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Skate It Review for Nintendo DS


Last week, we took a look at Skate It for
the Wii, and found that it actually survived the conversion to weaker technology fairly
well. But what if we go one step further… to the
Nintendo DS? The developers implied that the PS2 wasn’t
powerful enough to achieve their vision, so what about something more on par with a PS1? Honestly, I was not looking forward to playing
this game. But let’s take a look. The graphics in this game are both really
good, and way too bad. When you first fire up the game, it’s very
impressive. Your character looks realistic enough. They didn’t go with the cartoony feel of the
Wii version. Although it would be hard to tell. The animation is very good, and there are
other skaters and even cars on screen. A fact that you will come to hate. The hardware limitations start to show when
you play it, though. With the extremely low resolution of 256 × 192,
it can be really difficult to tell what an obstacle is as you roll up to it. Very frequently I found myself running into
stuff because it’s hard to judge distance as well. And another issue is the textures. Again, for the system, they’re good. But without shadows, or dirt or leaves or
anything, it all looks the same. It’s hard to tell if there are stairs in
front of you. Obstacles sometimes get lost and you’ll
run right into them. The Skate series is all about controls, and
the DS version is no different. On the touch screen, there’s a skateboard. At least, I think that’s what that is. Look at the bolt pattern here. It looks like a skateboard for aliens or something. Was it really that hard to find a real skateboard
to compare with? Anyway, you touch next to the board with the
stylus to push, and tricks are done with various gestures. You might start with a line toward the board
to scoop, then flick outward to flip. It all makes sense. You’ll still find yourself scribbling uncontrollably
and doing random tricks half of the time, but in theory it works. You can also do grabs with the shoulder buttons
and you steer with the d-pad. In career mode, you have a few types of events. There are film challenges, games of SKATE,
checkpoint challenges, death races and own the spot challenges. Every last one of them has a major flaw. Let’s take a look at them. –wait, that’s called the taco? I thought it was the wave? The film challenges are pretty simple. Do X number of grinds or grabs or whatever,
and get a certain score total. This is familiar from other games in the series. The tragic flaw is the restart time. If you bail, the challenge is instantly lost,
and you have to wait for a while to reset, then you have to hit the film button, then
wait for a countdown where you automatically stop, then you can go again. Then you’ll do a random nollie heelflip. The game will very frequently draw a line
between when you hit the film button and when you start to push. I have no idea why. But get used to it. Own the spot is simple. Just get a high score on a certain object. The difficulty varies, but it’s usually
not that bad. The console version of the game has an ‘own’
and ‘kill’ score level, if you want an extra challenge. That’s missing from this version of the
game, although I don’t really mind. The actual challenges themselves are fine,
but the lack of control precision can cause issues. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Next are the games of SKATE. Probably the worst part of the game. And there are tons of them. You’re dropped in front of a gap of some
kind, and you have to set and match tricks just like a normal game of SKATE. The only difference is that the rotation direction
doesn’t matter. But I can understand that given the general
audience of this game. These games are more tedious than difficult,
but there is a bit of an unintended challenge at times. In some games, you’ll have tons of air time,
letting you do 360s, 540s, and 720s. Add in every trick in regular and nollie stance,
and you have quite a few tricks you can do without repeating. And it’s easier to stump your opponent with
a huge rotation. But other times, it’s a small gap with only
enough room for a 180. That cuts the number of tricks down substantially. Doing all the regular tricks with a 180 just
isn’t enough to score a letter. You’ll end up playing for 10 or 20 minutes
just doing everything you can think of and hoping that the computer player will mess
up. Another unintended obstacle is the imprecise
timing. You get just enough room to push a couple
times, then you have to do the trick right away. The problem is that the different tricks have
different times to draw, and you have to pause over the board for a second to get the right
amount of pop. And sometimes, the line you draw skips and
restarts, making you do the wrong trick. That’s a major problem in a game of SKATE. In this one game, there were a few glitches
too. Grabs don’t seem to count, and Ollie rotations
only work sometimes. Next is the checkpoint challenges, which is
the REAL worst part of the game. There are gates spread out through the level,
and you have to race to get through them all first. In addition to the control issues, you’ll
