Skate 3 Updated Hands-On

With a new co-op Career mode, we try to squeeze our entire team into one magazine cover shot.

EA hit the ground running with its Skate franchise, which from day one offered a uniquely analog-stick-driven control scheme and a refreshing, true-to-the-sport approach to skateboarding. Now on its third installment in four calendar years, the development team at EA Black Box is looking to keep the series fresh when the next game arrives this May. The team's approach is twofold: introduce a brand new city to work your skateboarding magic in and shift the focus of Career mode to the social aspect of the sport.

The city, this time around, is a fictional metropolis called Port Carverton. It replaces San Vanelona, which had been the setting of the first two games in the series. Like San Van, Port Carverton is designed as a skater's Mecca that draws inspiration from famous skate spots from all over the world then drops them into one great big hodgepodge of benches, ledges, and impossibly inviting urban architecture. The team's cheeky approach to using real-world locations has resulted in areas like Second and Navy, a waterfront pier skate spot with a suspiciously similar look to San Francisco's Third and Army, or the Aletown neighborhood that will invoke a distinct sense of deja vu for anyone who's been to Vancouver's Yaletown.

But unlike the San Vanelona of Skate 2, which was a city overrun by the anti-skateboarding Mongo Corporation, Port Carverton is a city that feels like it wants to reach out and give you a big ol' hug. Gone are the capped handrails that you had to recruit a friend to pry off, as are the guards that came out of nowhere to knock you off your board whenever you found a particularly shiny marble ledge in the center of the financial district. Instead, Port Carverton is described by Black Box senior producer Jason DeLong as a genuine skater's paradise; a place where security guards will go out of their way to point you toward cool spots and the sun never seems to stop shining.

A new Career mode will act as your tour guide through Port Carverton. As a continuation of the previous two games, Skate 3 has you more or less at the pinnacle of your career, and now it's time to do what seemingly all famous skaters do: start your own board company. Selling boards and building your brand is the main thrust of the Career mode, with each career challenge offering a reward in the form of board sales. It feels similar to an experience points system that will trigger new milestones at increasing intervals, which unlock more challenges, gear, and new spots to skate throughout the city.

Getting your whole team into a shot during photo challenges is a lot of fun.

Because a board company isn't complete without sponsored riders, you'll need to go out and recruit some folks to join your team. The cool part about this is that it opens up the possibility to play the entire Career mode cooperatively with friends over Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. We got a chance to play a number of co-op challenges and walked away impressed by the different experience that pulling off a challenge with a friend can deliver.

The photo challenges were easily our favorites. With these, you and your teammates all need to perform a trick on (or over) a specific object before a timer runs out, such as launching over a huge gap or grinding a specific ledge. With more than one player, you now have the opportunity to coordinate your skating so that you all wind up in each other's shots. So you might have one guy grinding a bench while the other airs over him, or both of skaters might launch over a gap in tandem--that sort of thing. You can, then, take that sweet photo and tweak it with a number of postproduction options (brightness, contrast, depth of field, and the like) before seeing it turn into an in-game magazine cover that you might later find plastered all over the city as a flier or even a billboard.

All the other usual suspects return in the Career mode challenges, including downhill races, high-score competitions, and video challenges. We asked DeLong about one of the criticisms of the last game that had to with the way later challenges in the Career mode got very specific about what sort of trick you had to do and what you had to do it on (anyone who remembers doing a handplant on a basketball backboard will know what we mean), which often turned into a roadblock in your career progression. For Skate 3, DeLong says they've focused more on creating tiered pools of challenges that let you pick and choose which specific challenge you want to complete in order to unlock the next pool. Another criticism--pedestrians getting in your way during critical moments--has been remedied with a button that now lets you raise up your arms like the boogeyman and scare people away instantly. Supposedly, the volume of physics-enabled litter has been scaled back as well, so at least now there's not quite as much tripping on stray soda cans just as you are about to ollie onto a handrail.

Our time with Skate 3 also revealed a few other notable additions. Besides three difficulty levels, which is a first for the series, you can now take part in an extended tutorial system. This system is called Skate School with Coach Frank, and the coach is a thoroughly goofy character voiced by actor, as well as former pro skateboarder, Jason Lee. You can also now place an invisible photographer at any point in the game, letting you snap photos quickly and easily at any location without having to pull up the video editor to place a tripod camera then scroll to where you want in the video timeline to pull out a still shot. You'll see the customized character of anyone you're friends with on PSN or Live cruising through your city as an AI skater, even if you're just free skating around town. And in a nice little touch, if you appear in a friend's video that becomes a smash hit on the skate.reel content sharing system, you'll gain royalties in the form of boards sold in the Career mode.

Port Carverton is a much more inviting city than the San Van of Skate 2.

