Skate 3 (Xbox 360)

Review – Skate 3

Skating

At least it doesn’t come with a plastic board.

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Rich

Welcome back to the EA Review Hour.  Our regular features are back, so we’ll be discussing whether or not this sequel adds anything new, exactly how much you can expect EA to sodomise your wallet and how dreadful the soundtrack is.  You know, the standard EA discussion points.  Actually scratch that.  Yes, it’s a sequel too far (that’s if Skate 2 wasn’t already).  Yes, EA have made the content sharing an unlockable feature that is free if you buy the game new but 800M$P if you’re renting or going the pre-owned route (truly, their cuntery has only just begun).  Oh and yes, the soundtrack is fucking dreadful.  Apart from ODB and that weird tune from Silence of the Lambs.

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More EA non-gameplay promo shots to comment on. Bleh.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the game and the handful of minor improvements Skate 3 brings.  The first main change is that, after two titles being set in San Vanelona, the action has moved to the fictional city of Port Carverton.  The truth is that the new locations are really just reinterpretations of the old ones with the usual mix of residential, business and industrial areas along with a myriad of skateparks ranging from street-based efforts to massive transitional vert parks.  It does all feel incredibly familiar despite being a new city but does have the benefit of being skater-friendly which means no fucking about with security guards and all that nonsense.  It’s a small change but a very, very welcome one.  I mean you wouldn’t put pitch-invaders in FIFA would you?

The city itself looks a little nicer than before benefiting from Skate 3‘s clearer visuals and objectives are highlighted with bright blue lines which makes identifying your spot a doddle.  Customisation of your skater (via the game) or logos (via the EA site) is still horribly limited though and needs a massive upgrade for the next game (which will probably have a stupid name like Skate:grind Skate or Skate 2011).

As mentioned before, there are a handful of updates to the gameplay.  By far the most welcome is that there are no longer separate lists for single player and co-op challenges.  Now any objective can be completed with or without a friend.  Co-op play is a help on some challenges and a hindrance on others but is the recommended way forward as playing with a friend makes the game far more enjoyable.  The challenges can now be attempted at Easy, Normal and Hardcore difficulties with the game letting you mix them up as you like.  The overall difficulty is a whole lot less than the original Skate and its easier sequel. 

People skating.  Whatever.  Care.

People skating. Whatever. Care.

Another welcome improvement is the introduction of a new challenge type, 1UP, that sees you competing with other skaters to beat their score until one of you loses a life.  It’s a great mode and, even better, it replaces the S.K.A.T.E. mode (although that is still available as a multiplayer mode).  This change is as close to an acknowledgement from EA that the analogue controls aren’t as super-precise as they need to be as we’re going to get.  The ‘Hall of Meat’ bailing challenges also seem to be a lot more enjoyable this time around. 

Of course, EA have added a few token moves.  These are underflips and darkslides and, typically, they add basically nothing to the gameplay and probably won’t be a big part of your repetoire when hunting down big scores in tournaments and the like.  They are easily accessed though, so you can’t complain, and at least EA haven’t gone down the awful parkour route yet.  Or thrown in BMX bikes.  Eesh… 

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Lurk

Secondary Review

I’ve reviewed the previous two Skate titles and quite frankly after the last one I was really scratching my head as to how they were going to improve on the previous game.

They’ve only added a couple of new moves - underflips and darkslides – and, strangely, they managed to improve the game by removing a lot of stuff.  The annoying S.K.A.T.E. games are gone, replaced with the much more friendly and fun 1UP games. Horribly strung-out online achievements have fucked off, in fact all the online gamerscore stuff was finished in about an hour between Rich and myself. There are also no no-skate zones meaning you don’t find yourself getting knocked off your board by dickhead security guards.

My main downers with this game are the fact that there’s very little in the way of new places to skate. Many of the places seem to be from the previous games and just given a makeover. Also, and this is a big one for me, due to EA being money grabbing cunts, if you buy the game new you get a code in the game, this code allows you to upload stuff to the EA Skate servers as well as download. Whilst this might not be a big thing to some people, the fact there are achievements that you can only get by uploading and downloading fan made artifacts into your game. EA are charging 800 points for this if you’ve bought the game second hand or are renting it.

This is all made more annoying by the fact that at the time of writing this these servers are up and down more than a whores drawers.

At least they didn’t name the game Skat3, because that would have been another demerit.

Secondary Score: 8/10

EA do seem quite keen to push the team aspect of this game, allowing you to create you own team and customise more graphics for them.  There’s a lot of stat-tracking going on which is all well and good but if your human buddies aren’t online, some of the team stuff can be completed with an AI team-mate.  This usually involves you winning and them dragging you down to a defeat.  Although, in the AI stakes, at least the brain-dead fucking pedestrians from the previous games aren’t such a problem now, especially as they can be shooed away with gestures from the d-pad.

Online play is as it was before with the usual mix of modes and locations.  That said, getting a game seems a lot harder now which may be due to people not bothering or EA’s online service being typically rubbish.  Either way, the online achievements in the game should take no less than an hour to get through for experienced players which is better than the massive grindfest that was Skate 2.  Of course, the customisation options mean that most of your opponents will be dressed as complete cunts.  Still, it’s an EA game and their communities are always the worst.

With plenty of skate park building options, there is scope for some longevity – you can also download parks from other players – but after two Skate games, and all of Skate 2‘s DLC, most players will be bored of this in a couple of weeks.  That’s not to say it’s not a great game.  It is, and it’s an addictive one as well.  But Skate 3 proves that, as with Tony Hawk Pro Skater¸ this genre can only really support a few titles in a series before jumping the shark.  Hopefully, Skate 4 will either bring some fresh gameplay to the table or, better yet, just won’t happen.  But, for now, I have to admit it was nice to burn through Skate 3, mainly with Lurk, and I did enjoy it. 

Of course, I’m going to hate the fucking thing once EA get all the DLC out of their system.  Fucking EA.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10

 

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