Skate 2 Updated Hands-On

EA Black Box draws inspiration from Burnout Paradise for Skate 2's new online features.

Now that EA has confirmed Skate 2 for a January 21 release, it feels like the sequel to last year's surprise critical hit is just around the corner. It's a good thing, then, that we've already covered the basic gameplay enhancements, from all the new tricks you can do, to your ability to get off the board and move obstacles around you. Last week EA took the time to show off some of Skate 2's new online features. These include an ambitiously Burnout Paradise-inspired collection of freeskate activities and an improved content-sharing service to make finding friends' videos much less painful than it was in the first game. In the process of checking these out, we also had our first chance to skate through the game's entire setting, the newly rebuilt San Vanelona.

Eric Koston is one of the big new names you'll see in Skate 2.

The focus of EA's showcase was Skate 2's freeskate activities, the new bag of challenges you and five other online skaters can take part in by simply pulling up a menu while freeskating and electing to join. We spoke with several members of the Black Box development team, and they made no bones about the fact that fellow EA property Burnout Paradise was a big source of inspiration in this department. It makes sense when you think about it: Burnout Paradise made the idea of spontaneous multiplayer challenges work in a genre--open world racer--where most people would be inclined to fly around and do their own thing.

The process works like this: You can skate around the city at your leisure during the game's Career mode, but if you feel like getting into a session with a few other live players, you just hit the D pad and pull up a menu that lets you select the "freeskate here" option. Once you select it, you'll hop into a quick online match with room for up to six players. From there, anyone can use the D pad to pull up a list of freeskate activities unique to the parking lot or skatepark you find yourself in. Once a player proposes an activity, the rest of the players can then choose to take part or to sit it out and keep freeskating until the next suggestion pops up.

These freeskate activities vary from being as simple as collecting the most points while gapping between fallen street signs in a parking lot, to nailing all five massive gaps in Danny Way's mega ramp compound. Some have you working as a team to grind a set distance, like 1,000 feet, while some are more competitive, like a Hall of Meat challenge that awards you for receiving the most gruesome injury. Like in Burnout, these challenges will scale depending on the number of players, so you won't be stuck trying to grind for six if it's just the two of you.

Getting uphill is easier now that you can skitch cars.

One of the other new features we tried out was the sharing feature of the new Create-a-Spot ability. We've previously discussed how you can hop off your board and grab on to small objects, such as picnic tables, benches, and grind rails, and arrange them to your liking. What you might not have known, though, is that you can save these arrangements, assign a score objective, and upload them for other players to enjoy. Once that's done, you can go see the spots that your friends have uploaded or sift through the work of the public at large with the help of a five-star rating system. A similar system will be used for shared multimedia, like the videos you've edited in-game, the still images you've pulled from said clips, and the custom graphics you've created for your gear. The idea is to help you quickly find material your friends have made, the best stuff from the public, and featured videos that might not be getting the love they deserve--all through an intuitive in-game browser. We've also been told that a new skate.reel Web site will be launched along with the game, but we haven't seen that yet. However, anyone who tried uploading a video at the launch of the first game knows that the means of sharing can only stand to improve--it's just a matter of how much.

This was also our first opportunity to spend some quality time with the game in a nearly complete state--at least in terms of its overall layout. The new setting, a post-disaster San Vanelona that has been massively rebuilt, should feel both familiar and different all at once. Several of the neighborhoods are brand new, but a few, like the Res, are being carried over from the first game. However, it's mainly the street plan that has made the transition, because almost all of the objects are new. So there's a slight feeling of deja vu on certain roads, but everything you're skating on, from the benches to the ledges, is very much different. That's just the case for a couple of areas, though. Most of the city is new and far more diverse in terms of its landscape.

A few neighborhoods will look vaguely similar, but many are brand new.

Skate 2 is looking a lot more polished since the last time we saw it. The animations for new moves, such as bonelesses, handplants, and wipeout-avoiding jumps off the board, all look a lot more natural. And the game is sounding great, too, especially when you're flying downhill--the sense of speed in this game already feels far better than in the first one, which was pretty darn good. There should be a lot to look forward to when Skate 2's release date rolls around.

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142 comments
Sodney
Sodney

Loved the first one:) I didn't actually think that skate 2 would be very much better than the first but when I tried the demo I was like WOW!!! It is the greatest game ever, at least the demo:) I don't think it will dissapoint.

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

Skate was great as it was, although the PS3 version had terrible framerate issues. I'll be jumping on this in January even though I'm not one for skateboarding :D (Before skate, I hadn't played a skating game since Tony Hawk the first)

Clarke_311
Clarke_311

This looks great. Haven't played the origanal Skate but I'm going to get this!!

PHeMoX
PHeMoX

Ow come on, Gears 2 was a disappointment. It hardly gave us anything truly new. I've already sold my copy of the game. Got tired with the repetitive gameplay, despite the general coolness. I got Dead Space instead now and like it much better.

Djdiddles77
Djdiddles77

It's been a long time since I played a skateboarding game but I'll have to try this out! I played the original demo and like the controls so to hear they fixed a few things is really promising!!