run into a new frustration: locking into grinds. Snapping onto rails automatically is nice
in general. It helps overcome the imprecise steering,
but it will be your worst enemy here. Sometimes in these races, you have to ollie
over something, and 85% of the time, you’ll lock into a grind, then just get stuck. It’s a RACE. You don’t have time for that. And the races are really long. This first one is just under 2 minutes for
a winning run. There are a ton of opportunities to get stuck
on stuff in 2 minutes. Just like the games of SKATE, this is just
another tedious chore to get through. You know what’s even worse? The death races. You thought the checkpoints were bad? Try one of these. There are fewer Ollies and accidental grinds
to worry about, but you have a fresh frustration: the other racers. These guys are completely scripted, meaning
they’ll do the same thing every run, including the places they fall. The EXACT same thing, meaning there’s no room
for any collisions. When you run into them, you either stop dead
or bail, and they continue on exactly the same as they always do. They’ll even teleport into your path when
they reset and make you fall. This is a race. You can’t get way ahead of them to make space,
and if you let them get ahead of you, you’ll lose. So you end up retrying a million times, just
hoping that you’ll randomly get through without a collision. And you will. But it’ll take a while. Unfortunately, the game really loves these
races. It’s the only way to get a wheel sponsor. You know how much Jake Brown and the Ricta
team love to race down hills. There are also contests in the game. By far, the absolute worst event is the best
trick. Let me show you why. I almost gave up playing this game when I
reached this part. It took me forever to get a decent trick in. Whew, okay, I finally made it…What? Round 2! … Luckily the frustration depends on the
spot they choose to put you in. A handrail isn’t that bad because everyone
is going in the same direction. The jam events are pretty much the same. You can easily run into people, but they’re
more spread out and going different directions. You’ll end up losing your line fairly often,
but in the end, it doesn’t really make a difference. You see, the designers knew that this was
a problem, and they had an ingenious solution: make all the goals really easy. With the best trick contest, it’s really
not all that hard to get a winning score. They know you’ll waste most of your time
being run over. But this doesn’t really work in some of
the more open areas. The final contest in the game is incredibly
easy. I won first try by a large margin even though
I bailed a bunch of times. It’s just that I didn’t run into anybody. One last contest event is the mega ramp. Luckily you only need one good run, because
it’s really tough to get in a clean one. The timing is really difficult with the stylus
controls. When exactly does he pop? How far, exactly, does the line have to travel
outside of the board to trigger the trick? When you’re flying toward a ramp at 40 miles
per hour, you really need precision. So now you just have to try a hundred times
until you fluke your way into a clean run. Now that’s how you design a game. A did a couple of film challenges, and next
thing you know… I’m skater of the year. You get this screen, and you’re done. There are some levels that I only did one
event in, and some that I never went to at all. I could go back and complete all the challenges
I skipped… But why bother? My entire play time of the game was 2 hours
and 35 minutes. That’s it. I completed 56 events, at an average of 3
minutes each. At the time, I would say this game was probably
pretty great. The graphics are pretty good, it plays well,
and there are a lot of levels to explore. The problem is that every challenge is terrible. It’s a chore. Every time I saw a new checkpoint challenge,
or a death race, or… anything, I just had to grit my teeth and get it over with. Once you unlock everything, you could go free
skate stuff, and even watch replays. The level design is good, and the load times
are really short, so it’s not a problem to jump back and forth. I would love to see an updated version of
this. There are some good tablet games right now,
but I would love to see a well animated 3rd person game with film challenges and things
like that. Now, there was an iOS version of Skate It,
but I only have Android stuff, so I haven’t had a chance to try it out. Is Skate It for the DS worth it? Well, you can buy it for about 2 to 5 dollars. Keep in mind, that’s about 100 square feet
of True Skate. So if you still rock a DS, give it a try….? It’s an okay way to kill time. What about you? Have you played Skate It? I’d especially love to hear about the iOS
version. How does that stack up to the current batch
of tablet skateboarding games? Let me know. Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed the video, you can hit the
YouTube ‘like’ button, and you can subscribe below. After that, I picked out a couple more videos
that you might like. A review of True Skate, the game I mentioned
earlier, and my latest from the Shred School: a trick tip on how to bigspin.

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