Skate 3 Review

Developer: EA Black Box / Publisher: Electronic Arts / ESRB: Teen (Crude Humor, Drug Reference, Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $39.99

Hello and welcome to the Video Game Review, my name is Turtle and today I am talking about EA Black Box’s Skate 3.

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Story

Skate 3 starts off with an epic live action mini-movie that takes you through the rural parts of Port Carverton, a fictional town modeled after areas in the Pacific Northwest where skateboarding is encouraged and respected. In Skate 3 you create a customized character and start off as a pro. In previous Skate games, you had to earn your way to the top. What is the object of the game you ask? Well my witless chum, since you’re already a pro you go to the next level: entrepreneurial business. You create your own brand and form your own skate team to take over the town, if you have the skills, that is! Newcomers, do not fret; Coach Frank, played by the brilliant Jason Lee, will teach you the basics in Skate 3! I mean, seriously, Jason Lee! Brody Bruce! Banky Edwards!

Gameplay

Not much has changed with the gameplay in Skate 3. EA Black Box has updated the graphics and made tweaks here and there.One of the biggest tweak is the camera angle. Another tweak is the button mappings for the new tricks. Other tweaks give Skate 3 a more refined and realistic feel and look. You can change it from the standard low angle Skate. angle or you can change it to a significantly higher angle that is behind their back. Additional tricks have been added, such as underflips and darkslides. Having these additions amp up your style and flavor when doing flip tricks and grinds. You can also drop into ramps much easier than before. Two new game modes have been added to simplify the gameplay. The first is easy mode and the second is hardcore mode. Easy mode is, well, it’s all in the name. It simplifies the gameplay exponentially for a newcomer to the series with the tricks easier to maneuver and grinds easier to land. Hardcore mode is for seasoned veterans. What took three pushes now takes five to get to top speed and grinding on ledges and rails requires accurate timing and pace. I assure you, it is not for the weak at heart.

Create-A-Park is a big feature in Skate 3. It is reminiscent of the Create-A-Park in the Tony Hawk franchise. You construct and reconstruct parks and areas for you and your friends to skate on. You can also upload your skate park so players from all around the world can get a crack at your creation. A few of the items you can put in the park editor are big ramps,,plazas, fun boxes, rails, and ramps. The more you play, the more you unlock parts and locations for the park editor.

Three new online game modes have been included: 1-Up, Domination and Own the Lot. In 1-Up you are given a certain time limit in which to score points. The other team you are up against has to then “1-Up” that score. In Domination it is team vs. team. Each team has an area in which they are to perform tricks and grinds on ledges, tables and curbs. It is up to the other team to get a higher score and own the spot. The team with the most spots owned wins. Own The Lot is yet another team-based mode. As a player, you and your team are given a time limit to do anywhere between six to twelve tasks to complete (e.g. grinds, flip tricks, grab tricks, etc.) in a certain area. The first team to complete the task is considered the winner. I enjoyed the 1-Up and Domination modes. It encourages a team effort, which is an integral part to an actual skate team. Playing as a solid unit will allow you to accomplish all tasks and come out on top. Own the Lot isn’t that bad of a mode, my only qualm was the time limit. I don’t feel that enough time is given to enjoy the challenge.

Graphics

There isn’t much of a graphical leap in Skate 3 compared to its predecessors. It is a fantastic looking game, but hasn’t much changed. The location and level design, however, are amazing and quite detailed. Each area of gameplay feels like a real world location. The facial mapping of the professional skaters are well crafted. One significant graphical change that I did notice is the color scheme. A lot of the game is modeled after the Pacific Northwest, so it has a grey about-to-rain feel to it, with a lot of neutral colors in the environments. That’s not to say that everything is grey, but a big portion of the environments are.

Sound

With any extreme sports game you expect fantastic sound and once again, Skate 3 comes equipped with an amazing playlist for you to get your skate on! Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo and Del the Funkee Homosapien are involved with some of the music, and Dan Diaz, composer of the first two Skate games returns as the composer for Skate 3.

Music aside, the voice acting and ambient noises are very good. The only downside to some of the vocal work is during competitions where the announcer repeats a handful of the same lines. It can get quite boring after the third or fourth time you’ve heard the same joke. It is hard to mess up skateboard wheels on pavement, so my faith is in the sound department with Skate 3. EA Black Box did a solid job.

Bottom Line

A new town, some new online modes and new tricks are additions to Skate 3 that will keep happy any skateboarding fan. An extreme makeover is not necessary for this solid franchise. Could there have been more additions to Skate 3? Yes. I for one am a fan of the first two and would have liked the “earn your place” style of gameplay meaning, becoming a pro was fun! To be fair, it has been done before so I can see why a natural step in the evolution of the franchise would be the entrepreneurial route. I just feel that the establishment of being a pro came too easy. Skate 3 has the right additions and the right approach, no doubt leading in to a fourth installment of the franchise.

8/10

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