Skate 3: Official Review
by Curse


Basic Information:
Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: Electronic Arts
North American Release Date: May 11th 2010
European Release Date: May 14th 2010
Trophies: 1 3 17 48


Overview
As soon as I think of the Skate franchise, one of the first things I think about is the first time I played Skate. After being used to playing yearly entries of the Tony Hawks franchise, which were dishing out fun gameplay, but it just felt repetitive and soon became stale. Skate was the first game I played on my PS3, and it truly is the new evolution of skating games, which is backed up by the fact that Skate. doubled the sales of what was the newest Tony Hawk game. Since then two sequels, Skate 2 & Skate 3 have been fetched out, and has bought us a skateboarding franchise that feels incredibly realistic.

Gameplay
Realism would be the one word to describe Skate 3. This realism is bought into the game by the invention of the 'flick-it' system, in which the player performs certain motions that are based on the foot movements of an actual skateboarder, to perform tricks. The tricks have various levels of difficulty based on the difficulty of their real-life versions. The flick-it system is used throughout the game, when in the air, moving the right stick repositions the direction of the board to set up grinds, and you can then re-adjust when grinding. You can also use the right stick for grab moves in a unique way, in which R2 and L2 control your right and left hands, if you use R2/L2 you'll grab the corresponding side, and then move your board in mid-air to perform different grab moves.

The inclusion of a few new types of tricks and a newer sense of realism is about as far as the new gameplay features go however, there weren't many times when I was left thinking 'wow, I could've never done that in skate 2'. That doesn't stop the game from being incredible fun, but when you actually have that thought running through your mind whilst playing through the game, it says a lot about how much hasn't actually changed. The main addition to the gameplay may seem quite small, but that is the addition of difficulty levels. By including harder difficulty settings they've raised the level of realism, which is good for the fans who were wanting that (myself included). Of course, by having harder levels, they've also included easier levels, making the game much more accessible to new players

Singleplayer
The singleplayer is laid out in the usual Skate fashion, you'll go around completing various photoshoots etc to earn the games currency (In Skate 3, this is board sales which are streamed to the online communities cumulative boardsales), unlock new items and new places to skate. As you grow in popularity you'll unlock new competitions aswell. All of this gains a sense of realism for those who follow modern skating, as you'll be entering real life competitions against real life skaters.

When you complete a challenge you'll either own it, or 'kill' it. Owning it is simply completing it to a satisfactory level, however when you kill a spot you complete it with a level of distinction. Trying to go through and kill everything on hardcore mode was a great challenge, as you have to hit some fairly difficult tricks at times to kill them. This also adds to the replayability, as I had a load of fun going back to killing roughly 80 challenges. In contrast to the realistic challenges, there are also deathraces and hall of meat. Deathraces are downhill skating races, that can have some insanely fast sections all adding to the difficulty. Hall of meat will have you throwing yourself off a platform, performing different poses in the air and hitting the floor in a correct manner to pick up speed and pick up more points. Both are fantastic fun and give you a break from the realism of the skating side of skate.


Hall of meat, great fun!

Multiplayer
Unlike the singleplayer and gameplay which had both took steps forward, the multiplayer didn't feel up to scratch for me. This may be based on me going for the trophies slightly, but I put a serious amount of time into Skate 2 online due to the online trophies, I also played skate 1 a fair bit online without trophies. When it came to Skate 3 there was absolutely no appeal for me to keep playing this online. On skate 2 I felt obliged to try and level up in the different game modes online, whereas on skate 3 this didn't feel to be much structure. It almost feels like they're saying here is what you can do online, do what you wish with it. Compared to the structured, competitive feel of Skate 2. Playing with friends is still a blast online, but there is nothing to the competitive side. Hall of meat online is still a barrel of laughs online, but again, doesn't feel anywhere near as competitive as the Skate 2 online. All in all, the only real addition is the team based matches online, these are great fun but just seem to casual for my liking

Technical
Port Carverton is basically a city built for skating (see the phrase 'carve' in the name). Unlike the previous games set in san vanelona, a city ran by regular civilians, not skaters, where you'd find yourself being body slammed by big burly secuirity guys. As the city is completely set up for skating, you'll find yourself surrounded by beautiful places to skate, from gorgeous marble edges to grind on, to massive university staircases to air down, you'll find it hard to turn 360 degrees without seeing something to skate on. The soundtrack fits the game superbly as always, with a combination of mainly punk and hip-hop, fitting with the current trend of music listened to by the target audience. Along with being a great place to skate, Carverton also looks beautiful in general, hitting a long grind along the port can look like a true piece of art at times. From memory I didn't once come across a single bug or glitch whilst playing through the game, and I've literally played the life out of this game. You still leave the game hoping that Black Box are given more time to create the next game in the franchise, to bring in some true improvements.


You can see some truly beautiful skating in Port Carverton

Trophies
Not a difficult platinum so to say, you'll have to put in a little bit of time the kill every challenge however, but that is the only real challenge, as well as Dedicated, which requires you to beat, unlock and earn everything. As for online trophies, there aren't many, and there are only bronze's to be had. They're there to simply get you to try stuff out. However, from the point of view of a Skate 2 platinummer, I could only feel disappointed at the lack of challenge. The only real pain was "It takes a village.." trophy, which required a combinative amount of board sales between the whole community.

Closing Thoughts
If you were to play Skate 3 as your first time with the franchise I'm sure you'd be amazed at what a great game this is, and how far skating games have came. But if you're like me and have been playing the franchise from the start, you can't help but feel a little dissapointed

Gameplay: 7/10
Strong enough, but not enough changes for my liking

Singleplayer: 8/10
Plenty of content to keep you happy, change of location helped keep it feel fresher

Multiplayer: 5/10
Really disappointed at this, despite how frustrating it was, reaching the top rank in Skate 2 was incredibly satisfying. But nothing about Skate 3 online grabbed me, other than fun with friends

Technical: 8/10
Great looking game in a great, skate-designed game. Let down by some slight lack of progression from last time.

Overall: 7/10