WHEN SKATE WAS RELEASED IN 2007 it changed the way skateboarding games were played with its intuitive stick-rotation controls. As impressive as those controls were, the game was still fl awed. The low camera angle made it hard to see where you were going, and performing tricks while random pedestrians/skaters were constantly in your way almost made the entire game unplayable.
Because of these flaws I skipped over Skate 2. Now it seems as if the fl aws from the fi rst game have been mostly rectified somewhere along the way. First off, there are now two camera angles for you to choose from: the restricted low-angle camera view remains, but you can now choose a high-angle camera perspective too. This camera angle in Skate 3 is a lot easier to play. You can now see the full view of the skater and the environment ahead of you.
Sadly, random pedestrians and other skaters will still annoy you while you’re attempting an objective. At least you can press down on the D-pad to tell pedestrians to get out of your way, but this feature doesn’t seem to work on fellow skaters. Several objectives will see you and three other skaters competing to perform the best trick on one spot. The trouble is that you need to perform your trick all at the same time! At least the crashes are not as gratuitous as in Skate, but it is still frustrating. Real-life skating events are not like this, as each skater typically has around 30 seconds to pull off their trick before the next skater rides.
Speaking of real-life skating, there are several pros that make an appearance in this game. Notable names include former Tony Hawkers Andrew Reynolds and Eric Koston, and the man who jumped over The Great Wall of China, Danny Way. The soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag. Neil Diamond in a skateboarding game?
Most other parts of Skate 3 are less frustrating to play, and there is a lot more that you can do this time around. The ’story’ of this game is that you and a friend start up a skateboarding company. Before you go out and start skating you have to create your soon-to-be skateboarding pro.
The major change in this game is that you will not only create one skater, but up to four others in order to form your own team. It’s only when you sell enough boards that you can recruit (or create) a new member. The team challenge is one of my favourite features in this game, as your AIcontrolled buddy can sometimes save your neck when it comes to competitions. Not only this, but there are several other challenges including downhill races and photo ops. I also like that there are now ‘Big Air’ events to participate in. The first game got a little repetitive, as it catered for more street-style skating challenges. There's an online offering, although the lack of an offl ine multiplayer mode really disappointed me. The old-school Tony Hawk games had an addictive local two-player mode, which I'm sure many will miss.
It's still fun, but Skate 3 isn't the quantum leap forward that the franchise needs.