There was something utterly brilliant about the first Skate game when it came out a couple of years ago, emerging into a genre rendered horribly stale by the Tony Hawk series. Don’t get me wrong, the first few Tony Hawk titles were great fun, but great fun on a grey Playstation in 1999. Keeping those clunky and simplistic controls rolling through three generations of consoles did no good to anyone, particularly the people who, you know, just wanted a rad skating game. That’s where Skate came in, completely reinventing how glorious skating could be on a console. Forget all that erroneous junk that Hawk’s series of games had chucked in to keep rolling along, Skate went back to basics and focused on what’s most important about skating and that which makes it so sublime to watch; crafting elegant lines from simple tricks.
Skate 3 continues the great groundwork laid down in the previous two titles, carefully expanding the unique control system and keeping focus for racking up points on stringing together tricks in lines. Where it differs most majorly from the previous two titles is in two ways; firstly by placing the action in the entirely fresh location of Port Carverton, but also by completely reinventing the multiplayer aspect. Yeah, the new city is great to skate around, finding new lines and secret areas, and it does have a much stronger vibe than the previous two cities. It teems with atmosphere, from the billboards that change to reflect your progression through career mode, to the screams and shouts the pedestrians let out as you weave through them towards an unachievable grind spot.
The real focus here though is on Skate 3 being a much more social game. While the multiplayer aspect of the previous titles wasn’t flawed, it also wasn’t particularly polished. Games could quickly become pretty lacklustre, failing to fully translate the elegance and vibe of the singleplayer experience. In Skate 3, the overhaul of multiplayer makes it a much more integral part of the package, seamlessly blending in to the singleplayer game, much as Grand Theft Auto IV’s multiplayer does. You get better tailored group challenges, the ability to link different players together and create your own in-game skate team, as well as a refined voting system for choosing game modes.
Putting all this together, Skate 3 is a well calculated step forwards for a series with a solid pedigree. The city of Port Carverton is well executed while the new modes in both online and offline multiplayer and the refined career mode all combine to make this the most solid entry in the franchise yet. Team up, throw down.
Skate 3 is out now on EA Games for both PS3 and Xbox 360. This review is based on review code of the Xbox 360 version of the game.