Skate 3 Xbox 360
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Black Box
In Skate 3 you’re starting a skateboard company and your own team in the fictional city of Port Carverton. Once you’ve named your team and customised your skater you’re given the option of taking a tutorial with Coach Frank and this is recommended for those who are new to the Skate series. There are a variety of challenges that await you such as races, competitions, photo shoots, Hall of Meat challenges (where you score points for doing as much damage to your character as possible) etc., but the score you earn for each of these is measured in board sales. The more sales you get, the more successful your business will become. As you complete challenges you’ll unlock new teammates, amongst other things, and these will assist you in some of the team-based challenges you’ll face in the single-player game.
Skate 3 is the most accessible game in the series so far and provides three difficulty levels to allow everyone to enjoy the game, regardless of their skill level: Easy, Normal and Hardcore. Easy makes it harder to bail and easier to get speed and perform tricks (which are primarily performed by moving the right analogue stick in a variety of ways). Normal is the default setting and is essentially the difficulty level you would have experienced in previous Skate titles. Finally the Hardcore difficulty setting provides tweaked physics settings to give you a more realistic skateboarding experience.
One of the main differences in Skate 3 is that challenges can be both “Owned” and “Killed”. “Owning” a challenge is simply the first level of completion and most should be able to complete these challenges without too many problems. “Killing” a challenge can only be done once a challenge has already been “owned” and to “Kill” a challenge requires much more skill although the rewards for doing so are certainly far greater than they are for simply completing the initial challenge. This also serves to make the game more accommodating than previous Skate titles which offered some challenges that could be extremely difficult to get to grips with.
Skate 3 is generally an enjoyable game but there are some things that manage to mar the experience. The frame rate isn’t what it should be in all honesty and the game does suffer from some glitchy AI. In the single-player game there are some team events where you’re depending on your AI teammates to perform well and they can let you down. In races, for instance, you can perform superbly only to lose because AI teammates haven’t performed well and that can be irritating. Pedestrians can get in the way from time to time. In some situations this is understandable but when they obstruct you in areas which are meant only for skateboards it’s just plain silly. Some may be disappointed with the rather basic photo and movie editing options you’re getting out of the box, although it has to be said that the park editing features are very impressive and easy to use.
It also has to be said that if you’re only going to be experiencing the single-player side of Skate 3, you’re going to be missing out on the best of what the game has to offer. In fact if you want to play modes such as the classic S-K-A-T-E mode or Domination, you can only do so online. There’s a new online challenge system in place and there is even support for team play here too, with the ability to set player roles and create your team logo. There’s still ranked play for those who don’t want to team up but the co-operative nature of the online game-play really helps to make Skate 3 a more enjoyable multiplayer experience than previous games in the series.
Whilst Skate 3 does improve on the previous games in the series in various respects, graphically it’s a little disappointing. The environments in Port Carverton and the character models don’t look noticeably better and you certainly don’t get the impression that they look as good as they could do on the Xbox 360. The frame rate isn’t as smooth as it could be and there are some noticeable hitches here and there from time to time but whilst this is disappointing, it has to be said that this hardly ever appears to cause any real problems.
Whilst Skate 3 is subtitled, you won’t get an opportunity to enable subtitles prior to starting a new game. As a result you’re going to miss out on a good amount of dialogue before you have the chance to enable the subtitles. With the subtitles enabled you’ll be fully aware of all the important dialogue which is certainly welcome but deaf gamers shouldn’t have to miss a decent chunk of the dialogue to begin with. Thankfully you’re always aware of your objectives and tutorial messages are shown in text so you’ll have no problems in getting to grips with the game.
If you haven’t yet experienced the Skate series then Skate 3 is certainly the place to start. However, as a single-player only experience, it’s not as enjoyable as the previous games in the series. To get the most out of the game you have to experience the online multiplayer elements as this is where the game really shines. Essentially then, it’s a better game overall but only if you intend to make the most out of both the single and multiplayer elements.