Artificial Continuum

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The third main installment of EA's Skate is out, making the third Skate game in 4 years. I hope this franchise doesn't turn into the next Guitar Hero, but thankfully, its innovation is still pretty fresh three games in. So in Skate 3, we skate in the fictional skater paradise Port Carverton, where three different districts (University, Downtown, Industrial) are custom-made for skating only. That doesn't mean there aren't cars or pedestrians, but the landscaping is obviously tuned toward awesome skating lines. Your goal here is to start a board company, and eventually reach 1,000,000 board sells. The technical details are hidden behind the scene, while you just see the profits come rolling in as you complete challenges. There are six milestones of board sells, which break up the daunting final 1,000,000 sells. Once you reach 1,000K, the boards will continue selling as long as you continue completing challenges, or other skaters interact with your online creative content.

|||||---THE GOOD---|||||

1| The gameplay feels as great as always, continuing the familiar and realistic Flick-It control scheme. Your right control stick will be worn out by the time you are done with this game.

2| Finally implemented are difficulty modes: Easy (featuring increased snap-on grinding, easier to get speed, etc.), Normal (assumed to be the approximate mode from the previous two Skate games), and Hardcore (which includes more realistic physics in terms of speed and air).

3| Plenty of challenges, with two ways of completing most of them: you can "Own It," which is completing the simpler objectives, or you can "Kill It," which has tougher objectives, generally requiring you to perform a specific trick or get a certain amount of points. It is only optional to Kill the challenges, but there is a nice achievement/trophy waiting for you if you Kill a certain number of them.

4| Upload instant replays and photos, or save as many of them as you want offline.

5| Build your own skate.Parks in any of four different locations based on the districts they are in (a gymnasium, a warehouse, an urban plaza, a stadium). Upload up to 25 custom parks for other skaters to download, use, edit, and rate.

6| Use the Skate graphics creator on the Skate website and upload these graphics to the game for use on your skater or as your team logo.

7| Online teams simplify teaming up with other skaters to take on other teams in certain challenges.

8| The soundtrack is good, but what really makes this game's music shine is the original compositions by several famous musicians.

|||||---THE NEUTRAL---|||||

1| There aren't many good hairstyles to choose from, and the facial modifications all look the same.

2| The graphics look fine, and the sound effects are good.

|||||---THE BAD---|||||

1| Some challenges are extremely difficult to Kill, and literally require playing on Easy mode. I found myself using Easy mode for half the game just to get the challenges "over with," which shouldn't be happening.

2| I am pretty worried about this franchise after setting foot (or board) in the Industrial District. Most of it is okay, but one particular area, the Carverton Quarry, takes it over the top. Doing vert tricks on huge curved rocks? Sounds like Tony Hawk games...

3| The "Own the Lot" challenges bring you a giant list of individual challenges, all of which must be completed in order to Own (you can't Kill "Own the Lot"s) the Lot. These seemed fun at first, but they quickly turned into a dull checklist of things to-do, almost like any excess challenges were just bunched together into one. These can be very difficult to complete and generally require Easy mode.

4| The Hall of Meat challenges are made specifically for epic bailing. Seems fun, right? Well, maybe it is part of the time. But it gets to a point, especially during the final Hall of Meat challenge, where you realize that this is a skating game... I bought this game for the realism, and so I don't have to play Tony Hawk games. These challenges, in my opinion, ruin the game.

5| Pedestrians and cars are as stupid as ever, and a new problem plagues the game. Pedestrians will literally create a crowd wherever you skate. Not a happy, cheering crowd, but one that stupidly stands in front of whatever line you are trying to skate. Free Play can fix this if you are just trying to record some footage, but while completing a challenge, those brainless noobs are there to stay.


Skate 3 is a fun game. Difficulty modes arrive, full-fledged skate.Parks are ready to be created and uploaded, and online teams foster organized competition. However, the flaws this game have certainly dull down the experience, namely bad pedestrian AI and difficult or unrealistic challenges. I wouldn't let this stop you from buying the game, because there are still too many good features that outweigh the bad. I find the most fun simply going into Free Play in hardcore mode, with no cars or pedestrians, and catching some cool instant replays to upload for others to see. I think EA should slow the production of the Skate games, however, and try to keep what made the original Skate as great as it was and still is.


Story: 1/2
Gameplay: 42/50
Graphics: 16/20
Sound/Music: 20/20
Re-playability: 5/8

Aggregate score: 84/100
Independent score: 80/100


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