Skate It


posted 2/28/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Wii
The game is best when played with the Wii remote and nunchuck, though even that isn't ideal. The Wii Balance Board is interesting, but doesn't work nearly as well as Ubisoft's recent Shaun White Snowboarding game. No matter how you play it you're going to have a steep learning curve to climb. Ironically the controls have largely the same problem that we found in the Xbox 360 game. That is, there are far too many moves for the limited way you control your character. The game asks you to wave your arm and rotate the control, yet there are at least a dozen moves that can be pulled off using almost exactly the same movement. All of this gets even more complicated when you realize that the Wii's motion sensing just isn't accurate enough to do the job. Most of the time this isn't going to be a big deal, but just wait until the game asks you to do a specific trick in a combo and you spend the next three hours trying to pull it off. Talk about frustrating.

Speaking of pulling off the moves, for whatever reason the game seems to think that you should already know how to do all of the tricks. It's not immediately clear how to pull off any trick when you first start playing, so you'll probably want to consult your trusty trick book. Unfortunately the trick book is woefully inadequate for what you need and takes a few seconds to load it up each time. Is there a reason that the game couldn't tell you how to do the moves it asks you to pull off? Heck, at least give us the option to see how it's done before the mission starts. That isn't going to take any of the challenge away, and who knows, maybe after awhile you'll start to get used to how to pull of specific moves. The Tony Hawk series has been helping people out like this for years, so there's no excuse to not lend us a hand and tell us the difference between all of these different tricks.


Unfortunately the control isn't the only downgrade found in this Wii game. As you might imagine this Wii version doesn't have the same amazing graphics that were found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I knew that going in and certainly didn't expect it to blow me away. What I didn't expect was it to look so rough and unpolished. Maybe it's the art style, but there's something about the way the game looks that just turns me off. I was especially disappointed with the way my character looked. Worst of all there wasn't that big of a graphical difference from place to place, so after awhile it felt like I was just skating through the same levels with slightly different layouts.

Thankfully the sound is a little better, mixing a lot of new school and old school music. The game's audio has largely the same feel of the first game, which was a good thing. Heck, it may actually be the same songs recycled for this game; I didn't go through and double check. On top of the solid line-up of tunes, you also get quite a few good sound effects and even a little voice acting.

When you're done messing around with the story mode you can check out the game's limited multiplayer mode. Sadly this Wii game does not feature the cool online modes found in the original game. Instead you get a few lame pass-the-control mini games where you have to beat each other's score, pull off the best trick, etc. I'm not saying you can't have fun with this mode, but it's a far cry from the action-packed online mode found in the original Skate.

Skate It may not be as fully realized as what we saw on the other two next generation consoles, but it's not a terrible Wii game. Those who missed the first game will likely have a lot of fun with this game, even if that means spending the first few hours just figuring out how to control the thing. There are still a mountain of problems that need to be fixed, but that shouldn't keep you from having a fun time going from challenge to challenge. With a little more time and a tweaked control scheme the Skate series should have no problem taking over the Wii, however this may not be the game that does it.

It takes place in San Vanelona, has you completing dozens of pointless challenges and has clumsy controls. But it's not the Skate you're thinking of; instead it's Skate It for the Wii. While not as fully realized as its Xbox 360/PS3 counterpart, Skate It proves to be enough fun to recommend ... but only if you're willing to put the time in to get over the mountainous learning curve!

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