Have you ever watched skateboarders trying to perfect a trick? They try the same thing over and over again, five, ten times until they finally nail it. EA's new game skate. is exactly like that. You try tricks over and over, reloading in the exact same spot until you get it. It can be frustrating, but it's satisfying when you finally nail it and get a bit of video to keep.
The innovation in skate is a fantastically detailed physics and control engine. Instead of doing tricks Tony Hawk style by mashing lots of buttons, skate requires you to precisely control two analog joysticks to move your body and board around. The controls feel quite natural, if difficult to master. The physics are quite detailed, too. Your board must have at least 30 simulated surfaces interacting with walls, rails, etc as you grind and pop around.
Most games are very generous with player input; the game tries to guess what you meant rather than doing a literal interpretation of your motions. skate is mostly the opposite. The result is the progress you make in the game as you learn harder tricks is not through virtual powerups; instead you learn better muscle and reaction skills in your hands. It makes gameplay quite demanding rather than a sugary pleasure like SSX, but it's quite interesting.
skate also has a neat video editing feature that makes it easy to share your tricks and bails online. And I like the laid back skater feel of the game, a contrast to the X-treme!!! cop-punching antics of the newer Tony Hawk games. It's fun just to load up and cruise around the town and play with the incredibly detailed physics.