It's hard to get a good idea of how well the whole online component will work in Skate 3 from the relatively limited time we spent with it, but overall, we liked what we saw. The new city should infuse some fresh air into the series for those who were disappointed by the reuse of San Van in Skate 2, and there are definitely some features that should make the game more accommodating to new players. We're looking forward to spending more time with the Career mode to see what sort of trouble we can get into online, so be sure to check out our upcoming coverage leading up to Skate 3's May release.

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Discussion

71 comments
trotromiel
trotromiel

i wish they add night photo shoots, or video shoots

SanAnFan
SanAnFan

Me and my cuz can finally play through this together! Lol

mattchat1022
mattchat1022

I liked the first game, and this game (with the team campaign) looks even better

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

I think its realy cool that thay are adding co-op to the campain mode. Its realy cool to just "cruise around" in this game. Its realy relaxing to just skate around and have fun and do some trix when you wan to. Some times the contest part of the game feels to hard. Atleast to me. But its still a very fun game.

nintendofan247
nintendofan247

this looks wicked and better than skate 1 and. this could be the game of the year

TheBlaklyon
TheBlaklyon

@konn3r I meant I haven't played a Skateboarding game since Tony Hawk 5.

saint_1995
saint_1995

Here's hoping I have enough cash to buy this game... or rent it.

WarpedCore
WarpedCore

Looking for a skating game. I love the idea of making the city a skate haven with no issue from cops/security guards. Will keep an eye on this. . . .

mrkickme
mrkickme

may? 3 months, i wanit now

konn3r
konn3r

@TheBlaklyon tony hawk 5 is tony hawk underground that came out WAY before skate one

TheBlaklyon
TheBlaklyon

Looks good! I haven't played a skate game since tony hawk 5! But, this looks like it might get me back into the trend.

DarkFantom1
DarkFantom1

It is really cool that you can create your own board brand.

kwloy
kwloy

WTH is the big deal with GS and Skate? Sure they created competition for the long running TH games, which are now crap. But the last two were medicore at best. So whats the big deal?

julz666777
julz666777

im wondering how the whole you own a board company is gonna play out,like do you get to actually make some boards,do you actually build your company and is thre some sort of program to sell these boards online

aahov
aahov

i loved playing skate 2 with my buddies. now coop career? thatll just add to the things we can do together. to be honest, the first trailers for skate 3 looked pretty damn weak and almost scared me away, but the video in this article gave me new hope haha. i wish skate 3 the best of luck. hopefully the skate series isnt going downhill with this one

DarylJ100
DarylJ100

i enjoyed skate 2 even though im not into skating in reality but i like the games probablly i will buy this looks good graphics is sound

CeZar_87
CeZar_87

LOL! It's skate 2... They fool you into thinking it's something new, but it's the same old crap. The story from the first two was crap. Who cares if you can do it co-op? I'm sorry. I know i sound like a jerk, but this reminds me of when Smackdown vs Raw's theme was Tag teams. Just somethin g tact on to make it seem fresh & new, and it's really the same old s***.

boxofwit
boxofwit

I can't wait for this, I just hope it's not as horribly glitchy as Skate 2.

trotromiel
trotromiel

it's so sad that the game won't have offline co-op....

VanillaBear505
VanillaBear505

I know its hella similar to 2, but the graphics do look a lot better to me. With the board designs last year I was happy they gave us the creator, but I really want the ability to design it in PS or something :P Then you could sell this board to actual people online, like create a skate store for all user content :)

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prenandrew301
prenandrew301

if this is just the same as skate 2 but in a new place it will still be awesome

boredbeyond
boredbeyond

The other Skates were solid games. All that needs to be said is they are giving the people what they want and improving as time goes on. This is one for the collection and a great game to just join in and play for a few minutes or hours.

Mikethechimp
Mikethechimp

Lol I would probably agree with you, if i hadn't finished every freeskate challenge on the week of the game's release. There are only about 160 of them. That's 4 hours of gameplay. I spent many times that amount freeskating around with friends, doing stunts and hippie flips and looking for interesting things to do. You have to focus on what makes the game fun, as opposed to blindly hunting for trophies.

blakeney
blakeney

yea i agree Mikethechimp,i would love to be in the situation to do that! but like i said none of my mates play the game, they all hate it and say retarded things like "OMG you still play that crap? why you have cod and fifa?"!! Its just easy all round and common sense that if you are "that" guy, just quit, you get sent back to the same "lobby"! From the very first time someone quit on me leaving just me and i had done, and it finished it, i have ALWAYS just quit on the last 00:05 when its clear i cant acually do it, even if i worked it out. Just incase anyone has mis-read my whole point, i'am NOT saying quit asin get rid of the disk!! im saying hit quit, becuase otherwise you have just wasted other peoples time basicly. I think i did make clear too, im not some weirdo attacking those that cant do it, (kinda how the real skate world works, you rarly see some ego jerk on a board at your local skate park, if you cant do it, or even fail, they dont point and laugh you out the park! they acualy take their time to show you where your going rong, and how you can better it) Alot of the time, you will find that the guys that just did it, will try again with you at some point afterwards! i for one can say that i hang around once the "group" has done what they need and gone, to redo one that people failed, and do my best to help via getting off the board and standing in line with where they need to go or something.

