Tony Hawk has dominated the skateboarding video game world to date with its multitude of versions and a history spanning back into the last century. Can EA with its new Skate title be crowned king? We hit the skate park to find out.
The best way to describe Skate is to think Grand Theft Auto or Need for Speed and then take away the cars and replace it with skateboards. The concept is simple. You're a rookie re-learning the ropes after a gruesome accident with free rein around the city of San Vanelona.
You can either while away the time practicing your tricks or complete a series of challenges and mini-missions to gain kudos, trick status or unlock further areas of the map.
The more of these you complete the better chance you have of getting in one of the many skateboarding magazines. Get in the magazines or on TV and the sponsors will come running with money and better kit.
The career mode, which is the lion's share of Skate, is well balanced with plenty of scope to learn and improve and peppered through the vast city are seasoned pros ready to show you how its done. This approach of asking over 20 professional skateboarders to be involved means that no one person dominates the proceedings and allows you to get on with the game rather than having to be Tony Hawk.
As with GTA, the free roaming element will certainly appeal to gamers looking for non-mission based gameplay and fits the ethos of skating perfectly.
Of course all that practice is wasted if you can't share it, and so EA has made it possible to record your tricks and then share and send them to friends so you can boast about your prowess on your deck.
All the above would be worthless if the controls are useless and while they aren't easy, EA's choice to use both analogue sticks make movement challenging, but one that's worth learning.
Basically each stick relates to each foot and so you end up flicking the sticks to get the desired reaction. It's something that you are either likely to pick up instantly, or take an age to master, but either way it adds depth to the control mechanism. Like Sega's Virtua Tennis, the basics like Olies are simple to master, it's only when you get more adventurous will you start to struggle.
Skate is a vast game that will take even the most competent Tony Hawk fan some time to master and complete.
While the free roaming gameplay will appeal to those looking to waste some time practicing their tricks rather than having a focus, the biggest thing you'll need to have to complete this game is patience.
If you're into the world of skateboarding this is definitely a must, as for the rest of us, Skate is approachable, but you might get frustrated honing those tricks.