Tony Hawk has sat upon his throne for many years now, in fact his successes in the gaming industry have lived on well past his retirement in 1999. There have been many pretenders to the throne and none have come close to equalling the series. Now many of you out there will have a favourite Tony Hawk game (mine was THPS3) and there will be titles that you havenít liked. Each year a new version of the game has been spewed out with improved graphics and a few new features. Now donít get me wrong I am a fan of the series but the game has strayed from its skating roots, the tricks pulled off in the game are a million miles away from the tricks in real life.
Enter Skate. Or more importantly enter irony. EA the overlords of the yearly franchise are trying to topple a yearly franchise with something original.
Skate is different to other skateboarding games. In fact it is much closer to a simulation of the sport than any other that has come before it. Tricks are controlled using the right analogue stick. To perform an ollie you are required to pull the stick back and then jam it forward. A kickflips/heelflips are performed by pulling the stick back and then jamming the stick diagonally upwards. Pushing the stick in differing directions performs different tricks. Some of the more advanced tricks require remarkable accuracy with the stick. Grabs are carried out by holding in either trigger and then can be tweaked with the right stick. Manuals are performed by slightly pulling back or pushing forward the right stick. Grinds are performed by ollieing onto any rail or ledge, though your accuracy must be perfect.
The control system works exceptionally well, due to the games physics. Unlike other game you get a sense that all the movement is real. Wheels turn individually, if your board catches a ledge you will grind it in exactly the manner you would expect a real board to do. In fact the games physics are some of the most realistic Iíve seen in a game. This can be quite frustrating at times especially for those who are used to the Tony Hawk series. In Tony Hawk games you merely hit a button to grind, in fact if you feel you are about to bail after a big trick line a grind can save your ass. In Skate a grind is something that must be lined up and timed to perfection. Whilst this is frustrating it means that when you land a trick the sense of achievement is massive. The games physics generally limit you to real life parameters, gravity takes a hold very quickly and so you canít do multiple back flips, nor do you maintain massive amounts of speed having just done a ridiculous number of grinds. The game is about simple lines and well executed tricks.