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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Black Box

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 13, 2007

 

 

- Large and open environment with plenty of skate challenges to undertake across the visually impressive Skate realm

- Online play is a whole other arena to show off your skating skills and take on the best Xbox Live skaters

 

 

- Anyone used to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater button-pushing will have some difficulty adjusting to the Flickit analog controls

- Who the heck are theses anonymous “pro” skaters in the game? At least the opening movie featuring them is funny

 

 

Review: Tony Hawk's Project 8 (360)

Review: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (360)

Review: Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (360)

 

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skate.

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Poseurs, one and all. Ever since the be-all, end-all skateboarding game in the form of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater released back in 1999, there’s been more than a few videogames trying to out-Tony Hawk Activision’s amazing skateboarding franchise. But they’ve been poseur wannabes that didn’t deserve to be within 100 miles of the same half-pipe thrashed by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. But that was then – and this is now, or rather, this is Skate, Electronic Arts’ worthy adversary to the Tony Hawk juggernaut.

 

skate          skate

 

Separating Skate from Tony Hawk is Skate’s Flickit controls that utilize the Xbox 360’s two analog sticks versus the button-mashing controls of Tony Hawk. Instead of the ease of punching a few buttons for the desired results that the Tony Hawk franchise always has provided, Skate makes gamers really work hard to master the Flickit controls. Manipulating the analog sticks with “flicks” of the thumb in 

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specific directions for specific moves, Skate does bring a whole new challenge to developing virtual skating control adeptness that veteran Tony Hawk franchise skate rats will have some difficulty acclimating to.

 

Although “flicking” through Skate will require some serious practice, there are plenty of practice spots around the large, open environment of Skate, in the fully reactive city of San Vanelona. Skate’s story is yours to write, 

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as there is a very noticeable do-what-you-want sandbox element in play. The better gamers do skating in the various “challenges” throughout San Vanelona, the more famous gamers will become and enjoy the accompanying publicity appearing in the pages of Thrasher and The Skateboard Mag.

 

You won’t recognize any of the skaters in Skate unless you’re related to them (and maybe not even then). Here’s the “who’s who” of Skate’s “legends” and “pro” skaters: Chris Cole. Ryan Gallant. Dennis Busenitz. Alex Chalmers. Know any of these guys? Neither do I. Tony Hawk’s roster of famous and recognizable skaters they’re not. But at least the opening film sequence when you first start Skate (and that nicely explains how gamers can create their own skating doppelganger) starring this skater B-list is actually pretty funny.

 

skate          skate

 

Online play is actually very good in Skate, giving gamers the opportunity to prove for all the world to see over Xbox Live just how great your flicking skateboard skills are. Gamers can also film their greatest Skate moments with the “skate.Reel” video editing tools to devise skate videos that can be uploaded online.

 

What seemed like a worthless waste of effort by the EA Black Box development team in daring to take on the mighty Tony Hawk skating franchise turns out to be completely worthwhile as the new kid skating around the block is anything but a wannabe poseur. Skate’s much more demanding on your skills as a virtual skateboarder with its Flickit controls, and the no-name cast of skaters may not draw much of a crowd away from Activision’s behemoth skating title. But an expansive world featuring impressive visuals with skate challenge after skate challenge throughout along with competent online gaming allows Skate to be the first creditable rival to ollie into the fray and meet head-on against a Tony Hawk videogame – the soon-to-be-released Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(October 12, 2007)

 

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