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In the console gaming world there has really only been one name for skateboarding – Tony Hawk. The endless parade of button-mashing gaming has been the pinnacle of the genre, if not the only existing product.

Now, as Tony Hawk’s line of skating games is beginning to groan under the weight of mediocre game play – EA has burst out with a new type of skating game. Gone is the idea of skating gaming as a kind of arcady unrealistic experience. SKATE wants you to genuinely learn to appreciate the sport.

This is primarily done via the Flickit system – where Tony Hawk requires a Mortal Kombat style left, left, circle, circle, square combo to succeed at a trick, SKATE uses skill with the analog sticks.

Your avatar in the game never statistically improves, you – the player – do. This is a game where you freestyle your lines in any way that you can to perform realistic tricks and lines while exploring the vast city of San Vanelona (a fictional city that combines aspects of several famous cities of the world.)

After a very clever movie at that sets up why your character is such a newbie on the scene, you are literally dumped in the Skate Park of the San Van suburbs at the top of the hills, and given a short tutorial to accustom you with the controls. Then you are literally let loose on the city.


This game isn’t about winning any goal. It primarily is about enjoying skating for the sake of it. There are challenges to keep things interesting, and the basic idea is that you will strive to get onto the cover of one of two famous skate magazines (or both if you so choose.) Each photo shoot you end up doing unlocks more challenges and come cool hidden locations – but you could happily play the game for ages without ever taking up a challenge.

What impressed me about the challenges is that they are never released before you are ready to take them on. The game is well balanced towards challenging your skills and getting you to learn the system without ever becoming too frustrating.

By no means is the game easy, but it is well balanced to keep things interesting for hours. I literally lost a day to this game, as it is very relaxing and challenging at the same time.

What is also impressive is the ability to take photos and footage of your tricks then load them up to the internet. All the pictures on this post are of my character performing various stunts.

SKATE’s system is so fluid and intuitive, you seamlessly move from one trick to another – never having to look at the controller to pull of a trick. The controls aren’t perfect – some tricks are too similar in movement, and I had a bitch of a time working on a Nollie 360 Flip, and constantly getting a Nollie Pop Shuvit 180.

But with a game that looks this gorgeous, and with so many challenges, I was always able to skate away and try something else for fun.

I can highly recommend SKATE to anyone who wants to play a game that is entertaining and fun.

Love and Huggles

Conan

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