The Skate Franchise So Far....
The Skate franchise so far consists of primarily 3 games with 1 spin off. These are rightly named Skate, Skate 2 and Skate 3(PS3 and Xbox 360), whereas the spin offs (which appear on the Nintendo Wii and DS consoles) are named Skate It! Compared to the mainstream Skate games, Skate It is about as good as Dragon Quest Monsters, a great series ruins its reputation with a stupid mistake. But that doesn't mean that the rest of the Skate games aren't any good, in fact they are quite the opposite. All three have initiative controls and don't mess about with silly storylines. They are straight to the point and the second game follows the first brilliantly, while still allowing a bit of room to add new and exciting features. This is the main reason why the Skate franchise is so strong.
What's new then?
Skate 3 is not an entirely direct follow up to the previous two so you would expect it to either fail a lot (like Crash of the Titans) or succeed a lot for being just different enough to bring a breath of fresh air into the series (like any Zelda game). This game pretty much beats its predecessors in many ways. Firstly, you have way more control over Hall of Meat, which gives the game a lot of comedy and endless YouTube videos. You can also walk properly now when you are off your board, parts are voiced by Jason Lee and the area that you skate in is much nicer and more skater friendly than San Van.
Another new feature is the new tricks that have been added to the roster. The two most noticeable and probably only are the Darkslide and Underflip. Both of these are just basic add ons to normal tricks (i.e. kickflip underflip) but they also allow for a lot more variety and skill to be shown within the game, especially if you are the kind of player that wants to post amazing videos using the Skate.Reel feature.
Probably the best new feature is the 'Tony Hawk style' area builder. This allows you to do much more than in Skate 2 and even lets you create your own versions of Danny's Mega Ramp or the X-Games. With this tool you can also bring real life skate parks into the game, and if your feeling adventurous, an entire city or town.
So what has gone?
There are only 3 noticeable things that are missing that were in the previous games. Firstly, is the lack of security guards around the area. In the previous games this meant pretty funny escape videos, but now there is no rush of excitement and danger. The second thing that has gone is the offline multiplayer mode. So for anybody without an internet connection, multiplayer is going to be basically impossible. The last thing that has gone is the clunky online play. It is now much smoother and easier to get online and doesn't require you to quit your game and start from the title screen.
So, all in all this game is quite possibly the best game released in the Skate series so far. It has better graphics and colours, can be played by anyone, no matter how familiar you are with the series. If you don't already own this game, buy it now. But if there are some of you out there who are still undecided, download the demo and follow the tutorial in this video, it shows you how to get out of the demo area and explore basically the entire skate 3 world.