Skate 2, developed by Black Box and brought to us by EA Games, is an excellent Skate/RPG-style game.

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Skate 2 has a somewhat movie type feel to it, kicking off with a 10-minute intro using some of the more popular pro skaters. However, unlike the first game, the movie feel disappears after the intro, and if you want to see more then it has now become downloadable content, but you have to pay for it. This part of the game did nothing for me as I find it a bit harsh that I have to purchase something that was free in the first title.

The setup of the controls in Skate 2 follow the same FlickIt technique that was developed in the first game; players no longer have to mash eight different buttons to do a trick, they can now control the ‘trick’ movement of their board by using the right thumbstick. I did find that this does take away some of the fluidity of the games internal workings.

The first Skate game was extremely popular, selling over twice as many as its formally unchallenged counterpart Tony Hawk (Activision), and this time they have stuck to what they know best, but this could be a double-edged sword.

Although they have made a lot of improvements that fans would have liked in the first game, they didn’t change enough for it to really feel like a sequel, if you think of it in terms of Skate 1.5 then you won’t be disappointed.

Skate 2 starts off with you getting out of the county jail, where you have been incarcerated for reasons unknown. It’s here you meet up with your friend who will show you the ropes, and explain the new changes around the city of San Van, from there you move to Slappy’s skate park where you are first introduced to some of your tricks as a skater, and as expected takes you through the basics. From there the city is yours, free reign to go wherever you want and do whatever you want.

The inclusion of being able to get off your board and walk/run around the map is a big improvement on the first game, and they have made use of this new function by allowing you to get off your board and move objects like benches, ramps, trashcans and tables around to help you optimise your trick combos.

Online features are a definite plus – being able to see your friends high scores and beat them is a fun function that definitely extends the playability of the game. There are few things better than getting that abusive SMS from a friend at 3am when they turn on their Xbox and see that they don’t hold the high scores in their own game anymore…..Satisfaction.

Overall Skate 2 is a solid game. Its good features help overshadow some of its lesser points, and the replay-ability in these types of games are always higher than normal. So if you’re looking at loosing a few hours of your life to bone crunching stacks while listening to an impressive soundtrack then Skate 2 is for you.

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