Welcome to Port Caverton – a skater’s open-world skateboarding wet dream. This world, full with pedestrians, skaters, cars, and everything else that makes up a living, breathing city is yours to shred, create, and share. The world is your playground this time around.
Armed with just a board, you and some friends will set out to make a name for yourselves and, most importantly, sell some boards. Now with community created content sharing, Skate 3 hopes to bring skaters around the world continuous, new, free content from you, the gamer. The premise and new addictive features are certainly there, but whether the evolution from Skate 2 to Skate 3 is enough is questionable at best.
Skateboarding games are no longer the powerhouses they once were. With the continued demise of the Tony Hawk franchise, Skate has been left with a huge void to fill and has stepped up to the challenge delivering three Skate games in the past three years. However, these yearly installments of skateboarding games lend themselves only to small changes upon already well established flick-it game mechanics.
For some, the more Skate the better. For others, it has taken Skate 3 to realize that the franchise may need to take a step back and evaluate whether these small changes are enough. A game can only ride its own coattails so far – look at Guitar Hero.
While the words “open-world” are used quite loosely in video games today, Skate 3 is no different as it is mainly driven by a map providing available challenges to complete. As such, this openness quickly shrinks as you find yourself teleporting from goal to goal. And it is because of this that the game quickly begins to feel repetitive and poorly structured. One thing to appreciate this time around is the fact that some of the more difficult challenges to complete in Skate 2 are now gone.
Because of that, most challenges are very well balanced and enjoyable while others boil down to repetitive trial and error gameplay. Based around many of the challenges in Skate 2, Skate 3 offers challenges such as races, film and photo shoots, competitions, and challenges in which the goal is to break as many of your bones as you can.
Despite the vanilla flavored challenges, Port Caverton is designed extremely well. Skating from one area to another provides more than enough variation and excitement to allow yourself to lose hours just messing around. So while you may not be finding yourself skating the world to your next challenge, you will most certainly find yourself appreciating the world from time to time and shredding as much as you can. And if the world in front of you isn’t enough, dropping rails, ramps, and other items to liven things up will keep you entertained and on your board for hours on end.
As you progress through these challenges, you will be provided with more skaters to join your team. These skaters can be customized and used to help promote your new business and sell some boards. While this is an enjoyable addition, it ultimately feels like nothing more than a reason to transition the player into online game modes as single-player game modes mostly result in individual use of these teammates. This is also apparent during team play modes when you are reliant on your AI teammates to perform well. However, the frustration sets in when you are left to carry your team to victory.
But although the teammate aspect of Skate 3’s offline career mode feels a bit forced, the fact that it transitions the player into the world of online gameplay is extremely important. For those of you who enjoy online gameplay, or even have friends that own Skate 3, the value of this title will immediately be realized once you step into the online world. The integration of online challenges and modes is seamless and easily the most enjoyable element of Skate 3.
Community created content is an increasingly popular feature in games today as many follow the success of titles such as Little Big Planet. While still attempting to set the bar for realistic skateboarding video games, Skate 3 now aims to give the power of creativity back to the player. The skate park editor, which can be accessed from the menu system, provides very intuitive tutorials and controls to help ease you into creating the next great skate park.
The amount of community created content already available is overwhelming, and makes one realize the amount of potential this has in future Skate games. However, keep in mind that access to this mode requires a new game purchase. Used games will most likely not contain the code required to gain access to the creation and sharing of skate parks.
Between offline and online challenge modes as well as the skate park editor, Skate 3 provides a ton of opportunities to feel a sense of achievement. Whether you just hit that impossible trick, beat a friend in a skate competition, or created a skate park that was downloaded over a thousand times, the unique feeling of impact you have on this offline and online world is extremely rewarding. That feeling of achievement and reward is something that keeps gamers coming back for more – no matter what game it is.
Simply put, Skate 3 has shifted its focus of what to refine, not to its core gameplay, but instead to the world of online gameplay. Skate 3 offers enough for online enthusiasts and those new to the genre to jump right in and ride the enjoyment for hours on end. But for those that enjoy more offline gameplay and are hardcore enthusiasts of the Skate series, Skate 3 does not provide enough to differentiate itself from its predecessor.
Physics in Skate 3 need to improve at the amateur level as they are highly inconsistent at times. Menus are easy to navigate but take you out of the flow of the game.
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While still managing to be king of its genre, Skate 3 lacks the change from its predecessor that enthusiasts hope for. Those new to the series will enjoy themselves immensely. While the open-world feel is always a nice touch, the flow of progression takes a hit as gamers will mostly resort to teleporting to quests.
Skate 3's voiceovers are very well done as they fit into the world of skateboarding while adding just the right amount of humor. Soundtrack has enough variety to keep you from streaming your own music.
While the open-world and online may keep many going for hours on end, the challenges become repetitive and ultimately a case of lots of trial and error.
Skate 3 manages to remain the skateboarding game to beat but ultimately lacks the evolution and balanced, challenging experience that gamers expect from a third installment in the series.