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Critical Reception: Electronic Arts'  Skate 3

Critical Reception: Electronic Arts' Skate 3

May 12, 2010 | By Danny Cowan

May 12, 2010 | By Danny Cowan
More: Console/PC, Columns

This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to EA's extreme sports sim Skate 3, which reviews describe as "the next best thing to real skateboarding." Skate 3 currently earns a score of 84 out of 100 at

1UP's Cesar Quintero gives Skate 3 an A grade. "At first glance the latest Skate installment can easily evoke nostalgia," he says. "The series' recurring flick-it controls, low-angle camera, and penchant for handrail-strewn environments suggest that Black Box subscribes to the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' school of design, a strategy that would still satiate audiences were it all that Skate 3 accomplished."

"Instead," Quintero continues, "this latest chapter improves on virtually every aspect of its near-flawless fundamentals, while delivering more modes, missions, and multiplayer components, proving to fans that its days of resting on its laurels aren't here quite yet."

Many familiar series elements have been refined in Skate 3. "The real accomplishment is in the fluidity of the game as a whole," Quintero notes. "From dropping-in and super-ramps to jogging up stairs and repositioning park benches, the entire experience feels like one uninterrupted action, and anything you do, short of pressing the guide button, is there to further the feeling of freely sessioning your favorite skate spot."

The environments are similarly polished. "The real star of the show is the newly fashioned Port Caverton, an amalgamation of reality inspired spots, and creatively concocted terrain," Quintero says. "Through an improved eye for layout and an exceptional set of realistic runs, Caverton makes for an even more authentic metropolitan skating experience than either San Vanelona or its reinvented counterpart."

"Between the consistent improvement of the game's core concepts, and the Black Box's encouraged experimentation, Skate remains in a genre all on its own," Quintero concludes, "but only time will tell if continued re-iteration will cause this still fresh series to stagnate."

Nick Ahrens at Game Informer rates Skate 3 at 8.75 out of 10, calling it "the next best thing to real skateboarding."

"I have to hand it to EA and developer Black Box," he says. "They've once again delivered a game that serves up dish after dish of the thing that makes a good game so addicting: gameplay. Building off the momentum of two previous releases, Skate 3 incrementally adds to the formula with a new career style, park editor, and a few new tricks for good measure."

The new career mode introduces a number of welcome innovations. "Instead of following the tired idea of being a pro that's building up a career and sponsors, players assume the role of a new skateboard company owner," Ahrens explains. "There are a few breakout features that make Skate 3 stand out -- most notably in the online component."

Ahrens continues: "Not only can players join other companies online, there are full stats, player profiles, and even job-specific roles like street skater or filmer. You can also earn board royalties if other people download your custom content like videos, images, and parks."

Skate's core gameplay remains solid. "I think Skate 3's biggest strength is its ability to deliver smooth, fun gameplay that fits like a glove," Ahrens writes. "New tricks like the underflip and darkslide throw in a little flair. If you're a fan, Skate 3 is a sure thing; if you're just starting out, it's even better."

"While this third entry makes no remarkable changes," Ahrens admits, "consistency is a good thing in this case, rewarding dedicated players of the series."

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann gives Skate 3 4 out of 5 stars. "Skate 3's offline portions feel flat and sterile," he notes, "but its deeper online focus helps bring more meaning to every facet of the game."

According to Gerstmann, Skate 3's online modes will appeal most to longtime series fans. "The online side of Skate 3 is clearly where the developers spent the bulk of their time," he writes. "The online play weaves in and out of the career mode, with most of the game's goals being offered in a cooperative online form, as well as their offline counterpart. So if you're really stuck on something, you can always call in a little help."

Gerstmann continues: "All in all, the most interesting thing about the way the online is built is that it really feels like a game that rewards community effort, rather than just setting up a spot for experts to tear your punk-ass apart at every turn. Of course, that side is still in there, too."

Offline, however, the experience suffers. "Most of the game's career mode challenges are much easier when compared to the past games in the series," Gerstmann warns. "Things like playing games of S-K-A-T-E and forcing you to do extremely specific tricks are practically gone from the game, at least until you set out to start 'killing' the game's challenges by performing more than the bare minimum."

"The whole game feels like a big funnel, designed to get players onto Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, where they can mix it up in a ton of different ways," Gerstmann says. "But that funnel has left the game's story and career feeling stripped and more insignificant than previous Skate career modes. The gameplay is as sharp as ever, but depending on what keeps you coming back to the series, you might not be as thrilled with the direction in which the series is headed."

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