January 17, 2009

Skate 2 PS3 Demo Impressions

MrWeymes Says: Many console owners and critics greatly enjoyed the original Skate. If you've never played the original Skate, and are coming from the Tony Hawk universe, then you may be a little put off at first. Based solely on the demo, Skate 2 isn't very similar to the Tony Hawk games at all. It's more like a skateboarding simulation. At first, this may feel a little annoying, because even simple tricks can be difficult to pull off; but landing the perfect trick is very rewarding in the Skate 2 demo.

You can call Tony Hawk skateboarding games many things, but realistic isn't one of them. Pulling off 10 trick combos is commonplace in the Tony Hawk universe. Skate 2 is much different. When you get past the initial character creation screen and begin the actual gameplay in the demo for Skate 2, you're instructed on how to push your board, and then you are told to make your way to a warehouse. From here, you're told that you can walk in Skate 2 by pressing the triangle button. You walk up the stairs, and meet your next objective. You are faced with a reasonable gap that you must ollie over in order to proceed. For veterans of the original Skate, this may seem like a simple task, however for people coming from Tony Hawk games, or rookies in general, it's not entirely simple and may require a couple of tries. To ollie in Skate 2, you must push the right analog stick down, and flick it upwards. You are also able to hold the right analog stick down, and flick it in a variety of other directions to do other tricks such as a kick flip.

After you jump over the gap, you're instructed to hop off your board once again, and move a garbage bin that is blocking the entrance to the skate park. You move objects by holding R1 and moving with the left analog stick. After this is accomplished, the real fun begins. After you enter the skate park, you are on a large ramp. You are instructed to create a "session marker," which allows you to warp back to that exact spot. You go on to meet Slappy, the owner of the park, and you're told to go back to the session marker to jump the gap while doing a grab with L2 or R2. After you complete this relatively simple task, you're instructed on how to do several tricks such as the ollie, and kick flip as explained above. The next objective is to do a couple of manuals by slightly pressing forward or backward on the right analog stick. You're then asked to flip out of it by doing any trick. You continue, and meet a photographer who wants you to get on top of a large platform by moving a ramp in to position. You can do a variety of tricks such as grinding a rail, or simply landing on the platform to complete this task. The same photographer then asks you to grind across a rail, which can be difficult at first, because unlike Tony Hawk games you have to land on the rail perfectly rather than pressing a button to hone in on the rail. It's somewhat difficult at first, but is ultimately satisfying.

The entire demo of the career mode is timed. You are given roughly five minutes to play the demo, but after completing each challenge mentioned above, you are give a little extra time to skate around the skate park, and work on some tricks. After you've completed the challenges, you'll probably have about six or seven minutes to enjoy yourself. For many, this may be the most enjoyable part of the demo, because you can challenge yourself by attempting difficult tricks, grinds, etc. It really captures the essence of skating.

The demo also features two multiplayer modes. One is called Spot Battle and the other is Hall of Meat. In spot battle, you take turns with other players trying to land a trick over the same gap. The player with the highest score wins. In Hall of Meat, you again take turns with other players attempting to inflict the most pain on yourself going over a gap. Once again, the player with the highest score wins.

The Skate 2 demo is fun and rather frustrating at the same time. For those that assume that Skate 2 is going to be similar to the arcade style that the Tony Hawk series is known for, they may not enjoy the demanding technicality that Skate 2 requires. However, fans of the genre that have grown tired of the Tony Hawk series may enjoy the difference in style. Landing a difficult trick in Skate 2 gives players a very rewarding feeling. If you're interested in skateboarding games, you should download the demo, and play through it a few times to form an opinion. Based on the demo, it's certainly a rental at the very least.