Skate 2 Updated Hands-On - Career Mode

We return our professional skater to his former glory in Skate 2's Career mode.

Games like Mirror's Edge and Dead Space have been touted as examples of EA's newfound focus on originality, but Skate 2 is another example of how the megapublisher has given its studios a little more room for creativity lately. Rather than release the game on the anniversary of the original Skate, the folks at EA Black Box have had more than 16 months to put together a sequel, which audiences will finally get their hands on when the game is released on January 21. We've covered how Black Box has used that time to enhance the basic gameplay--an expanded roster of tricks, a newly rebuilt city, the Burnout Paradise-inspired online multiplayer--but we've recently been given the chance to cruise through the entire completed game before it hits stores to see how it has all come together.

What better way to see how the sum of Skate 2's parts have coalesced than taking a tour through the main draw, the game's Career mode? It all begins in a similar fashion to its predecessor: A cheeky intro video gets you acquainted with the roster of professional skateboarders available in the game, though you'll need to create your own character to begin a career. The options are expanded a bit over the first game, but you still won't be able to make anyone too outlandish. A larger variety of gear and clothing is also available to you, including the ability to make custom graphics on the game's official site and slap them on a blank T-shirt of your choosing. With your look set, you'll embark on a quest to return to your former glory when you were Skater of the Year in the original game.

An expanded video editor allows you to capture some crazy shots.

The path back to stardom is primarily focused on making it to the cover of two of the world's biggest skating magazines, Thrasher and the Skateboard Mag. You'll befriend famous photographers from each publication and then perform a series of increasingly elaborate challenges for the cameras in order to gain exposure. Along the way, it's probably a good idea to explore some of the side competitions available to you, such as downhill races, street contests, and the unfortunately titled tranny contests (riding in pools and such). Throughout the game you'll run into pros, and if you're able to pass the challenges they throw your way, you'll gain access to their gear and sponsors. You can also befriend a few buddies who will help you take care of security guards, remove skate-stoppers, and drain swimming pools whenever you call them.

The Career mode definitely feels like a refined, slightly more cohesive take on the first game's campaign, but one of the best improvements is the level of freedom you're given in the game's challenges. Whereas Skate didn't realize the limitations of its control scheme (excellent but hardly precise), Skate 2 doesn't force you into doing specific tricks nearly as much. As a result, you're able to take on challenges how you see fit much more often. In fact, many of magazine challenges give you the ability to customize the shot by hopping off the board and dragging obstacles around for the ideal line. There are still a few moments when you're faced with performing a specific trick on a specific spot, but these seem to be few and far between this time around.

The ability to kick your board out in the air means more potentioal for moments that can't possibly end well.

Another new feature is the inclusion of properties, which are areas in the city that you can purchase after you've racked up enough money from doing challenges. The only one we were able to buy was an addition to the Mega Compound called the Fun Track, a twisting series of ramps, jumps, and bowls that connects the two spots to form a huge amount of real estate with which to devastate your bones and internal organs.

In fact, you can earn even more money by doing just that. Hall of Meat is an extension of the feature found in the first game that recorded details of your worst wipeouts. This time around, it has been turned into an optional series of challenges that let you earn cash for the worst bails you subject your body to. A variety of information is recorded and turned into mini-achievements, like cannonballing into a moving car or achieving 24,000 bodily damage points in a single spill. You can sell the footage to Thrasher magazine for cash to buy property and gear. A few special bonuses pop up too, like new spawn points to fling yourself from (our favorite was a towering rooftop near the waterfront).

Finally, it's worth noting how Skate 2 looks now that it has entered the final stage of polish. In short, the graphics won't immediately strike you as being better than those in the first game, but one thing that will--and this is a big one--is the frame rate. The jump from 30 to 60 frames per second makes every last move look that much more smooth, giving you a better appreciation for a game that already boasted some impressive animations. The animations involved in walking around without your board still looks pretty rough, which is disappointing, but the rest of your new moves, such as street plants and inverts, look quite nice.

Even with the realistic physics, there are still plenty of moments for you to go huge--like airing into this dry dam.

Altogether there should be a lot for Skate fans to enjoy when Skate 2 is released next week. To help tide you over, we'll be posting a developer Q&A later this week to explain some of the new online features found in Skate 2. Stay tuned for that.

