My first skateboard was a Christian Hosoi street board, Slimeball Hairball wheels, and some hand-me-down trucks; I was geeked to be the next king of the streets. One problem ... I couldn't ollie — which is the foundation trick of street skating — and my skateboard career went down in flames. But now, Electronic Arts offers up Skate 2, and suddenly being king of the street is easy.
Skate 2 opens with a premise-defining live-action scene straight from some B-movie: Five years have passed since your arrest at the end of the first Skate and today happens to be your get-out-of-jail date. What happens next? You skate.
But first things first: You get to completely customize your character, choose the sex, facial features, and the clothes and shoes; and there are lots of options to choose from. From there, you get on your board and start winning skate contests and races, documenting yourself hitting crazy tricks that get you into skateboard magazines, all in your bid to reclaim your rep as the skate king (or queen) of fictional San Vanalona.
The controls will be familiar to those who've played the first offering, which is a blessing and a curse. Skate 2 uses the two analog sticks to move and control your skater, which some players may pick up easily. New tricks have been added; the most important is the ability to get off your board and walk up stairs. Gameplay is deep and varied, with the ability to move items lying around the city to create your own "spot," which you can share with the online community. San Vanelona is large, and very much like the open-endedness of Grand Theft Auto — you can spend an entire day putzing around without doing much. Also fun is the "Hall of Meat" where you earn points for cringe-worthy bails that scrape and break your bones.
With tons to do, Skate 2's an immersive experience that fulfills your skater dreams without having to greet the curb face-first.