The most fun that I had in EA’s Skate 2 was when I failed. Maybe it’s because I haven’t played the previous Skate game, or any skating game since the Playstation (Tony Hawk 2 and 3), but I find Skate 2 difficult to get into. The controls are fine, if a bit touchy, but the open world turns what could be a fun, quick play game into a tedious tread.
Skating down a hill into downtown while doing tricks along the way sounds like a lot of fun, but when you get run over by a car, or collide with a pedestrian, or do a faceplant over a curb, for the thirtieth time it starts to grate. Worst of all, there’s little incentive to do this skillfully as stringing together a bunch tricks yields a score that does nothing. You get points, they fade away, you continue. Some could say that putting together a sweet ride, full of flips and grabs and grinds, is reward enough, but I just don’t find the system satisfying. Maybe I miss the physics-defying arcade styled tricks of the old Tony Hawk games (and SSX and its ilk.)
Skate 2 is also punishing in its difficulty. This, again, might be because I hadn’t played the first game, but it’s an uninviting introduction for a newcomer. It’s frustrating to randomly come upon a challenge at the very beginning of the game and fail to complete it after a dozen, two dozen, or more, attempts. Constant faceplants into the concrete when you are trying to accomplish the opposite of that are not fun.
Thankfully, in a stroke of genius, Skate 2 has a separate meta-game that takes place when you do fail (when not in a challenge.) Every crash is awarded points for speed, duration, height, obstacles hit, bones broken, etc. There’s a fairly solid structure to the challenges, which start out with simple tasks that you achieve inadvertently (hit a car) and quickly escalate to balletic set-pieces of pain, as you cannonball, spread-eagle, and flip your way into the most damaging of bails. I’ve earned more money in Skate 2‘s world by falling off my board than I did on it.
Unfortunately, the embeded player autoplays so I’ve removed it.
It’s very much like the PSN title Pain, or the Dismount games, except with a full skateboarding game wrapped around it. Unfortunately, when the novelty wears off and all I have left is a $60 skateboarding game, rather than a free or cheap downloadable rag-doll game, I find myself quickly losing interest. When failure is more fun than success, it’s hard to be motivated to succeed.
- This is based on about five hours with the game.