Skate ItWhen I was playing EA’s Skate on the Xbox 360 one day, I joked with my friends and said, “Wouldn’t this game be fun on the DS?” They said no, and laughed. I always thought it would be a pretty good idea. When the game was announced, I was surprised, and very excited. I couldn’t pass this up.
As similar as this game is to Skate from the next generation consoles, the Career mode in Skate It is a bit different. It follows the main idea of an unknown skater eventually getting somewhere, but there are some twists. The main difference is that you actually leave San Vanelona and go to different cities such as Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco, Rio, and more. Also, in game instead of having to look for your goals, you can simply press on your backpack, click challenges, and complete them from there. This is similar to how the story played in Tony Hawk’s Underground. You press start, click challenges, and there you go. I know from first hand experience, that finding your challenges in Skate could get to be a pain. In my opinion, this is a great idea, and makes the Career so much easier to complete. Another large difference is that you are no longer playing in a huge world. It is broken into individual levels, which is fine in my opinion. There is no way the DS could handle one huge level anyway. When you place a session marker, there is no longer any loading involved if you decide to go back to your checkpoint when you are too far away. I used to get really stressed when that happened to me in Skate.
A major perk with this game is that there is online multiplayer via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. There is also Multi-Card multiplayer, and Single-Card multiplayer. That means that you can play with your friends that don’t have the game with the DS download play program. I was extremely happy to see this. Most games don’t use download play and this is a perfect game to implement it. Offline, you can create your own spots, which is an awesome idea. Then, you can take them online, and share them with your friends. So, if you add people, you can check out if any of them have any spots online. Then you can session them. This was a great part of the multiplayer, and probably my favorite part. In multiplayer, you can freeskate around the specified map until someone suggests a game type. There are different types of competitive games you can play, such as S.K.A.T.E, which is skateboarding’s version of HORSE. When someone suggests a gametype, you then vote for it. If the majority of the players in the game vote yes, then you play. If not, you just continue freeskating. This is an alright method of online play, but I don’t really like it. I prefer Skate’s version of online play, where you can just choose exactly what you want to play from the menu screens.
-Flick It Controls
The reason that the Skate series rivals Tony Hawk so much is because of their effort to make the game as realistic as possible. Skate It is no different. If you recall from the beginning of the review that I said that Skate would be fun on the DS, it is because of the flick it control scheme. Instead of pressing the B button on your D-pad to ollie, you use the touch screen. On a real skateboard, you place your foot in the middle of the board, pop, and slide it up. It is the exact same way in Skate It. On your touch screen, there is a large skateboard. To do your tricks, let your stylus do the work that your feet would do on a real skateboard. This part of the game just completes the whole package. If there weren’t flick it controls in this game, it would just be another Tony Hawk. If you are worried about the difficulty of using the touch screen, don’t worry. There is a Trick Book that includes how to perform every trick that you’ll need. In the end, the controls definitely prevail on the DS.
Flick It Controls: 9/10
If you have ever played Tony Hawk’s American Skateland, or Proving Ground, Skate It is far superior in terms of graphics. A lot more detail was put into the scenery, and main skating attractions. For example, in American Skateland, you could ride up steps. Were they kidding? With most DS games, I am extremely disappointed with the game’s graphics. When Metroid Prime: Hunters came out; we saw what the DS was capable of. However, most games couldn’t live up to Hunter’s incredible graphics. EA did an amazing job at remaking a lot of the areas from Skate. If you are familiar with the Community Center from Skate, there is almost an identical version of it in this game. They also brought over the Elementary School, the Library, Danny Way’s Mega Ramp Complex, The Plan B Warehouse, and more. EA has definitely brought the bar back up on what the DS is capable of in terms of graphics.
A major part of skateboarding video games is the sound track. Unfortunately, Skate It’s soundtrack completely fails. There are four songs. That’s it. Four. I was extremely irritated when I learned this. The songs got so annoying after a while, that I just turned down the audio volume in the game. I couldn’t take it. However, the skateboarding sounds are extremely real. From hearing your skater’s foot dragging the pavement to push for speed, to hearing him faceplant into the ground, it’s all there. That aspect of the game’s sound is impressive to say the least.
-Differences to Skate:
> There are two different control schemes. However, they both revolve around the touch screen. > You actually leave San Vanelona, and skate different countries. This was a great addition to the game. > There are only four songs, which is a major downfall. > The maps are separated into individual levels, instead of a huge connected city. > There is a Create A Spot mode.
-Similarities to Skate:
> The control scheme was transferred over pretty flawlessly, and utilized on the touch screen. > A lot of Skate’s most popular areas were carried over. > The replay editor was carried over, and is much easier to access. It is simply an icon on the touch screen. > You start the game as an unknown skateboarder, and eventually make it big as a professional skateboarder with sponsors. > The challenges in career mode are very similar, and the multiplayer gametypes are similar as well.
While many were skeptical about Skate It being on the DS, I don’t see a reason for that skepticism to continue. There are a few flaws in the game, but the things that EA did right make up for them. With an extensive Career Mode, spot creator, online multiplayer and more, there isn’t much that EA missed. Skate It is a great game.