Skate 3 Review (PS3)
So you want to be a skateboard legend and revel in the comparisons to the likes of Tony Hawk and Rob Dyrdek? Well, then prepare your body and mind to fearlessly smash the tricks out the local skate parks and establish your name in the game.
EA Black Box’s Skate 3 has buried some heavy soles into wet cement to ensure that its legacy will not soon be forgotten. The game carries legitimacy and weight without a slip or a stumble. Simply put, I have never played a title that has the same depth of controls as the Skate series.
Skate 3 possesses fluid animations that allow you to control all of your virtual skater's major muscle groups. It’s quite a feat both aesthetically and physiologically for the bio majors out there reading this. The transitions from trick to trick in mid-air just look beautiful.
You can feel the impact on your board after landing tricks with full 360-degree control of the human body and your board. Too much air with a flat landing will hurt your legs, and the landing won’t be pretty either.
For those of you new to the series, the controls in place are there to help you control your body movements. The left and right triggers offer left and right arm grabs, and the same goes for the face buttons coordinating with your legs. As you pull off tricks on the right stick, your feet match the movements.
Skate 3 holds a steady frame rate throughout the environments, even during challenges filled with multiple pedestrians and skaters.
Skate 3’s footwork and controls are engineered to near perfection. The art of skating in this title is about timing and the correct speed. The control of your speed is based on the body weight on your board, which you can also control.
Each surface in the game has different properties, and your board will react differently from one to the next. Grinding on granite stone has a different feel than grinding on metal rails.
Momentum is key to maintaining balance and control on your board. Turning at the right speed and hitting the jump off at the precise moment often separates the beast-mode tricks from the ordinary ones.
The learning curve is steep, but the reward is worth the wait. There is a sense of accomplishment when nailing tricks in such a difficult game.
The graphical feats in Skate 3 go unnoticed. I know some people may think it looks like a last-gen title but take a second look. The surfaces that you skate on have a considerable amount of detail. This element also plays into the texture and differentiation of each material to trick on. The overall effect is a distinguishing feel to all the elements presented in the game.
Then, by coupling the visuals with quality sound engineering, everything is strung together like a well-planned line. Your wheels hit the different surfaces, and because each has a unique sound, there is an inherent sense of realistic skating that is unforced yet undeniably present.
The shadows and textures are progressive when passing through sunny spots to shade, and after a couple bails and crashes, your skater’s clothes start getting a bit damaged and dirty. If there is one shortcoming, it is that the player models could use a bit of work in terms of detail and facial expressions. Nevertheless, the game looks vibrant and is just enjoyable to watch.
Two words can be used to describe a theme in Skate 3’s Career mode: entrepreneurial ambition.
The Career mode in Skate 3 takes a page from the Fantasy Factory and brings it home. Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and business success have undoubtedly influenced the direction of the Career mode and Skate Park builder in Skate 3. Personally, I could not be any more pleased with this style of a career.
The goal of your skater’s career is to establish your name in the game, create a hot logo online on skate.ea.com, and take your skateboarding brand to Jordan status. Become legendary.
While the focus in the game revolves around building your empire, this mode does not take itself too seriously, and rates your success on the number of boards you sell.
You can gain points to buy new gear by defeating challenges that pop up in the fictional world of Port Carverton. You will come across some skate legends in your challenges as well.
Some of the challenges in the Career mode include: death race, film, hall of meat, own the lot, photo, pros, team promos, street contest and training.
When it is all said and done, you will strive to establish your Skate 3 brand and develop your own skate park. The Skate Park editor allows for full customization of materials from every angle to size and texture. You can engineer your dream park or go online and download community parks.
Skate 3 transitions seamlessly from offline to online. You can skate the town and look for challenges or find them in the menu. In addition, all the challenges in your career mode offline are available online, and you can complete these challenges online and then they carryover to your offline game as well
The game’s emphasis on teams also materializes online. Teams are formed within your brand and can be taken online to compete against one another. The social sharing in Skate 3 takes a page out of Facebook’s model by allowing you to rate created parks and logos and share them. Skate 3 is also equipped with a friends list so you can see what your boys are up to.
EA Black Box has created a monster. Skate 3’s controls are an undeniable accomplishment -- the skating just feels real.
Skate 3 captures the essence of the skateboarding life. The chill characters and mix of hip-hop and punk evolve into what we now know as skating. The latest gear and apparel is all here, and the city design is beautiful to skate through as you wish.
The end result is a fusion of all the elements we look for in a strong title (i.e. physics, sound, graphics and style). Skate 3 masterfully engineers the aforementioned aspects into a purely original game.
Skating: The same old Skate control scheme with some added tricks means this title is still unrivaled.
Graphics: Not the most detailed game, but it's still visually appealing with vibrant graphics and a fun art direction. Textures are differentiated well.
Sound Design: The sound adds a strong sense of realism to your board and the surfaces. The game wouldn’t be the same without it. The soundtrack could use some work.
Entertainment Value: With the Skate Park editor, logo creation, tons of gameplay modes and challenges, this one will keep you busy for a while.
Learning Curve: Extremely difficult to master, but it is extremely rewarding when it all comes together.
Online: Social sharing and Skate 3 team up to deliver a nice community-sharing system where creativity thrives.
Score: 9 (Exceptional)