Wednesday, April 29, 2009

VIDEO GAMES: Review - Skate 2

*Posted March 15, 2009*

10 years ago (I'm so old), my friend Jake brought over the Tony Hawk demo that he got from some sort of promotional deal at Pizza Hut, and we played it for an entire weekend. Eventually we bought the game and the next couple after that because they revolutionized an entire genre of gaming and of pop culture. Skateboarding exploded on ESPN around that time because of the success of that game, and without Tony Hawk, we wouldn't have Skate 2. Also, without Tony Hawk, Skate 2 wouldn't be fun. In THPS, the movements and abilities of the thrashers were exaggerated and easy to use. Without much effort, you could be doing 900 Varial + Benihanas and grinds that piece together 10 or 15 different tricks. That's what made it fun. In Skate 2, much like Skate 1, everything is more complicated and realistic. Ollies and flip tricks are done by moving the joystick instead of pressing a button, you actually have to pump on verts to get air (it's tough) instead of just holding X, and you can forget about easily doing benihanas and other advanced tricks like that right out of the gate. That being said, once you get used to the mechanics, its soooooooooo gratifying. This game goes beyond THPS because it's 10x more rewarding because is 10x harder and 10x more realistic, but that's not a knock on the birdman. Skate 2 wouldn't have been successfull in 1999 because of it's complexity and lack of grandeur. In this you play a customized skaterat that rides around in a huge city complete with thousands of things to do tricks on. There's plenty of pools, ramps, benches, curbs, pipes, parks, stairs to have fun with, and the career mode is long and rewarding. You can buy tons of different outfits and decks, and the bail system is amazing. You get points for wrecking, and they even have little missions like "break 10 bones." On the nastier ones, a little X-ray guy pops up with all the damage you did (and a toe tag if your head is busted), and the bone crunching sounds are way cool. If you took the world and feeling of GTA with the style and soundtrack of Tony Hawk, that's what you get with the wonderful Skate 2.


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