Skate 2 | January 21
There are a handful of demos that I had a hard time deleting off the already pitifully-sized Xbox 360 20GB hard drive. Blitz: The League, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Dead or Alive 4, Stranglehold, Ninety Nine Nights, Lost Planet, or Just Cause 2 were demos that I could pick up, goof around in for a half hour and put back down without a steep time investment. However, one demo stood above them all.
Skate was a game that not only was easy to pick up and play, but if you were willing to invest the time, it proved to have one of the most satisfying skill ceilings in all of gaming to break through. I must’ve spent over 100 hours replaying the Skate demo over the years, trying out new lines, experimenting with new tricks, and seeing how long I could keep that awesome 3x multiplier going which automatically turned up the music and over-saturated the colors to replicate what it was like to be in the zone. Finding that one perfect stair set and hitting it over and over gave me more satisfaction than the entirety of any Army of Two or Splinter Cell: Double Agent demo ever did. In fact, I never even ended up buying the original Skate, because the demo gave me all I needed, but in 2009, I couldn’t help myself when Skate 2 was released.
San Vanelona had huge hills to bomb, mega-ramps to conquer, skate-parks to unlock, and this time, you could walk up that 11-stair if you wanted to. Yet, like the original, nothing was more satisfying than skating around until I found that perfect staircase, setting a respawn point, and just hitting it over and over until it looked right–until it looked clean.
There’s still a fervent fan base out there waiting for Skate 4, but don’t forget that just like that elusive stair set, Skate 2–the pinnacle of skateboarding video games–is still out there. You just have to be dedicated enough to look for it. | Nick Sherman