After reinventing a dying genre thanks to Tony Hawk, Skate 2 hits the scene with high expectations. Obviously, with the analog trick system in place, there’s not much reinventing going on here. It has the sequel problem of moving up to 1.5 as opposed to 2, although it’s close.
From a gameplay standpoint, Skate 2 offers a few new tricks, mostly things veterans will notice (footplants) while casual fans won’t even notice the newcomers. The career mode still carries all of the fun and frustrations the first game was known for. It’s all about repetition, trying to nail a line perfectly, set a score, or beat out a timer. Miss and you try it again until it’s finally done right.
Those with patience will find this rewarding. Those who aren’t looking for perfection will move onto something else with some extra give. There’s little room for failure in Skate. Also, the analog controls, despite their originality, are not always accurate. The difference between a kickflip and an ollie is minute in terms of the stick.
One of the more hyped additions is the ability to get off your board and walk around. This leads to the ability to move various objects, setting up your own tracks in the middle of a challenge to make it easier (or masochists, harder). Objects still need to exist in the world though. You can’t simply call up a ramp and make one appear.
Walking is somewhat clunky, and it’s easy to get stuck on objects. While the same goes for skating (why is that curb such an obstacle?), it’s annoying to move an object into position only to be unable to get out of its way once its planted. Still, just the thought counts here, and it more than opens up the game, saves hours of frustration when trying to reach some locations, and creates entirely new possibilities.
Also new is the ability to call in friends. Since the city has been locked down, certain ramps and areas are no longer skateable. For a price, you can call for help, removing these restrictions making it free to skate again. Of course, security is tight around the city, and again, you call for help. Of course, guards are only half the problem. Pedestrians and fellow skaters simply won’t get out of the way, wasting time as you’re just a second away from landing a tough trick only to be knocked off your board by some idiot who wasn’t paying attention.
Online offers the expected group of robust, varied modes including a wildly fun wipeout mode called Hall of Meat. There are also extremely difficult co-op challenges that only the best Skate players will probably ever complete. Saved films create a bustling community of videos, although capping the limit to 30 seconds and releasing DLC for extend that to five reeks of greed.
Those who grew sick of the original Skate will probably pick this up, realize it’s offering more of the same, and move on. That’s not saying Skate 2 is bad. In fact, it’s fantastic, but relies on repetition for its core gameplay that shows through within the first few challenges. New additions can’t make up for the brain dead AI either. Stick to YouTube to see some of the videos other players are creating and you’ll save yourself hours of time trying to make them yourself.