SKATE 3 The latest in a series that's aging just slightly better than The Search for Animal Chin.

THE SKATE SERIES aren't just skateboarding games. Each new sequel is EA shouting, "Skate is not Tony Hawk! We will never stop innovating just to cash in on a brand name every year!" The recent release of Skate 3 makes it evident that sequels are an annual thing, and while that may worry those who've witnessed the glacial improvement speed of EA's Madden football games, Skate 3 more than lives up to its predecessors.

The biggest change from Skate 2 is that Skate 3 is all about skating with others, whether they be computer generated or flesh and blood. The series has always leveraged its online capabilities to let you share gameplay videos, photos, and skate parks with others (all features that make a welcome return, alongside an awesome graphics editor that lets you create custom clothes and skateboards), but now at least half of the game's modes are directly tied to multiplayer functionality, whether it be online racing, trick contests, or cooperative play. Competitive types will love the added multiplayer modes, but those who crave solo gameplay may be pissed that the entirety of the single-player options only amount to around seven hours of playtime.

Aside from that, Skate 3 earns the crown for best skateboarding game available. Graphically, aurally, and gameplay-wise, everything has been improved. The soundtrack has been expanded from Skate 2, with a seemingly increased focus on esoteric rock and mainstream hiphop this time. Whereas the two previous games took place in the fictional (yet unmistakably Southern Californian) city of San Vanelona, Skate 3 has you in the less geographically distinct college town of Port Carverton. The game is a pretty close approximation of everything that makes up the skater lifestyle, only with the new setting comes tons of new turf for longtime series fans to explore.

Even shattering a femur is fun in Skate 3. How many games can you say that about?