, Zero, Circa, Lakai, Spitfire, Venture or even Adidas, there are several hundred products (jeans, caps, t-shirts, jackets, sweaters, shoes, trays, wheels, etc.). Obviously, throughout your exploits, you can be sponsored and get a bunch of products without paying anything at the local skate shop. And if you decide to skate with a Zero board and Nike shoes, these brands will pay you for your photos and videos.

Graphics

The avatars are excellently modelled, the different districts of San Vanelona have their own personality, the sun illuminates the cobblestones, and the architecture of the buildings is well worked. The icing on the cake, the whole city is loaded in ten seconds at the start of the game, and you can then cross it lengthwise, wide and across without any loading or slowing down, the title is perfectly fluid. Also, San Vanelona is very lively, with many pedestrians and vehicles circulating there constantly. It also brings its share of dangers since it is not uncommon to be run over by a car or fall by hitting a pedestrian (himself being stunned and on the ground for a few seconds). The visual slap comes above all from the animations that border on absolute realism! Here, each trick has an incredible class to the point that we have fun doing heelflips over a small market set. The feet of the skater but also his body in general perfectly reflect the figure he achieves at a given moment, and this represents a sacred feat. To highlight the animations and give the impression of being the star of a skate video, the developers opted for a slightly low-angle view. This gives a real dynamism while being perfectly playable.

Sound

Finally, something surprising for a game stamped Electronic Arts: the soundtrack of the game is in no way exceptional and is even quite ordinary, certain pieces lacking in punch. Of course, the possibility of playing with your own music is possible. Excellent mention for the sound effects as well, the passage of the wheels from one surface to another being correctly transcribed, just like the sound of the tail hitting the ground before an impulse or of the Skate when repeating a trick.

Conclusion

Skateboard fans have been waiting for a real skateboard simulation for a long time, and EA Black Box is serving this one on a silver platter. Indeed, Skate easily fulfils its contract thanks to its innovative and enjoyable gameplay (although sometimes imprecise), to its extraordinarily vast and lively environment, to its high-flying graphics and of course thanks to its ultra-detailed animations which exude the naturalness, class and realism. This breath of fresh air is not perfect, however, its overly harsh difficulty and disappointing soundtrack preventing it from claiming a standing ovation from me. Nonetheless, Skate turns out to be a real favorite game and an essential for all fans of the genre.

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