Black Box’s co-op skating title, Skate 3, is almost here and the good folks at EA Canada invited Co-Optimus out to their Vancouver office earlier this week to check out the game a week before it’s released. Jim and Nick have previously provided impressions of the game from similar events, so what’s different this time around? Well, with the final build of the game in front of us, we were given the freedom to run around, explore, and try out everything on which we could get our hands – from the Skate.park creation tool to the co-op challenges.
When we talk about co-op on this site, we do so from a very specific definition, though we have previously discussed some other forms of co-op, like the idea of social co-op. Skate 3 presents a rather interesting conundrum, as it certainly tends to lend itself more towards the social side of co-op, but it does contain elements that fall within our definition. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. First and foremost, how does the game control?
After the Skate 3 Community Event back in November that Jim and I attended, I was pretty excited to play more. When I got home, the first thing I did was fire up the Xbox and started playing Skate 2. I was, to say the least, a little disappointed by the controls. It’s not that the control layout had changed, but they were definitely not as responsive or good as they are in Skate 3. The folks that I spoke with from EA Canada that had played both games extensively agreed, and added that they had definitely worked on refining the controls to make them a little better this time around.
Additionally, the difficulties in Skate 3 have been tweaked some in direct response to the feedback they’ve received from their community, and now players may choose from three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, and Hardcore. The major difference between each of these levels is how much leniency the game gives the player in terms of the tricks he or she tries to pull off, and how precise players have to be when landing a wicked jump or executing a grind. Hardcore is particularly unforgiving when it comes to executing grind maneuvers. If you don’t have your board position just right when you hit that rail, be prepared to eat pavement.
While there are specific team challenges in the game, many of the other challenges can be done with cooperatively as well
One of the biggest new features in Skate 3 is the ability for a player to create his or her own skate park. In an open-world where players are encouraged to skate or grind on just about everything in sight, the Skate.park creation tool expands upon this freedom by allowing a player to design a place that has the exact set-up of rails, jumps, and half-pipes he or she wants. There are plenty of different ramps, rails, and other skateable items to place around your park, as well as objects, ranging from traffic cones to bottles of Miracle Whip, that you can add to provide some obstacles or challenges to the park. One of the game’s producers also hinted that players may get even more items and objects to place in their parks via future downloadable content.