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Skate 2 – Best Skateboarding Game Ever Made? Full Review

This time on Rad Rat Video, we talk about skate 2 on the ps3. Let’s get started. Welcome back to Rad Rat Video, the channel where you can learn something new about skateboarding three times a week. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we take a look at something in the skateboarding world, from learning tricks on the shred school, learning about your favorite pros and brands, and learning about skateboarding video games like Skate 2. My goal eventually is to play and review every single skateboarding game ever made. I’ll probably be working on that for years still. But today, we’re getting into skate 2. Took me a little while to get to this one after skate one, but that’s just because these games are so big. I really wanted to give them enough time, and skate 2 is arguably the best game in the whole series, and arguably the best skateboarding game ever made. So we will talk about that all coming up. And without further ado let’s just get right into it.
Skate 2 starts with you being released from jail. You don’t know why, or what you did, until the very end of the game. But it’s implied that you’re the same person from the first Skate game, and you’re looking to make your comeback. I think it’s a good enough story. It gives you a reason to have to ‘re-learn’ stuff through the tutorial and make your way up through the ranks again. And that’s basically the only goal in the game again. Get sponsors, make money and get covered in magazines. That’s fine. I’m not looking for much else in a skateboarding game.

Reda is back, and he tells you that the city was rebuilt by Mongo Corp, and that’s why everything is different. In Skate It, the Wii entry in the Skate series, it’s revealed that San Van was destroyed in a big natural disaster. That game focuses on skating in the ruins – but it’s really just an excuse to not have other character models on screen. See my review of that right here.

When you make your character, you’ll notice that it defaults to goofy again. This time, I just went for it. I’m not going to fight the game to be regular the whole time. In fact, I recently started thinking that I probably should have been goofy in real life too… but that’s a story for another time.

Your character still has zero personality. It’s kind of joke at this point. I just got out of jail and immediately won a contest. Look at my face. I’m completely dead inside.

But it feels good to be back in Skate. This game just feels great, and this version more than ever. I won’t go into detail about the control scheme, but the flick-it system feels like it’s been refined. I can’t quite put my finger on what changed, but everything feels polished. You have very precise control over your skater and the tricks that you do. I love being able to twist through the last few degrees of a spin to land straight. And locking into grinds feels and sounds right.

The city is also better than ever. Aside from all the security stuff that we’ll talk about later, the variety and overall size of this city leaves you with plenty to look at and do. I feel like you could play this game for years and never see everything. I played Skate 1 a LOT, and Skate 3 a lot too. But this one, much less. I had it for Xbox 360, and my console died right after I beat the game. So this one still feels pretty fresh to me playing it again, and I’m having a lot of fun finding all the nooks and crannies in New San Van.

Let’s talk about the additions to the game. First of all, they added in walking. This is a huge help, and you’ll use it a lot. I’m sure they wanted this to be in Skate 1 and they just ran out of time. It’s really helpful. The control for it is a little weird though. You feel like a tank, and you pivot around really slow. It can be annoying when you’re trying to run away from security or something, but it generally gets the job done.

One of the other additions is the no comply. Push mongo and ollie part way through, and you’ll do one. It makes sense, but it doesn’t look great, and you probably won’t use it too much.

Bonelesses are available now too. Grab the board and push, and you’ll do it. Again, not super helpful, but it’s nice to have.

In the same vein, there are also footplants. Grab the board in the air, land on your foot and hop back off.

And there is more of an emphasis on varials and fingerflips. The game will ask you to do these sometimes.

And you can’t forget hippy jumps! These are built in now. You just hold both push buttons and let go to jump. It works pretty well. But the load menu says you still have to do hippy flips the old fashioned way!

They also added in services. Security and skate stoppers are a big part of the game this time around, which kind of sucks. But you can pay a dude to come break them off for you. I don’t really get why this is part of the game. Here’s how it goes down. A lot of the times, you’ll start a challenge and start skating it. You’ll hit a skate stopper. So what do you do? Your phone doesn’t work during challenges, so you have to quit the mission, then call the guy, wait through a couple of screens, then restart the challenge. It just feels like I’m being punished for no reason. Sure, it’s more realistic I guess, but it’s not fun.

