When Skate came out in 2007 it completely smashed everything the Tony Hawk franchise had tried to achieve over its many incarnations. Instead of using button press combinations to perform tricks, the Flick It controls used the right analogue stick and a couple of button presses as modifiers to do all your skater’s moves, whether it’s pulling nollies, ollies, shove-its or grinding down rails.
Skate 2 doesn’t try to re-invent the new wheel it’s made, instead, it adds a few new ideas to give lovers of the first game something extra to sink their teeth into.
The game begins with a fantastic intro sequence shot with real actors and skaters, which sees your main character being released from prison. This has to be one of the best sequences of its type I’ve seen, and certainly puts other sequences of this nature to shame.
Then it’s into the game as you learn San Vanelona’s changed a bit since you’ve been locked up. The powers that be don’t like all these skater dudes using their benches and railings so they’ve modified them so you can’t slide over them any more. Still, you manage to get these lifted a couple of hours into the game which frees you up to pull off some gnarly moves.
After a tutorial you’re pretty much left to get on with it. There are challenges where you have to follow skaters, pull off combos and get high scores and they all involve you being accurate with that right analogue stick. Sometimes it’s annoying having to repeat tasks just because you don’t quite move the stick correctly but I guess that’s closer to real skating than just pressing a couple of buttons and always nailing it. And if you don’t get things right, you even get points in the Hall of Meat for bailing mid-air and breaking all your bones.
New to the list of tricks are hand plants, and you can also now get off your board so you can quickly make your way up steps and the like. You also need to get off your board to move ramps and items around which let you access new areas or pull off what’s asked of you. Unfortunately, walking on foot feels really unnatural and clunky and big objects are as light as a feather, which means they can be accidentally be knocked out of place once you’ve set them up.
A nice touch is being able to set a marker once you’re lined up for a run. This means you don’t have to trudge back to where you were if you fail and keeps the game flowing along nicely. You can also just select tasks from the map or skate there yourself, finding new things to do along the way.
So that’s single player, but there’s so much to do online too. There are the usual vs games to play, as well as co-op games where you must reach a score limit together or all do a trick at the same time. And if you fancy some party play you can play locally and take it in turns, swapping the controller.
Skate 2 is a slight improvement on the last game. Ok, some of the textures are a bit messy and the AI of some of the other skaters in the world is questionable, however, if you clocked the last one and are aching for more, here it is. Skate 2 gets an excellent 8 out of 10.