Skate 3 Review

It’s difficult to keep a successful series fresh and new while at the same time honoring what earned its notoriety in the first place. Historically, this has seemed to be even more the case for extreme sports games. This was the obstacle that EA Black Box faced once again with Skate 3, and while it isn’t the perfect holy grail of skateboarding games, it still provides players another great skateboarding experience.

The campaign in Skate 3 is driven by board sales. Your character and his/her friend Reda have started up a skateboard company and it is your job to mingle with the pros, win competitions, create promo photos and videos, and more in order to build your own skate team and make your company famous. It’s a basic but interesting way to set your character off in the game world of Port Carverton to complete the games numerous and various challenges.

Tear up some suburban pools outside the university.

The game’s challenges are spread throughout Port Carverton and vary from games of 1UP (think HORSE but shorter), following other skaters, racing, completely destroying your body in the Hall of Meat, and more. It’s a diverse set of tasks that will keep you engaged and not feeling bored by the same task over and over.

These challenges are indeed challenging. Some can be quite difficult and will take a while to complete, but that’s what makes the game fun. Anyone who has a problem with the difficulty can change it whenever they want, without fear of being penalized, because Skate 3 features no achievements based on difficulty.

Controls stay true to the Skate series and definitely have the most realistic feel of any skateboarding game on the market today. However, the sensitivity of the analog sticks will make some flip tricks rather frustrating to execute, as they will require extreme precision. Many other tricks are equally difficult until one is skilled and comfortable with the controls. Luckily, Skate 3 has brought in a great way of making players do that with Skate School.

Skate School is Skate 3‘s skating tutorial, hosted by none other than skating great Jason Lee as his Coach Frank persona. The tutorials really do a great job of easing players into the game’s complicated control scheme. They won’t automatically make players unstoppable, and you will still need to work on perfecting your skills, but it does help players who are unfamiliar with the series’ trick mechanics to stay engaged without getting frustrated and losing interest.

The voice work in the game is top notch. All of the pro skaters offer their voices and they all help to make Port Carverton feel like a skateboarder’s dream city. The standout is obviously Lee as Coach Frank, who makes going through Skate School more fun than it sounds. The soundtrack is also enjoyable, and tracks from the Beastie Boys, Pixies, Hangar 18, Dinosaur Jr., and others always seem to get one in the mood for tearing up the city.

Shred the business district.

Skate 3 does a good job of making Port Carverton look pretty and diverse. From the university to the business and industrial districts, each area gives you a different feel and puts you into the different worlds and styles of skateboarding. The graphics won’t blow you away, but the game still looks good with few hiccups. One such fault is that pro skaters’ voices aren’t lip-synched outside of cutscenes, which makes for awkward shots of them during games of 1UP. I also came across an instance where I could only go up half of a ramp, while I was stopped dead whenever I hit the other half.

Another time I entered an Own the Spot Challenged only to load into nothing but black around my skater. When the world finally loaded, I discovered that I wouldn’t earn any points toward the challenge until I quit and retried. However, I did spot an AI skater spawn at my location with the name "Glitch" and a number next to it. Perhaps this is a sign that the people over at Black Box are keeping tabs on the game’s glitches so they can be fixed with patches in the future.

One new addition in Skate 3 is its online co-op mode. When taking a challenge, players have the option to attempt it online and either invite friends to join or wait in the online area for other players. The challenges are a blast when attempted cooperatively, and they reward those who complete them with extra board sales. Unfortunately, unless you have friends who own Skate 3 you can expect to be spending a lot of time waiting in the online areas just for one other person to show up. The game could have really benefitted from split-screen co-op and competitive modes to accompany the online multiplayer. Being able to play challenges with or against someone right next to you would have been a great plus.

When it comes down to it, Skate 3 is another valuable addition to EA Black Box’s skateboarding series. While it does have its technical flaws and controls can be difficult to figure out, it still provides an extremely enjoyable and realistic skating experience. Any fan of the genre and extreme sports should definitely pick this title up.

4 out of 5


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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