In a similar way, you can also hire Sammy to drain pools. Finding pools is the only way to unlock most of the Thrasher missions, so you’ll have to call her a few times.

Last is Big Black. This part is kind of cool. You can hire him to be counter-security, which is exactly how he made his debut in skateboarding back in the DC video. A lot of times, he’s built into the mission and he’ll be running around tackling guards while you try your trick. In theory, you can call him up whenever, but I never did.

Aside from that, most of the changes and updates are visual. But one thing I always want to check is the spin directions. Before the current crop of touchscreen skateboarding games, there’s always something wrong. I checked half cabs, and surprise! They’re actually right. I tried nollie, and there’s no spin direction at all, which technically isn’t wrong. But for some reason, if you do a spin on vert without ollieing, it will label it…. And it’s wrong. They were so close! I will never understand why this is so hard. But there you go.

Another thing that’s unfixed is the kinks. You still catch air while grinding kinks. It makes sense with the physics system, but it’s kind of lame.

Let’s take a look at the events.

You have pretty much all of the same stuff that you did in the last game. You have photoshoots, sequence shoots, video, contests and other stuff. These feature real photographers and recognizable characters from skateboarding, which is cool.

I like these, because they’re always different. You have to go to a spot and do a certain type of trick in a certain way. It’s never the exact same thing twice, like getting a high score in other games. It’s unique. The photography is still terrible though. Just look at this shot. You can’t see where the gap starts or ends. This is built into the game, and it’s always terrible. The sequences look really good though. This is a lot better.

You know where a countdown would help? On the death races. But it doesn’t have one! The game loads, and then you’re just racing. This is plain stupid. But I skipped the majority of the races anyway. I just can’t stand them. There’s too much that can happen that isn’t your fault, like cars being in the way. I can’t stand when I do everything perfect and yet still lose.

Another example of that is the people. In this challenge, I have to do a line with specific tricks. I can’t see the end, so I just start going for it. I get down to the last trick, and bam, there’s some jerk standing right where I need to be. I wish the game would at least clear a path and just have the bystanders be nearby in the background.

Also, notice that I have to 360 flip something to my left. Good thing I picked goofy.

This game is full of minor annoyances like that. Another big one is the saving and loading. When you beat a challenge and it’s saving, you just have to wait. You can’t bring up the map and jump to the next challenge, and you can’t bring up your phone either. And there are a lot of challenges that involve security. The game is all about doing stuff at Mongo Corp buildings. When you finish the challenge, you’re still being chased. So you have to outrun the guards until the game says you’re safe. THEN you can bring up other challenges or your phone. But the thing is, you’re probably going to run away, right into another security guard and just extend your chase further.

Another terrible goal that’s back from Skate 1 is the follow challenges. Luckily, they added in this flaming path that you can see from a distance, but it’s still a pain. The character will still bail tricks sometimes, and you just need to have perfect reflexes. Half of the pro challenges are just following that pro somewhere.

There are some good challenges too, but first I have to tell you about the worst ones.

Games of skate are back. This is a pro challenge to beat both Koston and Mike Carroll. It’s horrible. Koston has to bail, then Carroll has to bail, before you get a chance to set a trick. In my first attempt, it took over 9 minutes for Koston to bail! Then it took a while for Carroll to bail too.

But I finally got my turn, and ended up bailing. This setup they give you is weird. You don’t start with the same amount of speed every time. You aren’t lined up right, so you have to worry about accidentally grinding the table. So I messed something up before getting them out, and I had to wait out another endless barrage of Koston’s tricks.

I played this event for literally 45 minutes. And eventually lost. I’m pretty consistent at this game, but after 40 or 50 tricks, I’m bound to do at least 5 wrong.

