More than a year ago I penned a metaphor in the pages of Portland's sexiest weekly paper comparing the original Skate to the majestic cheetah. Activision's Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was an ailing wildebeest, I alluded, and EA Black Box's Skate was the speedy jungle cat that ran it down and tore out its throat. I stand by that assertion, but if Skate was a cheetah, Skate 2 is a robotic velociraptor covered in spikes and electricity that chases Activision's lumbering wildebeest, disembowels it, and defiles the corpse in ways both unholy and physically impossible.
Skate's perfectly tuned skateboarding action returns for the sequel with enough additions to choke a fictional cybernetic dinosaur. Players can now leave their boards behind and wander the streets on foot, create and share customized skate parks, record video and take photos of their best tricks (and bails), and spend months exploring the game's ridiculously comprehensive gameplay modes (all of which have complementary online multiplayer).
Special mention goes out to Skate 2's soundtrack. From classic R&B to old school punk and mid-'80s butt rock, even the ironically enjoyable tracks perfectly suit the on-screen action.
If there's one flaw in Skate 2, it's that the game is prohibitively difficult to newcomers. Whereas Tony Hawk players can be quite successful simply mashing buttons, Skate fans must practice and learn the game's nuances to complete the game's quests. Personally, I prefer the more cerebral skateboarding of the EA game versus its competitor, but don't expect your local six-year-old to be wowed.
That said, everything else about Skate 2 is exactly what a skateboarding game should be. The culture, the aesthetic, and the genuine feel of skateboarding are as perfectly represented as they have ever been in any game, and even those without a collection of Bones Brigade VHS tapes will utterly adore this one.