DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: Skate 3

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: Black Box/Electronic Arts/Xbox 360, PS3, PC

FUN FACT: In-game pros include Rob Dyrdek, Jason Dill, Josh Kalis, Lizard King, Andrew Reynolds, Terry Kennedy, and more.

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT:
Because no one else does it like they're doing it. Period. While your neighbors are still recovering from injuries sustained by Tony Hawk's Ride, EA's Skate 3 is now the gold standard of sandbox skateboarding sims. The first win-win scenario of this package is the insane amount of content. While it's a given that most Skate veterans may breeze through the solo challenges, balk at the lack of serious graphics advancements, or feel slight dismay at the "more-of-the-same" approach, once you hit the streets of Port Carverton, darksliding your way to fame and fortune, you will be in awe of the unfathomable amount of fun to be had.

by Jonathan Lees

darkslide
Darksliiiiiiiiiide!

THE WARM-UP:
From a Skate School (taught by skater/actor Jason Lee as his old Coach Frank character) to an in-depth Trick Analyzer to help get the frustrated back up and rolling, even the greenest of players will feel safe setting up their lines and perfecting their flair before advancing through the onslaught of missions, challenges, and battles to build fully customizable players who vie for fame and fortune in the multiplayer environment.

frank
Coach Frank is in the building!

SIZE MATTERS:
Sounds daunting? It is. But you can also simply say,"Fuck all that, I just want to skate." The landscape of Port Carverton is massive, and there's never a disconnect if you just want to ride it freestyle, either solo or with friends (or even people you don't know). Real skaters know that the repetition in movement to gain skill and to perfect lines is a necessary evil, but we'll be damned if practice has ever felt this fun. The controls are deep, the movement butter, and the game motivates you to achieve your own greatness in the environment. Or you could just go back to the ever-awesome "Hall of Meat" mode and try to break as many bones as possible.

meat2
Second Place at the Ike Turner Freestyle Invitational

MULTIPLAYER:
The mission progression wants you to get better, but the online community will force you to get better. Whenever a developer approaches social networking as a "cool new addition!" to a game, we tend to feel a slight disruption of the bowels. Such discomfort came when we saw the new "Team Up. Throw Down" slogan, which urges you to form on/offline teams of friends or strangers to compete and rep throughout the Skate universe using the Skate.Feed network. Thankfully, the creators of Skate 3 know EXACTLY what makes networks so much fun: by letting the player control everything. From recording movies of their best moves (with a full timeline editor), to adjusting the contrast, depth, angle of their magazine shots, selecting friends or newcomers to join their team, to creating the design of their own branding, it's the kind of full-on D.I.Y. approach that makes any kind of network successful. There's a trade-off, though. Instead of some creepy corporate douchebag telling you what you can or cannot do, when you share your achievements, clips or photos online, it's a creepy middle-school douchebag telling you that you suck.

team

Other sports games keep pushing to create statistically enriched environments to keep players locked in for the long haul. This is the first game that offers you an open world of options while remaining smart enough to let you ignore them all and just...skate.

SO DOPE:
• Session markers to jump back and retry tricks...an essential tool.
• The game opens with Jeezy's "Put On." Now, that's motivational.
• Everything you do sells boards. Gives your sad life a sense of purpose, don't it?

NOT SO DOPE:
Online sessions can freeze up, with players repeatedly leaving and arriving in the game.
Early multiplayer connection issues. Time for an update, fellas.
The same dumb kids that shot you in the face in MW2 are the same ones taunting you while you're trying to balance out a line. Shut up already, Timmy!

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This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.