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Old 06-01-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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[360/PS3] Skate 3 Review

Skate 3 Review

Title: Skate 3
Platform: 360/PS3*
Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ESRB: T (Teen)
MSRP: $59.99 (360/PS3)
Editor: Tim 'Goronmon' Gagnon

What's Hot: Deep and rewarding control scheme. Large open world setting.

What's Not: Inconsistent AI for other skaters/pedestrians/teammates. No significant improvements over previous titles.
The third iteration in the well-regarded skate-boarding series of games, the aptly named Skate 3, continues the tradition of producing a quality skating experience on consoles. Rather than an evolution of the prior games, the changes in Skate 3 mostly revolve around trimming out some annoyances and along with including a few new additions. Black Box definitely didn't take any risk with the title, and veterans of the games will know exactly what to expect from this one.

When it comes to the core gameplay mechanics, Skate 3 really has no equal. The heavy use of the thumb-sticks to manipulate the skater throughout the various types of tricks avoids the mechanical precision of other games that rely heavily on the use of face buttons. The trigger buttons are used for grabs that are also tweaked using the control sticks. All of this means that the player cannot just spam buttons in order to perform a variety of tricks. It requires a certain level of concentration and planning to succeed in landing a high-scoring combination. This leads to a rewarding experience where one feels a true sense of accomplishment after landing a particularly difficult string of jumps and grinds.

The visuals are solid but not really stand-out. The draw distance is good, allowing you to see detail quite far off. The animations are smooth but do have some rough spots. The framerate suffers at times, sometimes as if you are hitting "seams" between areas of the game world. The audio works well: the music contains a good mix of various genres and the sound effects fit in well, with some nice touches such as the roar of the wind as you pick up speed and louder, more powerful sound effects as you complete more tricks in single combo.

The single player is based around your skater trying to build up your brand through the completion of challenges spread out through the game world. There is a storyline, but it's very light and will be forgotten quickly. The challenges are quite varied ranging from downhill races all about speed, to reaching a score goal tricking off a certain object, and even to seeing how seriously you can injure your skater in a crash. As you complete these challenges you gain points that advance the goal of building your brand which results in unlocking new skate parks and customization options for your skater.

One new feature for Skate 3 is the addition of AI teammates to your "team" that you build up through the main storyline. These AI teammates participate with you in quite a few of the challenges, mainly those based around racing or trick competitions. While this is an interesting twist on the usual single-player aspects of the game, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes your team will perform well enough in a challenge to make your own performance seem superfluous, and sometimes they will do so badly that nothing less than amazing output on your part will allow you to win. Neither outcome is very desirable.

The pedestrians wandering throughout the game world do add a bit of life, but seem to love congregating right around the spot you are trying to trick off of to complete a challenge. Also, the AI skaters that roam the world seem to love show up at inopportune moments trying to use the same rails and jumps you are. This can lead to some frustrating moments when you slam into an AI controlled person right as you are finishing up the trick you have been trying to complete for the last ten minutes.

The multiplayer aspects have been expanded quite a bit, as you can invite players on your friends list to participate in many challenges found throughout the game world. In addition, you can upload your own photos and videos online and you will get points that help your game progression if any other players view the media you've created. You will see these videos and images yourself when you first login to the game where it brings you to a sort of in-game dashboard for the online content before letting you jump into the game world.

It is fairly easy to summarize Skate 3. For those who haven't played any of the previous iterations and are looking for a very good skateboarding game, then this is the best one available. For veteran fans of the series, this may not be enough of an improvement over prior iterations to warrant a purchase.

Score: 4 out of 5 CoGs

Tim says, "Fun and well put together skateboarding game, but maybe only a rental for those with lots of experience with the previous iterations."

*Note - Review based upon the "Playstation 3" version of game
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