Giant Bomb Review

45 Comments

Skate It Review

2
  • Wii

Skate It offers three different control schemes, but none of them save the game from its long list of issues.

The ghostly streets of San Vanelona mean you won't have to deal with cops this time.
The biggest problem I had with EA's Skate was that the trick system was a bit too complex to fit into the game's control scheme. It's great to have a ton of available tricks, but with a system that requires you to move the right analog just so to do a specific trick, and a series of challenges that demand that you do very specific tricks to proceed, the fun of the early game quickly turned to frustration. If you want to imagine how the Wii-based not-quite-a-sequel, Skate It, fares, just imagine the frustration that comes when you expect precision from a Wii Remote. Nope. Doesn't work. Mercifully, a lot of the game doesn't demand so much specificity that you can't just sort of lamely wave your arm at the TV and succeed on some level.

Skate It serves as a mid-point between the original game and the 2009 sequel, Skate 2. It seems that San Vanelona, the fictional city that serves as the backdrop for the original game, has been hit by a grip of unspecified disasters. This gives you a completely abandoned city to skate in. It also gives a bit of a story-justified reason for the ghost town feel of the entire game, which probably has a lot more to do with the limitations of the Wii than any sort of simple story stuff. Of course, you actually leave San Vanelona in Skate It, and there's no explanation for why cities like Paris or London don't have any people or cars on the streets. The barren nature of the world makes the game feel really dated, like it was some kind of PS1 port of a PS2 Tony Hawk game.

The control options are probably the most important thing about Skate It. You can choose from three different schemes. The most basic is a Remote-only scheme. You steer by tilting the Remote, and tricks are also governed by how you move the Remote. So if you tilt sideways and lift up, that's supposed to do a kickflip or heelflip. Circular motions, half-circles, and so on let you bust out the other tricks in the Skate It repertoire. In most cases, downward motions instead of upwards motions are supposed to let you do nollie versions of most of your tricks.

If you hook up a Nunchuk, you can move steering off of the Remote and over to the analog stick, which is better. Still, it doesn't really solve the core problem--getting the Wii Remote to translate your motions into the tricks you're attempting to perform at the precise time you're trying to perform them. Even busting out simple ollies with precise timing seems like random chance due to the temperamental nature of the hardware. You're left with the feeling that the developer tried to fit too many different motions onto the Remote. I found that the circular motions were much better about coming out on demand, so I found myself flipping into and out of just about anything I did.

The third control scheme uses the Remote and the Balance Board. Things like steering and manuals feel really natural with the board, but in this mode, you have to use the D pad on the Remote to toggle your way through multiple sets of tricks, then put pressure on specific sections of the board to perform them. While the steering and movement might work just fine for players who just want to skate around the world and do whatever, it doesn't really make for a very fun experience if you're trying to actually progress through the game's career mode.

You may recognize some of the spots from the first game.
The career is structured in the classic skateboarding game style. You're nobody, and you want to sell out as quickly as possible to be the biggest skater in the world. So you're constantly doing tricks that are photographed and filmed to get in skate magazines, then you get the honor of choosing which sponsors to align your virtual self with, and so on and so forth. Along the way you'll bump into a collection of professional skaters, who do a really good job of not sounding like professional voice actors.

The bulk of the game's voice comes from Giovanni Reda, the same professional skateboarding photographer and video guy who commentated the first game. Reda comes across as super-repetitive and obnoxious in Skate It. Also, you don't seem him skating around behind you or anything. It's like his voice is just in your head or something.

The developers probably really wanted to make sure that the animation in Skate It looked right. That's probably the best part about the way it looks--the tricks animate well and the skating generally looks realistic. But the rest of the game, from the player models to the textures, to the environments, just look kind of bad. Given that it's a Wii release, it's impossible to expect the Skate experience to move from 360/PS3 to the Wii with no compromises, but man... parts of this game are just downright ugly.

As with the original Skate, Skate It manages to feel authentic and it comes with some sharp ideas. But the game's presentation and control just don't pan out, and it seems like a game that'll frustrate players more often than not. If you're a Skate fan looking for what's next, do yourself a solid and wait for Skate 2.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
45 Comments
Posted by Aberen

Heh, i kinda saw that one coming.

Posted by Arkthemaniac

Still on my christmas list.

Posted by MrSkids

Blimey.  I saw the second photo and never realised that the dude from ZZ Top even knew how to stand on a skateboard!

Posted by Thrawn1

ouch...

Posted by RHCPfan24

OWNED.

Posted by code305

I wasnt big on this game. 

Posted by Stealthoneill

Ouch. Still the Tony Hawk games seem to be on top of the Skateboard genre. Not that they have a great track record..

