For all of you skateboarding fans who do not like Tony Hawk’s exaggerated highflying fun, then Skate is the franchise for you. It is a series that has always focused on realism and the third installment, Skate 3, is no exception. Like the real sport, this game demands time and patience if you hope to master its intricacies, with even the simplest tricks seeming impossible at first. However, with skill and determination, it is incredibly rewarding.
Skate with the world
Skate 3’s main addition to the franchise its focus on community. The game promotes this all the time, prompting you to share your photos, video, and customized parks. Everything that is shared is then stored in the cloud allowing people to access it whenever they like - extending the game’s already sizable amount of content.
You can participate in individual events in the (theoretically) busy hub area, compete in teams, and even take part in Story mode events with a friend to make them easier. This is all done with a single, clear purpose: to blur the line between offline and online. It’s not without flaws, such as the loneliness you feel when entering the free play area only to find that no one else seems to be playing, but for the most part it does create a convincing social experience.
Skate 3 is accessible for any audience. There are three levels of difficulty which alter the challenge of the maps and the abilities of skaters to make it easier for you to perform jumps and tricks. So, providing you know what kind of game you are getting into, there should be a challenge level to suit you.
Balancing simulation and accessibility
The Skate franchise’s control system has been incredible. Board movement is executed with the right analog stick, while you control the movement of your skater the left (this really is one for gamepad). Combos and tricks require deft use of the sticks to execute, with moves like an Ollie requiring a quick flick of the right stick down and then up. The same depth applies to the rest of the tricks, with more technical moves - such as one and two handed grabs – demanding true skill to pull off.
It is this level of difficulty and reward that really elevates Skate 3 as a simulation. This makes it truly satisfying when you manage land an aerial maneuver, rather than simply being business as usual in the more arcade focused Tony Hawk.
The graphics are not really a huge step forward for Skate 3. Despite its large, solid, and varied open-world, nothing about it will really wow you. This could in large part be down to the fact that the world’s inhabitants are quite thin on the ground with the online social aspects meant to populate the environment – a choice that leaves the city feeling like a ghost town much of the time.
Unfortunately, the games one big problem is its camera. Often it will struggle to find the right angle for the action, switching position at inopportune moments to make your character harder to control.
Get your skates on
Skate 3 is a game aimed at fans of the sport. It provides a great simulation experience, with the ability to edit city’s skate parks, and all of the games social features, certainly make it a step up from previous installments. But we cannot forget its negatives, such as its lack of mission variety, camera problems, and its frequently lonely online experience. Overall, Skate 3 enhances and extends the gaming experience the series is already known for.