Skate 3 Hands On Preview - With Friends Like These...
Written Sunday, November 15, 2009 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
We max the envelope, push to the extreme and so on…
Grazed knees, broken bones, smashed-in teeth and the risk of testicle trauma are just some of the reasons that we’ve chosen to stay off a skateboard. That, and a complete and utter lack of skill.
Digital skateboarding on the other hand is fine. There’s no risk of injury other than perhaps a slight thumb strain, and you can still pull off all the gnarly skate moves you want. Although, chances are the ladies might not be so impressed by your button-pressing prowess, as they almost certainly would be by the real thing.
Black Box’s Skate series began in 2007, bringing with it a revolutionary new control system and dynamic camera that made the dominant Tony Hawk’s games seem remarkably unsophisticated by comparison. And while Skate’s inspired analogue stick flickery all seems so simple now, it took us a long time to grow accustomed to solely using the sticks and shoulder buttons, breaking the old habits that we’d developed from the Tony Hawk’s series.
Playing Skate feels completely second nature, which is why the dev team appear to have left the controls largely intact for the upcoming threequel, Skate 3. The big innovation EA Black Box are touting for this year’s iteration is team play with the overarching mantra being, “Team Up. Throw down.” Skateboarding in reality is a social pastime, which until now hasn’t really been conveyed in a videogame before, so Skate 3’s new focus on multiplayer skating makes absolute sense.
Having moved away from the resolutely anti-skate city of Skate 2’s San Vanelona, where the authorities were constantly on your tail for being a naughty, anarchic skater type, the sequel’s Port Carverton is a sparkling, skater’s paradise – the very antithesis of San Vanelona’s crazed law enforcement. Skate 3’s vibrant city welcomes you with open arms.
This new accessibility is not only a device to enable new players to feel comfortable in Skate 3’s world, but it also makes perfect sense from a narrative perspective. Having left the grey, buttoned-down oppression of San Vanelona, your character has reached the status of skate legend, making your arrival in sunny Port Carverton the perfect opportunity to expand your brand and reinforce your burgeoning fame across the city. As you develop your name and become more recognised, the city changes to reflect your growing status, transforming advertising billboards to display your logo and associated product making you and your label increasingly ubiquitous.
At EA’s November Showcase, we got some hands-on time with a few of Skate 3’s competitive 3v3 team play modes, and not only will you be able to face off against rival crews in the finished game, you can also enjoy playing with friends in co-op. Playing as Team Hesh, we faced off against Team Fresh in a Skate 3 battle royale!
As fun as these last two modes undoubtedly are, the last we play – and our personal favourite – is 1-Up; a score attack challenge that sees teams take 20-second turns to simultaneously set a high score for the opposing team to beat. The pressure’s really on though, because if any member of your team should bail at any time, you lose your turn and score zero.