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Discussion

62 comments
Mifflinite45
Mifflinite45

I really hope the whole "moving objects" mechanic will be good. From what I saw in the demo, it seemed kind of clumsy to move things around. It was hard to push things in the exact spot you wanted. But anyway, I am so sick of waiting! Why can't it just be wednesday already?!

Lostat
Lostat

I'm really looking forward to this game after playing through the demo of it. I enjoyed the first Skate game, but ended up re-selling it because some of the later tricks were so hard to pull off with the control system that I just got far too frustrated with it. Sounds like that major problem has been resolved this time around though. I also hope the online EA servers are not laggy like I found it playing online in Skate 1. That was a very severe dissapointment to me but if that's fixed this time, then that will definately get me partying online with this game an awful lot.

Captain-OD7
Captain-OD7

i will now go and prepare my tony hawk games graves.

triangle_button
triangle_button

aw check you out, mocking skateboarding games one what? a preview to a skate game. thats so controversial and clever! well done you!! the frame rate jump was a bit weird on the demo at first, probably just with being so used to the first game, but when the career time limit ran out (too quickly) i was buzzing! the gameplay time with adding the ability to move above stuff will be immense!

JONJON004
JONJON004

i dont even skateboard... but i love skate!

lemon1990
lemon1990

ong not another crapy skate game .... were do they get the money ?

lister82
lister82

Skate has a really original concept from which i had so much fun with from the first one, and skate 2 is exactly what i wanted, same sorta thing with new tricks and places to skate with a slight graphics update, all this from my impression of the demo that ive played i dont know how many times :) Im glad they didnt mess about with the mechanics of the game too much from the first as i loved the way it felt doing the flick tricks and all even tho quite alot of people complained about the control scheme but practice makes perfect and thats what its all about, and skating out in front of a car of course.

sc11884
sc11884

I cant wait for this game to come out befor skate2 i thought skate was the greatest game ever but skate2 is gonna blow it out of the water.

KevComesRipping
KevComesRipping

As for this game, Skate 2 shows huge signs of improvements over the first installment, just in the demo alone, so I'd be lying if I said I was anything but elated about getting my hands on the final product.

KevComesRipping
KevComesRipping

Wow mrfidget... as someone who has skateboarded for atleast a dozen years now, skateboarding is, in no way, shape, or form, a sport. I would accept someone calling it a hobby, an art, a leisure activity, or even an athletic display, but skateboarding, is not a sport. You don't see skateboarders being traded, or given contracts to play for an official skateboarding team for the next 7 years at 160 million dollars, there is no skateboarding championship, no MVP, no stats, and no "Flip versus Element 7PM on ESPN2, followed by the San Diego Toy Machine at the Philadelphia Alien Workshop at 9PM Eastern time" Bring your 'skateboarding is a gay sport' nonsense somewhere else.

Gamerzone23
Gamerzone23

The Demo was awesome. I will indeed pick it up. :)

unkipower
unkipower

sounds like its going to be everything the first skate was, but better, i can't wait

bad_boy_sam123
bad_boy_sam123

If the first game wasnt a Tony Hawk killer, then this installment will be

mos182
mos182

I can't wait for this game. Loved the first. :D

6321466
6321466

can anyone tell me by message , that will we be able to free-roam in the city ?

cell_100
cell_100

ive never played the first but i played the demo for this its awesome im possibly gunna pick it up the 23rd and does anyone know if its free roam online?

-eddy-
-eddy-

l'm still bummed of no techy flatland: primo, casper, and flips in between...

Deevvon
Deevvon

I love the demo. The only flaw I've seen is the walking. Other than that, I'll be sure to pick it up on the 21st.

mrfidget
mrfidget

Skateboarding, as an actual sport, is gay But Skate and the Skate 2 demo are undeniably fun. It's weird, in a way.

Kidtuf
Kidtuf

Huge fan of the original. The second one, not so much. Perpetual forward motion + physics defying body rotation has really killed the grounded and real sensation the first Skate had. In the end the game feels like it could use another year in production to polish up a lot of the weird happenings and as such I'll stick with the first. Thumb me down all you want, I'm just being honest.

