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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Montreal

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 19, 2008

 

 

- From your skater to the levels themselves, everything is customizable
- Big levels, lots of choices on where to skate
- The controls, if you can master them

 

 

- The controls, if youíre not willing to spend the hours required to perfect them
- The trick selection is limited, especially if you canít control your skater
- When using the nunchuk, the flashing battery meter can get really annoying

 

 

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Skate It

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

If your city was attacked by UFOs, what would you do? In EAís latest skateboard adventure, Skate It, tsunamis and monster attacks leave San Venalona a desolate landscape landscape when a mysterious skater appears out of nowhere and steps in to turn this abandoned city into a skaterís paradise. Fair enough; itís what Iím planning to do if that big earthquake ever hits Vancouver. Starting in a small elementary school parking lot, soon enough, youíll find yourself going from France to China opening up new parks trying to make the cover of the next Thrasher magazine.

 

skate it          skate it
 

With giant skate parks and a few cities to choose from, Skate It offers a lot of options where to go and more importantly a lot of variety in the terrain. Some parks are great for grinds, others for massive air; giant jumps, endless rails and even loop-de-loops can be found throughout the game. Although the disasters only

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occurred in San Venalona, the entire world has cleared out for you to use. Statues in London and rails in Paris, everything and anything are yours for the taking. And since unlocking each area is fairly simple, it wonít be long until the world is your skate park.

Starting the game using the balance board and wiimote, manoeuvring is done by leaning and tricks are done by

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applying extra pressure to one part of the board. Unfortunately without a great deal of practice simply keeping your line is a difficult feat and when you flick up on the controls, you never know what trick youíre going to get. It makes hitting target challenge rails difficult and planning what to do when you hit them near impossible. Also, hitting the wall requires you to turn completely around rather than simply move your neck, resulting in a whole body swerve for at least five seconds every time you find yourself off track. Although I got better with practice, after a few hours of using the board my heels hurt and I became worried about the strange crackling sound the board made after an especially hard kickflip.

While my lack of balance may be partially explained by my lack of real life skateboard experience, sadly the lack of control extends to the Wiimote and nunchuck combination. When you move your wrist to start a trick, itís hard to know what move youíre going to bust. Thankfully the challenges arenít so specific on what you need to do. Had the game asked for a Ď360 pop shove it to railí instead of simply Ďflip trick to rail,í the game might be impossible to complete. Out of the two options, for the easier turning abilities I suggest sticking to the nunchuck. While using the board is a great idea and I hope that EA follows through with it in the future, for this generation I suggest keeping it under the couch where itís safe.

When touring the world on your board, it may be best if you donít concentrate on the world around you. The graphics may not be terrible; but at no point in the game will you be saying to yourself mid-jump Ďman that is one pretty terrain.í Even the looks of simple obstacles such as tables and lampposts leave a lot to be desired. In the end, all that matters is that I can see my rider perfectly and the very unobtrusive camera lets me plan out exactly where I want to board to next. Though when you start to notice how even the rubble looks blocky and crude, it begins to take a toll on the gameplay.

 

skate it          skate it
 

The best part about Skate It may be that if ever you donít like a section of the level, you can simply change it. When skating certain areas of San Venalona, ĎMy Spotí controls open up and youíre not only able to move around objects, but add new obstacles that youíve unlocked along the way. Itís possible to spend a lot of time moving tables and rails around to set up the ultimate trick line, adding a lot of replay to the game. Personally, after hitting the same table in the middle of nowhere four times while trying the same trick sequence, I found it especially therapeutic to delete it from existence. The best part is that all these changes can be made on the fly during career mode with few menus to deal with. Itís not necessary to exit the game if you simply want to move back a rail to make a jump easier.

The same level of customization goes for your rider. If at any point in the game you donít like the clothing, board or even the gender of your character, a few simple button presses gets you re-decked out and ready to go mid skate. A few extra choices would have been greatly appreciated though.

The most important part of any skateboard video game is maintaining the proper flow. Spending too much time standing still to line up for a trick line or scroll through too many menus is a death knell in great skater games. While the quick menus help you get on your board as soon as possible and the camera never gets in the way of your next trick, this game would have benefited so much from better controls that didnít cause you to miss rails and slam into walls. They may not hamper the game enough to make me want to put the controller down, but itís just enough to make me start thinking about the next one already.

 

- Karol Kudyba

(December 17, 2008)

 

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