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skate 2: Bursting Birdman’s Melon Once And For All

With the latest nugget for all you wood-junkies out there, skate 2 hits store shelves this Friday. This franchise, while only in its second outing, is looking to have completely taken over the market in the Skateboarding genre of video games. Once upon a time, the great, almost mythic titles fashioned under the reverently held name of Tony Hawk dominated the disk drives of gamers from Great Britain to Guyana. As with all great things, the series got older and entered age-induced senility. The last outing, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, was in fact a shadowy reminder of what the series once was, failing to beat the new kid on the block, the feisty rookie of the gaming world, skate. EA’s skate was rated better than the Birdman’s game and it sold roughly twice as many copies – despite being released on less than half the number of consoles that its rival had. The question that this begs is why the David in the scenario was able to beat the Goliath, and with skate 2 dropping in to stores on the 23rd of January, is there any hope for the old master to make a return?

skate. turned the skateboarding genre upside down

Skate caveman-ned onto the scene rather suddenly, a new EA title starring a host of professional skaters where you complete tasks and work your character’s way up to international stardom, surely this was set up from the very beginning as a competitor to the elder statesman of the genre? Some were dubious as to how it would fit into the climate that was, at the time, monopolized by the Tony Hawk’s series, but when the first screenshots were released, the gaming nation held its breath for a showdown. Prior to release, both games were reviewed, with skate faring substantially better on various counts (Beating Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground’s 63% Monster Score with a rating of 86%), and when both were available on the market and sales figures totted up, it appeared that the consumers agreed with the critics. skate had more innovative graphics and featured an extensive physics system which could more realistically simulate “bails” made by the player. These facets of the young challenger already had worry lines etched on the money-bathed faces of the big-wigs at Activision, the publisher of the Tony Hawk’s series, but skate had something else up its sleeve, and this would prove to be its coup de grace. The FlickIt control system.

Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground rolled in second place to skate

This new design enabled players to pull off tricks by performing a corresponding action; as opposed to a combination of buttons mashed together, the method of control in the Tony Hawk’s series, which would have been as equally fitting in an arcade Beat-Em-Up as they were to a skating game. The added depth and realism of the controls in skate slew the old beast, which was later dropped by Neversoft, and with skate 2 around the corner, and looking mighty fine I might add, is there really any hope of a glorious, Balboa-esque return for the old warhorse?

Skate. 2, training ground for the next batch of X-Games Champions?

With stirrings in the industry for the Tony Hawk’s franchise, its future remains uncertain, but come Friday, once skate 2’s wheels start spinning, Activision will have to pull something really special out of the bag to win this game of H.O.R.S.E.

Sam Finch

Sam has been unable to peel his bloodshot eyes and RSI-ridden wrists from the world of gaming since he was first introduced to it, like all good junkies, by his Grandad. From those early days of MegaDrive sweetness, bashing through the throngs of enemies on Shining Force II, his love of all things games has extended upwards and outwards onto a variety of platforms. You can either believe that spiel, or get the real scoop and know that his spaceship actually crashed here some years ago and he is currently incognito as a games writer for Console Monster.

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