Posted by Jayge_

A short review for a short/more boring game, I guess.

Posted by MrMiyagi

I still think it would be fun.

Posted by TaintedSun

You hope for the Wii Remote to take a game genre and improve it, but it just doesn't seem to be doing that.

Posted by Voiceofreason

LMAO... Obviously someone is either a fanboy of another console or just has some deep physical handicap. Good for a laugh but nothing more. For a legit review with merit go to http://wii.ign.com/articles/932/932004p1.html. Not only will you get a real review but you will also get real feedback about the quality of game. At least in the IGN review the reviewer actually played the game not quote the general fanboy BS about how the Wii control just never ever works. Anyway I am sure your fanboy user base will get a real kick out of you agreeing with them on ever front when it comes to Wii but for us real gamers out there, this will not be a site we ever visit. I already know I'll be banned. I just dont care. I personally dont suppor sites with such obvious bias to one console or the other.

Posted by Scooper

A bad Wii game that's mixed about its audience and ends up being lame.... SURPRISE!

Posted by Kohe321

Won't be picking that up. Damn I haven't used my nintendo WII since last year...

Posted by mubress

lol @ MrSkids :)

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

"The biggest problem I had with EA's Skate was that the trick system was a bit too complex to fit into the game's control scheme. It's great to have a ton of available tricks, but with a system that requires you to move the right analog just so to do a specific trick, and a series of challenges that demand that you do very specific tricks to proceed, the fun of the early game quickly turned to frustration." Thats basically perfect as far as saying why I DIDN'T buy the game. I am a pretty serious gamer, so its not like I was having issues with the controller, it was just too much. The first tricks you learn to do were easy enough to mess up because the system was so finicky. Most people would rather have a game that is challenging without being so challenging it becomes stop and start then a game so incredibly picky.

and Voiceofreason is an idiot. These guys are in no way biased against the Wii, and if they were, so what??? Nintendo lostany right to respect with the gamecube. Barely, because it did have its masterpeices, but it was also a steaming pile of crap. The Wii just mae that final kick to the teeth that brought nintendo from gamer haven to casua I'm-a-grampa-and-haven't-played-shit-since-marbles-was-invented. Also, notice how it was touched on how the original had a similar issue with the controls, etc. Please stop. How bout you stop being a fanboy, and crying fanboy just to hide that fact. Seriously, there is no need for you to get upset just because someone didn't like a game. Not all reviewers HAVE to agree with eachother, or any one of the millions of consumers. Its THEIR review. Voice of reason my ass.

Posted by Milkman

Thanks voiceofreason. Your post was good for a laugh but nothing more.

Online
Posted by GCOKemuel15

I'm sorry but this review is wrong. Even with all its "issues" the game is still very good. But, it was basically made to be played on the balance board. The other two controls are made for people who don't have the balance board that's why they suck.

Posted by TheKing

LOL @ Voiceofreason for using Wii and "real gamers" in the same sentence.

Posted by Jimbo
"I already know I'll be banned"

Pffft, for that little tantrum?  I shouldn't think so.  Here's a pro tip: the next time you're trying to martyr yourself on a website; come up with something that rates a bit higher than 'Mild Controversy'.  Casual racism sprinkled with the words '****' and '****ing'  usually works out pretty well.
Posted by clarke0

How many people actually expected this to be good? I mean it is a 3rd party Wii game.

Posted by Darbo

I've been playing this inbetween CoD:WaW sessions - it makes for a nice change of pace. The story is ridiculous (massive earthquake destroyed the city - let's grind on the ruins...!?), but I'm enjoying career mode more, it seems, than Jeff did. As for controls, remote-only is pointless. I've been using the balance board config - took me a while to get it down, but once you get the hang of it the game gains a charm that is unlike any of the countless other board sims out there.

Posted by John

The graphics, they hurt my eyes!

Posted by xplodedd

ouch, i was hoping this game would pan well.
hopefully skate 2 will

Posted by TheGreatGuero

Yeah, dudes, let's face it. Motion controls are unresponsive and inaccurate. If they are to be used in a game, it should be kept very minimal. Unresponsive motion controls might just be the most frustrating thing to ever be involved with video games.

Posted by yellownumber5

What was the arcade game that came out about ten years ago using a board like facsimile?  I want that game to be remade, even if with the same graphics.  no nunchuck, just the balance board.  The only problem though is that the original game let you shove the board left and right on a pivot.  The balance board can't do that.

Edited by PremierOctopus

Tony hawk seems to make better bad games than skate does.

