Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Skate 2 Demo

Okay, I'm a big fan of the first skate. It gave players the kinetic feel of skateboarding without giving them the massive concussions that come with wiping out. So naturally, I jumped all over the Skate 2 demo that was recently released on Xbox LIVE Arcade. Well, it wasn't disappointing and you shouldn't be either.

It would appear that EA, along with basically every other developer these days, has adopted the notion that "if it's not broken, don't fix it" and decided that the sequel should be an improvement on the first rather than a whole new game. The 'flick it' controls come back and are as sexy as always and the artistic direction is nearly identical with locations and characters aspiring to look real rather than the cartoonish aesthetic of the Tony Hawk franchise.

The biggest change that got me genuinely excited was the ability to step off of your board. Never before in the illustrious single-installment history of the Skate franchise has a playable character been able to walk; a fact that the in-game tutorials blatantly point out.

"While you were gone, we learned how to walk!"

Between the ability to walk and tighter grind/lip trick controls this looks like a title that any former Skate fan should probably have on their new-release radar. The only issues were that the running controls were pretty awkward and the wheel-level camera is still there. I don't know what camera angle would have been better to compliment the feel of the controls, but I can't help but think there's an alternative that would let us see a little more of our surroundings.

If you haven't already checked out the demo, give it a run. It contains the full character editor and even some multiplayer games, which makes it one of the most comprehensive demos I've played in a long time; or maybe ever.

Skate 2 launches on January 21st, and I'm going to rent the hell out of that game :-P

-That Guy

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