ToneLoki
ToneLoki

i want to play! ive got high hopes!

switchfooted06
switchfooted06

Can't freakin wait for this game. Love the realism compared to TH. Once THPS started making you jump over houses to complete challenges I was done.

briansevenfive
briansevenfive

what are u saying didnt make alot of changes from gears 1 to gears 2 have u even played the game and the multiplayer

inj_3
inj_3

and you get a tshirt if you preorder.

inj_3
inj_3

Well, not saying this game isnt gonna be good cause I think itll be awesome, but just because its the next game, doesnt mean it will be so much better. Gears of War 2 had mad hopes, and alot of people got let down. They still made improvement from Gears 1, but not much. So what im saying is dont get your hopes up just because its the second game and you think itll be so much better, cause EA miiiiight let you down. but I do hope this game is outstanding.

kurpla
kurpla

Will it have a split screen multiplayer?

deathcell731
deathcell731

hopefully its real smooth like the first!i hope they would boost the frame rate only if only;)

jfvert
jfvert

Awesome. Can't wait. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to pre-order. Does anyone know if you get anything extra for a pre-order? (I hate it when companies do that btw).

bozzy007
bozzy007

If the game is as good as the first 1 its gonna be awsome

dark_aprentice
dark_aprentice

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dark_aprentice
dark_aprentice

skat sucks it sucks gorilla and zebra balls altogether 0 out of 100000000000

dark_aprentice
dark_aprentice

skate is way more realistic then any of the tony hawk games ill say

ninjarat
ninjarat

If only we could splice the two games together.

slayerofwalls
slayerofwalls

Comparing Tony Hawk to Skate is futile. You play TH for the goofy stunts and 8 minute long tricks. You play skate for a more realistic experience and skating believable lines (despite not being able to leave your board or do flatland tricks....grumblegrumble...).

slayerofwalls
slayerofwalls

Comparing Tony Hawk to Skate is futile. You play TH for the goofy stunts and 8 minute long tricks. You play skate for a more realistic experience and skating believable lines (despite not being able to leave your board or do flatland tricks....grumblegrumble...).

Pubisboy
Pubisboy

oh, please.. stop trach talk the thps-games, they are the main reason Skate even exists. I know the last thps-games is realy bad, but the 3-4 first ones was and still is damn funny to play. Not realistic at all, but damn funny.

DarklinkKyle
DarklinkKyle

I'm so glad they're bringing the skitch back. ^^ Time for some serious ramps.

pezza02
pezza02

if it has online features like burnout it will be great as they were so simple!

tulipbros
tulipbros

tony hawks is a failure and disaster compared 2 skat

crazybananaz
crazybananaz

man remeber tony hawks project 8, Such a big rip off, In the commercial they said its was so realistic, the only realistic was the human performerance moves that you could replay in different speeds camera angels and such,,. everything was just ye a big f in th e a. .. cant w8 for skate 2 anyway, I knooow it will be realistic, well muuuuuuuuuch more than the tony hawk series.

LittleBigGamer1
LittleBigGamer1

@stupid4 Your name says it all. lol. i love the realism in skate compared to tony hawks.

stupid4
stupid4

never mind, lol im an idiot

stupid4
stupid4

anybody know when this is coming out?

C_money24
C_money24

looks to good to be true. no doubt that the skate series is better than tony hawk's pro skater. this is going to be a must have!

THRASHARD_
THRASHARD_

hahaha yeah THPS games suck compared to what this game has to offer

Strigidae
Strigidae

Man I think this game is really giving Tony Hawk's Skating Games a run for the money. I'd definetly pick this one up if I had to choose between the two.

deathcell731
deathcell731

this is the coolist thing the canadians have ever done;)

TheOrangeHurt
TheOrangeHurt

i was never really a fan of tony hawk but i played those. UNTIL SKATE COME ON THE SCENE AND BLEW TONY HAWK'S ASS OUTTA THE SKY!!! the first game was stupid real and i have no clue about skateboarding. but this game gave me a peak into the culture and i am really looking forward to the sequal and new tricks and moving stationary props to make better jumps. all u hawk boys need to pass the torch to ea and give skate the crown.

White-Rose
White-Rose

Looks amazing! I've played a couple Tony Hawk games, but never found them to be worth purchasing. This game, however, looks like it will be well worth the money!

lextexrex
lextexrex

I'm hoping they stay true to their word about the 60fps they are trying to achieve. In 1080p in the last game, it kinda got a bit buggy. Never the less, I'm loving these improvements.

theaudience
theaudience

Castlevania1986 - you're joking right? skate completely annihilated the THPS series. it took out all the quarky, novelty, unnecessary BS and gave us something we've all been craving for in a skate game for a while...realism.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Like a decade later, still waiting for a skate game that tops THPS3.

Castlevania1986
Castlevania1986

These new skating games are all big rip offs of Tony Hawk. Nothing new, unless they were on rollerblades or bikes. And believe me there aren't that many games out there that involve skaters on blades or bikes. Its all just skateboarding and skateboarding is so boring.

XaineBD
XaineBD

I've never really been interested in skate/ski games until I saw this one. Looks pretty sweet and I can't wait to give it a go.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I can't wait for this to come out. The first Skate was one of the few truly refreshing gaming experiences this gen, and the sequel sounds even better. I might actually break all tradition and play this online once in a while...

jennings1993
jennings1993

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS GAME TO COME OUT!!!! the first one was class hopfully this will be EVEN better