Mikethechimp
Mikethechimp

Or, blakney, you can make a private game and only invite the friends who can handle the challenge. Just my 2 cents.

blakeney
blakeney

as a side note, what i said about freeskate online, and "that" guy that is the only one that cant do the task and screws it up for everyone becuase the task requires ALL skaters to finish..... IF you are/have been/plan on being "that" guy, for crying out loud freakin QUIT the game before the time is up!!!!! I really dont mind having all but one done within 10seconds and waiting till the dieing moments for the weaklink to quit, thats fine, keep trying...... but seriously lol!!! Maby you havnt relised it worked like that, thats ok, you never have to mention it again! just please bare in mind the fact your screwing it up for others when you could simply quit at the last second, the guys that can do it get credited for it, and wont mind having you in the next session.

blakeney
blakeney

the co-op thing im not buying into, personally if i have to be relying on others i like to keep it to a minimum and have as much control over what they do as possible! Freeskate online is cool, you can simply leave that "game" if one (or in mostcases more!) idiot cant do the damn task, and hasnt clicked on, that if they freakin quit in the last seconds, leaving the guys that HAVE done it to acually get credited, then everyone is happy, but what happens if "that" guy is your mate? I'm the only one out of all my mates that even likes skate 2 lol, screw trying to do co-op with them! I really hope that the "co-op" is simular to how cod does it on mw2, you dont in anyway feel or get the impression that you have to do it to attend your "compleatist" side. All i want from skate 3 in short, is more of the same in a different setting! no super-duper unrealistic mega park to try and top trump skate2 (alough skate 2 did kinda do that), no new unrealistic moves becuase skate 2 pretty much covered them all with its unique control system, and most of all, and imo most important, PLEASE no looking at other skating games and trying to meet up in the middle! I think skate 2 nailed it pretty much, in the same way R* nailed GTA with SA.

Adema938
Adema938

wow im mad this comes out the same month of lost planet 2

Hyphonated
Hyphonated

Will there be offline co-op? I really hope so, sooo keen for offline split screen freeskate.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I'm glad they're ditching the security guards and other obstacles to enjoying the environment. Focus back on the fun of the game, that's what I like to see.

metalkid9
metalkid9

I don't skate nor play skating games but from the gameplay I saw it actually looks pretty fun.

QWERTYCommander
QWERTYCommander

Will there be a dam in Port Carverton? The S.V dam was one of my favorite places in Skate 2.

LpcWarrior
LpcWarrior

the co-op challenges for skate 2 were fun. can't wait for more co-op in skate 3. love these games

Gazz_777
Gazz_777

I finished skate 2 about 2 weeks ago. I loved both the skate 1 and skate 2. I happened to like skate 2 better. Skate 3 looks a-lot different though which might be good.

polywoly9
polywoly9

NICE! Hello please! Im totaly getting this game. Skate 1 was the first game i truly got exited about and skate 2 was a little bit disappointing. Lets hope this is not like Dungeon Seige and every sequel and expansion gets worse and worse...

foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

Can't wait. I just finished blowing through Skate 2 about a week ago and love the series. I can't wait for hard mode and darkslides. My hope is that Rodney Mullen's library of tricks is included, along with the Casper Slide. A larger selection of decks and/or a custom deck builder (in-game) would be very welcome as well.

heylookitsdrew
heylookitsdrew

The Skate series has been amazing...hopefully Skate 3 is less of a copy of skate. than Skate 2 was

Panpatty
Panpatty

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Darkkend
Darkkend

i gotta admit it looks kinda lame. The whole team thing is kinda weird.

CloudDS
CloudDS

looks identical to skate 2, with some gimmicks thrown in here and there. but hey , its EA, they could do that... looks like dlc released as a full game.... but hey, its EA, they could do that...

Snicker-Man
Snicker-Man

skate 3 is looking alsome while tony hawk another lame tony hawk ride 2, they need to do really if they want to stay in the video game busniess

samnov
samnov

Me want's Euphoria in Skate games. :( Epic Game btw.

Skargamer
Skargamer

i hope they extend the single player campaign though. skate 2 was way too short.

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

skate is what tony hawks always should've been, im not for a minute saying the first say 4 tony hawks games weren't incredible.. for their time but skate is just spot on.. hopefully number 3 wont fall victim to the lazy texturing of the first 2, drives me insane :P