And in my honest opinion, as is obviously Jeff's opinion as well, the truth is that the majority of wii controls are clunky and awkward, or at least the games designed around them are. It's not that there aren't good games on the wii, it's just that games fall short when they go for that level of precisision and control when it is just not there.
Edited by Al3xand3r

Ugh, if Giant Bomb is only going to review games in order to please all the anti-Wii fanboy sentiments of the community, then please, just don't. Where is the fucking integrity we were promised? Don't go to GameSpot anymore was the overall sentiment, they fired me because I wanted to be honest. GiantBomb will rock your socks off!

Where the fuck is THAT nowadays? It was all good in the early days, I loved you guys, the whole crew, but now? If Skate It is honestly THAT bad, (which it isn't seeing the average pro and user review) then why review it in the first place? Review the games that at least try, even if they fail in the end (ie, Mirror's Edge). I didn't see you review Barbie Horse Adventures for Sony's systems you know, and according to you, Skate It is of about that caliber, so why bother at all? You had nothing to do with your 5 minutes and decided to play and write a review (both within that time frame)? I guess that's the joy of not having a publisher over your head anymore, yay for indies?

Do the games that have the potential to be good instead, or do nothing. You really don't give the Wii any attention whatsoever anyway so, whatever. I'll end this here, it's nothing that hasn't been said in the Wii forums where the idiots who will flame my post here have failed to bring any decent argument to, and will fail to do so again. Not that the staff here would care.

Does your integrity only reach up to the absolute top AAA titles from Nintendo or publisher of almost equal caliber that you really have no choice but to rate well or cover? No thanks, if so.

Thanks for the few joyous months. Good luck in becoming GameSpot #2, some sort of weird GameSpot+Kotaku hybrid,  as you obviously aspire to. It's back to independent blogs for my gaming news fix I guess (aside from forum posting which I guess I'll still dabble in occasionally).

Edit: And no, obviously this isn't the first and only thing I find wrong with the site, just the last straw. Other evidence of non-integrity include the score given to the latest Mortal Kombat crapfest and my complaints with the Left 4 Dead review I made sure to point out there also...

Posted by TooWalrus

Oh. My. God. Giantbomb.com just throws 5 stars to every game. I can't believe... wait let me look at what it got, and MAYBE read the review too.

Posted by Stevokenevo

its lovely to see people getting butt hurt about other peoples opinions.  Hurray for the anonimity of the internet.  Is it also; the more you write in a comment the more power your opinion should have?!  If thats the case, then my comment isnt worth reading people,...move on, nothing to see here.

O, maybe i should add my opinion, the visuals to this game look like something i would make in a mod = lame.  And the controls to the Wii are the most important feature, so if they suck then ive lost the will to play the game already.

Posted by Coldbrand

Yes Voice of Reason, if I need to know how much IGN was bribed for THIS particular game I'll head right over there.

Posted by Robot_Vampire

Good review and Skate just naturally seems like the kind of game that wouldn't work if you put it on the Wii.

Posted by High

What no "5-star"? This game must really suck!

Posted by Nets

@ Alexander: He's reviewing the games he is interested in, not to bash the Wii. Maybe if the team working on the game spent more time on this game it would have gotten a higher score, but that's not the case.

Posted by InFamous91

I'll Just Wait For Skate 2

Posted by rerty

the wii has AAA titles? please name them... this review was a real shocker. PSX graphics mixed with "revolutionary motion controls" this game was destined to be complete shit.

Posted by Endogene

Its a shame that this game did not turn out just as good as shaun white did on the wii with the balance board. I see here a complete lack of effort of the devs

Posted by Media_Master
Posted by 911forpeace

Alexander, Jeff reviews whatever the fuck he wants. Go to IGN.

Posted by Stevokenevo

maybe we should point out that if people disagree with the reviews, they are more than capable of writing their own user reviews....should they have actually played the game.

Posted by JoelTGM

Well of course this game doesn't impress, it's for the Wii.  I can't wait for Skate 2 on the Xbox 360, the first game rocked.

Posted by jollywhitegiant

I'm not sure whether to be amused or saddened by people here in the comments that get so worked up about reviews...

Posted by cakedaddys

Why is this the ONLY site that scored Skate It so low.  Even 1up retracted its low score because it didn't get the retail version of the game.  Maybe GB should take another look at the game.

Posted by Two

Coming from someone that's played and loves the original Skate... I find this game very disappointing. It's straight up not good. I'll still give the DS version a shot, but man, they fucked this up real bad.

Also, I cant believe people are getting pissed off that a Wii third party release is being rated poorly. I mean, where have you guys been for the past 2 years? Have you just not been paying attention? This should come as no surprise.

Posted by Arkthemaniac

I haven't played this game a whole lot yet, but it seems to be pretty fun.

Posted by demontium
@Al3xand3r: disregard what people are yelling @ you.... I agree.