For the past decade or so, Tony Hawk and Activision were the leading name in skateoarding video games (and perhaps even extreme sports altogether). Occasionally, some other skateboard video games were put out; but met with limited success. Some of these titles include Grind Session (which was basically a Tony Hawk copy), Skate and Destroy (the first title to attempt a "realistic" skateboarding experience), and Andy MacDonald's MTV Skateboarding (which was mediocre at best).

When EA Skate came onto the market, the world of video games (and skateboarding altogether) made a change. How would people react to a new video game about skateboarding after being so used to the Tony Hawk series? This was one of the few questions likely going around EA Blackbox's, Activision's, and consumer minds.

Well, EA Skate (the original) was released a year and a half ago, and there is no denying its greatness. It has really pushed the envelope in the virtual realm. It is amazing how much virtual space is contained on a single disk, actually. It is said that it takes 10 minutes to ride from the top of the virtual city to the bottom. That is an amazing feat in and of itself, and is comparable to the space that RPG's allow such as Eldar Scrolls: Oblivion.

The soundtrack on the game is fairly good. It spreads across many genres, including: rap, hip-hop, heavy metal, symphonic metal, ambient, punk rock, indie rock, rock-n-roll, and such. Interestingly enough, the game's producers had a few instrumental artists create new music for many of the areas of the game. The songs are at heart instrumental and ambient, but they really add some flare to the game.

EA Skate includes a great list of pro skateboarders, including (but not limited too): Rob Dyrdik and Big Black(who doesn't know these guys?), Chris Cole, Chris Haslam, Jason Dill, and such. While there are professionals, the center of the game is about YOU the virtual skateboarder. The story is fairly simple and straightforward, but effective do to the fact that those playing the game are not likely looking for a great story; but great gameplay. It is the simple "rise from the ashes" to stardom story. You complete generally simple goals, acquire sponsors, and unlock new areas to skate.

As previously mentioned in this lense, EA Skate's "flick-it" control scheme is just genious. If the only rating factor was the controls, this game would easily receive five stars. The simple idea of flicking the analog sticks (representing the leg movements of the skateboarder), and using the head buttons (R1, R2, L1, L2) to represent the arms is just so unique. Prior to Skate, skateboarding video games relied solely on button mashing. Now, the gamer can "experience" skateboarding. For those interesting, grinding is now performed simply by jumping onto a grindable obstacle and letting the real-life physics do the job. Pushing the right stick in different directions while grinding will also allow you to do different grind tricks (for example: pushing up on the right stick while grinding will allow the skater to do nosegrinds).

Game Summary:


-"Flick-It controls" are just awsome and make the game unique and exciting to play
-The game is easy to play for beginners, and advanced players will still have something new to do after learning the tricks
-The soundtrack is great and very diverse. Even if you are like me and don't like rap (or any genre), you will still be able to find something you enjoy.
-Great graphics considering the amount of virtual space (10 minutes from top to bottom of the map). It is interesting to see little intricasies like the skaters clothing ruffing in the wind.
-The ability to bomb hills and feel the speed
-The mega ramp
-Security guards and "no-skate" spots


-A weak story (but who really plays sport games for the story?)
-A 20 minute intro that can not be skipped. I play this at my brothers, and having to wait 20 minutes after finally getting to play it was a killer. The intro is good (and funny), but not good enough for me to WANT to watch it when I could (and should) be playing.
-Weak AI. None of the other characters react well. The security guards are amusing, but sometimes really stupid.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars