Right from the word go with Skate 3, we knew that we were in for a treat, as the live action cinematic introduction was littered with stars of the skateboarding world, all offering themselves up for cameo roles ranging from the slack-jawed redneck, to the tree-hugging hippies getting a mud bath by a logging truck. We were truly impressed by the sheer quality and quantity of the ‘boarders on display here, and we watched in awe as one lone skater flew down a ramp to launch himself high into the air, only to disappear in an unceremonious wipeout behind a line up of portaloo’s. It is then that the game begins, as your character is awakened from his unconsciousness by the sight of a friend questioning the logic of risking life and limb for a corporation, when you could be doing exactly that for yourself. And so the premise of the games storyline takes off, you are then asked to select your company name and logo before being whisked off to the game tutorial with “Coach Frank”, a man who would not look out of place singing along to Electric Six’s anthemic ‘Gay Bar’.
So for those gamers like myself who are not natural born ‘cyber skaters,’ then we suggest, whole heartedly, that you take full advantage of the shockingly tight-shorted ‘Coach Frank,’ and the tricks of the trade that he will teach you that you will find imperative in your enjoyment of EA’s top notch skater title.
Skate 3 might not hit the Richter scale with all the ground shaking innovation of the franchise’s first outing, but we can assure all you ‘boarders out there that this game has more than enough improvements to keep even the most jaded of Tony Hawk’s fans jaws a-dropping. The analogue stick based control system works with heartwarming ease as you control your body with the left and your feet and board with the right. No complicated sequence of button mashing here to peform even the simplest Ollie. Even some of the more demanding of tricks and moves are accomplished with the deftest combination of but a mere tap and a flick of the sticks.
The games much improved work on graphics has made the game title even more beautiful to observe, but the new found level of realism comes from the games highly polished new physics and technical expertise of the developers at Black Box studios. Granted that the differences from such an already highly accomplished title as Skate will be hardly noticable to most, and lost on the uninformed. But to the fans of the series they will notice new additions to the list of tricks, ‘underslide’ being one of the new aforementioned dispalys of skill, as well as the textures and and animations making for a far smoother run all round. Plainly put, Skate 3 just feels more natural than any other game in its genre.
One feature that kept us entertained was the custom park creation, it just allows for so much input it really is staggering. We wouldn’t want to spoil the fun that you are clearly going to have with this tool, so all we will say to you is that after completing the main storyline’s objective, make sure that you are ready for some truly eye-popping unlocks.
Skate 3’s new home of Port Carverton will also fill fans of the franchise with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Long gone are the edges and pitfalls that lurked on the streets of previous instalments’ venue, San Vanelona. Replaced by the clear runs, smooth sidewalks, dropped kerbs and expectant rails that are to be found littering all areas of the new town, all just begging for you to come tearing through and nosegrind along. The multiplayer section of the game has also been drastically improved upon from the valiant attempt to bring Skateboarding to the masses on Skate 2, and this is evident from the way that there is a much greater sense of competitiveness between players. There are a plethora of new challenges and modes for you and your friends to compete in and against, and even though we have read some complaints with regard to venues, we did not share this sentiment and found only that the multiplayer was a marked improvement on anything past or present on the market.
To sum up then, has the series suffered at the hands of the corporates forcing developer’s to churn out titles year after year after year? The answer, a simple ‘No’. Skate 3 has done what Tony Hawk could not, and that is to enjoy continued success thanks to improvement and innovation by the games developers.You don’t feel cheated when you play Skate 3, you don’t feel it needs to sell you wireless gimmick boards to try and stimulate your interest. You wanted a title that best highlighted the feeling of sheer exhilaration that one gets when skateboarding,and that is exactly what Black Box and EA have delivered to you. Skate 3 gets a 9 out of 10
Skate 3 is on sale now at all major games outlets and retailer price around £39.99