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galagabug  avatar 10:48 AM on 01.12.2009
Skate2 demo impressions from a blatant skate fanboy

Hey, you read the title, you clicked the post. I love skate. They could have put a turd on trucks and chances are, i'd be pretty psyched. Thankfully, this game is not a turd on trucks. Over the weekend, i can safely say among all my incomplete retail titles, nothing got as much attention as this demo, despite its hair pullingly short time restraint.

The demo is pretty good stuff, quickly introducing you to the world of skate, and showing off 2 of the new mechanics that the people have been clamoring for. The first you experience, is life off the board. I've heard people complain that walking is 'clunky'. Really? I can go up the stairs, you know what i do when i get up the stairs? I get back on my board (the game is called skate, not walk. If i wanted to play a clunky version of walk, i'd throw Mirror's Edge back in). The mechanic does what it promises, and outside of running up a flight of stairs to retry a rail, i don't see myself using this feature a lot, but its there and it works.

The second new mechanic that the demo introduces is the ability to reposition objects. The area provided for the demo is not the greatest for this mechanic. Sure there's a rail and a few kickers that can be repositioned, and it works as promised. There just wasn't any rearranging that really got me excited. What can you do? I'm sure there are parts of San Vanelona that are really just put this mechanic to good use, and i look forward to exploring it more.

Then there are a few more new features, that are not really introduced through the tutorials, but a little time in the trick list, and there available to you. The first was inverts. If your approaching the top of something with some vert, hold the RB and a direction, and your doing inverts. Honestly, i've never been a huge fan, especially when there are epic grinds and monster airs to pull, but this integrates flawlessly with the existing controls. Takes nothing away, adds something new, its a winner in my book. If your trying to get your speed up on a half pipe, its a nice little variation you can throw in just for kicks.

Also new to the fold is the somewhat selective control over the behavior of your legs, with respect to cruising, popping ollies, landing, etc.This is when the game gets to be quite a bit of fun. Though not easy to pull of, we can finally do some no complies, boneless, fastplants, etc. I had a ton of fun with this. Though maybe not as rewarding as popping a huge trick, riding up a fun box and fast planting off the top is just good times. Basically, you crack your ollie, grab, remove a foot by holding the A/X button and your player will land on his foot and shove off, rather than land directly on the board. It looks cool, feels cool, and its a great way to stay in shape. If your riding around, and charge the A/X buttons simultaneously, you'll charge up for a hippie-jump, which is basically just hopping off the board, while the board continues to roll. The timing is tricky, but watching your board glide under a rail while you sail over it is very satisfying.

The new play mechanics really pay off, and i look forward to seeing what the rest of the city has to bring to the table. I'm not too psyched about having to 'unlock' parts of the city to make it skate-friendly, but hey, blackbox hasn't let me down yet. Fingers crossed.

For other action sports fanatics, we are getting stoked 1 day before Skate2. Hopefully it's better than Shaun White, b/c i'm itching for a quality snowboard title.

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