I ended up never beating this one. It’s just not worth the torture.

But this one is so much worse. This is a photoshoot for Thrasher where you do an invert on the backboard of this basketball hoop. You can’t keep unlocking stuff if you don’t beat this one. The game loves making you move stuff around now, so you have to put a quarter pipe under here, then air up and do the invert. So I set up the quarter pipe, added it to my session marker, and get started. Look at that backboard though. It’s glitching out and changing colors. That’s a bad sign.

Even though I’m only pushing and pumping, it never acts the same way. Without moving the ramp, sometimes I’m 5 feet away from it and I land to flat. Sometimes I hang up on it. Sometimes I run right into it. And the longer I go, the more likely I am to run into it. The quarter pipe seems to move a microscopic amount every time you reset. Every 50 tries or so, you have to move it back one step.

I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I would stop and do an invert every now and then to make sure I was hitting the right button – which is R1 – and of course I was. I would get a random amount of air every time. Sometimes I fly right over it, and grind it on the way back down. Why doesn’t that work? I’m in the perfect spot!

After seriously 2 or 3 hundred tries, I looked it up online. And there’s a way to cheat. Here’s what you do. All the way over here, there’s a broken picnic table. Drag it waaay over to the basketball court. Put the quarter pipe on top of it. If you can. It really doesn’t seem to like this too much. But if you can get it set up, all you have to do is invert on top of the quarter pipe. For some reason, that extra little boost in height gets you close enough to the backboard that it counts it! I have no idea why, but I was so happy to be done with it.

Some of the events are improved though, like the contests. In Skate 1, you just had to do get the highest score, basically. But there is a lot more to do this time. There are overall high scores, and best trick rounds, like you would expect, but they mix things up too. There will be a round where only grabs are scored. There will be a round where you have to get the longest grind. In this case, it’s annoying, because of the problem with grinding kinks. It wants to count this as multiple short grinds instead of one long one. But still, it helps mix it up. It’s too easy to win high score contests, because you just do a nollie 360 360 hardflip into a grind and that’s about it.

There is also a menu of bonus challenges here. These don’t affect the game directly, but you can unlock stuff. Some of them are the Rob Dyrdek events. He wants you to have more flair, and he gets you to do gestures while grinding and other things like that. This is when Bobby D was all over MTV, and they just gave him a bunch of pro challenges to take advantage of that.

But the one that’s either really cool, or really terrible, depending on how serious you are about skating, is the Danny Way challenges.

Just like Dyrdek, he has a special icon on the map. If you try to fast travel to him, it just kind of gets you close. You have to hop off your board and go find him perched on top of a ridiculous gap.

These are genuinely pretty tough to do right. They can be a little frustrating actually, because it really pushes the game physics to the limit. At some point, landing right here will make you bail, but 2 inches further is a perfect land. It’s hard to tell exactly what you’re doing wrong sometimes, but it feels good to do these.

The only problem with this, for me, is how far away we’re getting from real skating. Is it possible to do a flip trick off of a building right into a 900? If you had leg muscles of steel, maybe. But nobody will ever actually do it.

This really annoyed me back in the day. The Mega Ramp is real, but the bigger and bigger Mega Parks are starting to get out of control, and they’re pretty important to the game. There are a lot of events based around putting together runs in these parks.

But anyway, if you do enough of these challenges, you’ll unlock some spawn points to play around with. This is really cool. You get a taste of doing these big jumps, and it just makes more of them available to you.

But speaking of unlocking stuff, there are a lot of locations you can buy, like the Mega Compound. You buy this stuff with in-game money, which is cool. It gives you a reason to do more and more in the game.

So you get the cover of the Skateboard Mag, and you make your way up in Thrasher too, and then you finally find out why you went to jail in the first place.

This is the scene of the crime… A giant dam called the MURDER HORN. Apparently you were trying to skate this spot and you got arrested. And you didn’t just get a ticket and 90 days in the slammer, you were in there for years. But you’re ready to try it again!