MCRisawesome
MCRisawesome

Wow. how did you guys miss the first skate? Its pretty mucht the reason a new tony hawk hasnt come out in a while. Ugh. wow. go play it. now. actually, i am.

doctorwang12
doctorwang12

looks sweet...ive never played the 1st one tho so i dont kno how its like...but this game looks pretty awesome

doc18
doc18

can't wait lol, it looks fairly cool :) i've seen a few of the falls, pretty funny :D I dunno if it is another tony hawks clone , which apparently it's not, (i didn't play skate one, but apparently the control scheme was quite well done) i'll just stick the thug, graphics aren't that great but the game itself is intense :)

soccerguy93
soccerguy93

@kavadias Unfortunately, not all of us are good at skating. :P This looks cool, I used to love Tony Hawk, but I missed out on the first Skate. I hope it turns out good.

Flaming_Spoon
Flaming_Spoon

Depends on how long and deep the game is and if they are working on anything before hand AND if the devs give them a prerelease copy of the game which often times (these days) they do not and review companies must review the game from day one.

star77241
star77241

If it comes out in about a week, shouldn't a review be up by now? I thought reviews went up a week or two before the came out.

joesh89
joesh89

i played the demo, and i think ill stick with the first skate.

oystein05
oystein05

i just can`t wait to 22.january when its coming out. i just hope its that good it seems.

Droges
Droges

looking forward to it.. hope its good.

Gadeos
Gadeos

Never played first entry, but this one looks cool.

thirteen_zombie
thirteen_zombie

This game is the reason they are shutting down Tony Hawk, cause its unrealistic and dull, but the skate series has real potential and to me is more exciting because its more like actuall skating.

somepunkboy
somepunkboy

OMG I CANT WAIT!!! I played the first one for 9 days straight. only took breaks for food, bathroom, and sleep.

Djdiddles77
Djdiddles77

Not going to pick the game up right off the bat but will get it in a few months used! Seems like a fun game to play!!!

better-than-U
better-than-U

alot of people are complaining about the games walking (off board)...i think they made it bad on purpose just to encourage you not to walk/run everywere...and also i think they only added it so you didnt have o skate aound a building to grind a set anymore

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

I tried some of the tricks from Skate in the park for real and i broke my leg. I am going to stay indoors now and play Skate 2 on the console. Much safer. They should put a warning at the begining of the game not to try the tricks in real life.

Jieman1
Jieman1

...will stay tuned for the Q&A's later this week. However, and i quote: "The path back to stardom is primarily focused on making it to the cover of two of the world's biggest skating magazines, Thrasher and the Skateboard Mag." AGAIN?! That's really not innovative and a perfect example of why the story line is much more important than graphics imo:/ "...like cannonballing into a moving car..." No thanks, i thought this game was all about focussing on skateboarding and realistic stuff, not what TH games had to offer. Oh well. Overall, the game looks great and i love the demo from time to time. Still, i'm not gonna buy this game. I'm still having too much fun with OG Skate., and imo that game focussed more on the real aspects of skateboarding. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it wasn't far from it. This one is a bit too TH-ish for me, and that's why i decided to pass on this game. For those who like the game: enjoy and feel free to post your thoughts at the forums.

gnrkill
gnrkill

LOL "Street Plants" WTF!?

baciga
baciga

what do u mean kavaadias?? thats like saying it doesnt make sense to buy madden cuz u can just go play football, and same thing for baseball and other sports...play it cuz its a fun game....

demosnipe1589
demosnipe1589

I played the demo and based on it i conclude that there isnt much noticeable difference, off the board feels weird, and moving objects seems like a cool idea, but it is awkward and i would rather not bother with it. Basically it is skate, but in a 'new' area. Im probably going to buy it just because it is fun.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

I have never owned a skateboarding game. It doesn't make sense to me when you can just go and do it down your local park for real.

xxRJxx
xxRJxx

The problem is they pulled a saints row 2 when they added the ability to use a girl. The story goes as your coming back from the 1st one, but you couldn't use a girl in the first 1. unless there is something i don't no about a set of alternate cutscenes

Elitekiller1172
Elitekiller1172

skate 2 is the best just that i have a little feeling of it being like project 8 the way u can bail just by pressing a button. thats the only thing that make it feel like it and also the way u walk. still it is way more realistic than any other fake tony hawk game. I already pre ordered mine and a few more days left. i killed in the first one and now im going to kill in the second one. watch out posers and noobs. yeaaaa!!! ;)

AmazingMage
AmazingMage

ive been playing the demo for days now, i need MORE! i only gotta wait nine or so more days!!!