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Skate it

August 9, 2010

“Love it or hate it, you’ll definitely skate it!”

Skate It is a skateboarding game based on the Skate series and is located in fictional San Vanelona. The game has you playing an unknown skater who has to achieve challenges to get sponsors and the attention of high profile skaters. You unlock stuff along the way like hats and new boards and of course new levels to play.

It’s basically a challenge or mission driven storyline in which you load up different areas and look at the objectives you have to accomplish to get attention. This game isn’t a port from the Skate series as the controls have be totally redesigned to utilise the Wii motion controls and also the balance board.

There is also a unique feature know as the “hall a meat” which is a magazine that chronicles your most bone crunching spills for the good of mankind. Some of the milestones you’ll have to accomplish deal with doing a specific amount of damage to your body, for example, breaking more than six bones in one spill.

Graphics
The graphics are clear and crisp and do the job well. There are only two camera options which is bad as the player can get in the way of the action and the motion tracking of the camera can get really iffy at times. You’ll need to know the levels pretty well to be 100% comfortable when the camera spins and doesn’t lock in behind you as by the time it does align properly you may have missed your trick line.

The levels are large with lots of items to do tricks and many lines to skate. You’ll also have certain areas inside levels that you can customise and rearrange items to make better trick lines.

Sound / music
The sound effects are good but the speech can get a little repetitive, especially with the “hall of meat” calls. There is only about 3 variations and when you have to hear the same thing over five hundred times it will start to grate.

However, there are certain sections when you’ll be playing, shaking the remote and the game will make you laugh. For instance, you’ll do some sweet moves, shaking the remote around and the voice over will say “Your arms must be real tired just shaking that thing around hey? Whatever man, it was pretty sweet anyway!” These little touches are unique to the Wii version and are definitely a good feature.

The music is also good with lots of varied tracks. However, some of them are only available in free skate mode which is annoying if you like the tracks and want to hear them in career mode where you’ll be spending the majority of your time.

Controls
This is the crucial part of the game as it locks in the Wii motion controls as the default control scheme. You’ll have to shake your hands and get into it as this game won’t let you sit back and button mash like Tony Hawk games do. Using the Wii remote and nunchuk, you’ll have to shake it to do flip tricks and jumps and tilt the remote to manual. Grinds are based on how you land on a grind area and also on your momentum.

For the most part, it works well but can get sketchy and lock up. This can be very frustrating as there is no other control scheme. The balance board takes a long time to get the hang of so patience is definitely require to use it.

However, they haven’t burdened the motions with an overly complex system. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of and your friends shouldn’t have much trouble getting the hang of it in party mode.

Gameplay
The game is pretty easy to finish with the straight out career mode. The multiplayer aspect is pretty good with control sharing instead of two player split screen action, which is a bit sad as Tony Hawks games have split screens, but on the plus side you only have to have one controller to play with four people.

The multiplayer has a few different modes and lots of level to choose from. There is even a specific game mode where the winner is the one who takes the most brutal spill, which is a nice touch.

You are alone in this world, you won’t be playing with any other skaters, which is sad but you’ll also have the world to yourself. And lets not forget the nifty little ability to teleport! That’s right, you can set markers and teleport back to that spot whenever you want. Makes getting to the top of a downhill line really quick and easy.

Nitpicking
So, here is a new section that I’m including that are the little touches to the game that just annoyed me. They don’t detract from the game that much, but they do tend to annoy, so are worth including.

Firstly there was the gear selection, which is just awful. It’s all grouped by brand names making me feel like a targeted audience to a shopping advert, which incidentally it is. So when you customise your skater, you know you’re wearing an Adidas hat with Vans shoes and a GIRL brand skateboard. Yeah, I’m not buying that overpriced junk so stop forcing me to memorise brands. Seriously, I don’t mind a little, but it just got really annoying really quickly.

Secondly there is the load times for the skater. Each time you play party mode, you have to wait a couple of seconds while it load a different skater. Then when you go to a menu, you have to wait a few seconds there too. All these seconds add up to minutes of me waiting in front of the screen with drool slowly dripping out of my mouth while the brand names flash everywhere. Enough with the load times! If you’re in game, then you are looking at a thirty second minimum wait just to look at your moves list.

The menu systems are also badly designed. You have to select your control scheme EVERY time you load your game. That’s right, you’re customising it EVERY time. Why the developers couldn’t put it into the save game, I’ll never work out. Also, why do they force you to use the pointer for most selections? Why not use buttons, they would be quicker and less frustrating.

The movement of the player is great as long as you don’t screw up. If you’re off line or trying to turn fast, forget about it. There is no way to reverse your board unless you’re on an incline. And the turning circle is just atrocious and slow, ESPECIALLY when you’re at a stop. In more than a few areas you can get stuck with no momentum to get you out and pushing the board will do nothing. Needs more beta testing to work these level kinks out.

Lastly, the Wii motion is good, but it still locks up and refuses to register sometimes. Why couldn’t they put in a classic controller option? I’m pretty good at this game, but still more often than not, I’ll line up a grind and shake the remote and my guy will just sail right into the rail like a moron and come to a dead stop. This is usually followed by me swearing and bashing something in frustration.

The VERDICT
As with any skateboarding game released, it will of course be compared to Tony Hawks. This game isn’t like Tony Hawks games in that it is much more realistic and it manages to make more than a few features unique unto itself like hall of meat spills and the way trick lines are calculated.

So does it stand on its own? Is it worth getting? The answer is yes. This is by far the best skating game currently available on the Wii. The controls are decent, despite the few lockups and the learning curve isn’t that bad. The worst part of this game will be that everyone who plays it will be bringing Tony Hawks expectations to it, which will hinder your experience.

Get this game, forget about Tony Hawks and enjoy a different branching out of the skateboarding genre.

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From → Wii

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