When loading up the demo for the first time, I was exposed to a surprising amount of customization. First of all, before you begin playing, you need to clarify your game's settings. The first thing that you need to do is pick your difficulty.
The difficulties are:
Easy: Like Skate 1.
Normal: More similar to Skate 2.
Hardcore: The closest simulation to actual skateboarding to date.
Then you must choose your camera settings. Here they have included a low perspective, and a high one. Having been so used to the low setting, which sometimes made it hard to see obstacles in the first two games, I gave the high view a go.
After playing through, I immediately noticed the difficulty that Hardcore presented. Your skater moves slower, does tricks lower, and much sketchier than you would see in the first two easier modes. I think that is pretty awesome. This adds a new depth of realism to the game that was not present in the first two. It gives the game a better simulation of actually skateboarding, and offers much more excitement when landing your tricks. However, the mode is not perfect, from my first impressions. The skater moves extremely slow. So slow, that it makes the demo goals presented, pretty hard to do. For one of the goals you have to ride off a launch ramp and trigger a bail. With the runup space provided, it is pretty hard to even get off the ramp. In real skateboarding (which I do), you don't have to be hardcore to push fast...
If you were confused when I said that you have to 'trigger a bail' in that last paragraph, allow me to explain. EA Black Box decided to throw in a feature where you can purposely fall off of your board and hurt yourself. This can allow for some laughs, but is overall pointless in my opinion. What is the point of falling on purpose?
Once I got into freeskating I noticed a few things. First, the invisible magnet that is attached to your grinds (meaning that you can ollie far away from the rail, but still manage a grind) is much smaller. You pretty much have to be exact on your ollie, or you are not grinding. This is for Hardcore mode. In the other modes, it is not as bad, but noticeably harder from the other games.
Graphically wise, this game took a similar approach as Skate 2, which pissed me off somewhat. Skate 1 had obviously superior graphics over the second game, which baffles me as to why Black Box did not use the graphical engine from the first game. I can deal with this, but I just wished that the graphics would have turned out nicer.
From my first play, I am impressed with the demo overall. The obstacles were nice, the difficulties were alright (need some tweaking with the speed), and the camera views were cool. My only real gripe were the graphics. I definitely plan on picking this game up.
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