Here’s the funny thing though. You know how you can call Sammy to drain pools? You call her, pay her 200 bucks, and she drains the entire river!

Your plan is to do a 540 into the dam. It’s easy for a final challenge, as long as you can figure out where to ollie. The game is usually really good about telling you what way to go. But this one just gives you an arrow. If you ollie in and try it, you’ll gap all the way to flat, and that’s not gonna work. You actually have to ollie through this spot. It should only take you a couple tries.

You’re back! You’re on the cover of both magazines, and now all you have to do is film the ending part of your pro video. There’s only one thing to film, and it’s some vert stuff. Luckily I happened to find a halfpipe in the San Van river, and I knocked this out really quick. This probably should have been a little harder, but oh well.

Once you get that, you unlock the training facility of your deck sponsor. You close things out by doing a doubles run with a pro from your team. Here’s Marc Johnson doing an invert, and I air over him.

So you beat the game. Are you done? No. You can go back and clean up the rest of the challenges, like the races and games of skate and stuff, but what you’ll probably want to do is start filming.

Out of the box, the replay editor is basically the same as Skate 1, but with a few more options. You can pick a camera angle and modify it, and cut to different camera angles… but that’s pretty much it.

The game really wants you to buy the filmer pack. And I’m not going to do that again. It’s actually really hard to do at this point, because my PS3 doesn’t see my 5 gHz Wi-Fi, and I can’t run any network cables through my 50 year old apartment. So stay tuned for my Skate 3 review to see more info on how that works, since I bought the pack back when it was new.

These clips are from Kerr AKA Valleyboy, a viewer who provided me some of his clips to show. It gives you an idea of the stuff you can do. You can change lenses, you can add keyframes and actually animate where the camera is, moving from side to side and weaving back and forth. It’s a ton of fun, and I spent so much time on this back in the day. You could also share this stuff online, and upload directly from the game, then share links with your friends. People were editing together montages and putting stuff on YouTube. And this says a lot about how authentic this game feels. You can challenge yourself to doing a certain line or or trick, and it’s really satisfying to put wheels down on it. If you’re like me, just skating around and doing stuff like this is the bulk of the game. The story and pro challenges and stuff are basically side challenges that don’t matter. It’s a huge toybox. Just a place to mess around with your skateboard and a nearly perfect skateboard city.

Something else you could do is play online with friends. I did this back in the day, but I think my internet connection was the bare minimum speed for Xbox Live, and it didn’t work all that great. But people had a ton of fun with that when it was available.

So there’s skate 2 – one of the best skateboarding games ever made, or the best skateboarding game ever made, depending on who you ask. I know I had a lot of minor annoyances and gripes with the game as i played through the career mode, but there’s a couple things to keep in mind first. I’m trying to rush through it so that i can move on to the next project, so that can magnify how frustrating some of that stuff is. And secondly, once you beat the career mode, you have one of the best cities ever designed for skateboarding that you can play around in. So there’s a ton of replay value. A lot of fun to be had with the game for sure. So i would recommend it for anyone who has the opportunity to play it. The ps3 version… probably not the best. There were a lot of framerate issues that I didn’t mention in the review itself. It would be super high when you’re in a tunnel or something, then you’ll come out and suddenly you’re at like 20. It can be pretty disorienting and weird. The 360 version, probably bit better. But it is not backward-compatible on the Xbox one, as of this recording, so you’ll have to have an original system. But no matter how you got to do it, I’d get my hands on this one and give it a try. For the next video in the series, I’m going to review skate 3 and at the end, I’m going to tell you which one was the best. So look forward to that. But in the meantime, here are some more videos that you can check out that YouTube recommends. You can also tap my logo in the center of the screen to subscribe so you can keep learning new things about skateboarding, and you can also check out radratvideo.com, my new hub online that you can check out what I’m doing over there as well. So that’s it for now. Thank you for watching.

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