If you can put up with the frustrating controls you'll find that Skate It is a little bare bones in the features count. Once you've created your skater, male or female, the career mode is where you'll spend most of your time. Here you start off as a lowly skater in the fictional city of San Vanelona, which has been riddled with more disasters than Newcastle United Football Club. It's deserted, which allows you to skate about uninterrupted with pro-skater Giovanni Reda filming and snapping your exploits (you never actually see him, but you constantly hear his annoying voice throughout). As you complete the various challenges on offer, which are all trick-based, you'll gain respect and end up warping to various cities across the world, like London and Paris (also mysteriously deserted), and meet up with real life professional skaters who set you increasingly difficult challenges.
Skate It carries with it the subtlest whiff of open world gameplay. You're able to warp at any time to any of the game's zones via a world map, and then skate about each zone in a freestyle sense, ignoring the challenges and just having fun exploring the nooks and crannies of each spot. But if you want to progress in the career mode and climb the ladder to full sponsorship and recognition in Thrasher Magazine, you'll have to complete the game's challenges to unlock new ones and new areas. So, essentially, Skate It provides a number of predetermined challenges cleverly disguised as sandbox gameplay.
Beyond the career mode, there's a Freeskate option, which allows you to, as you'd expect, freeskate around the various spots with the skaters you've unlocked via the career mode, a My Spot mode, which is a basic spot editor of sorts, and a Party Play mode that allows for two to four local players to pick from four challenges: Best Line, Best Trick, Hall of Meat (perhaps the best one - you've got to cause as much damage to your skater as possible - a bit like PAIN on PS3) and Best Time. While this is fun, the lack of any online multiplayer seems like a real oversight, one especially glaring when you consider that online competitive multiplayer is in the DS version of Skate It.
Usually graphics and audio are among the best things about EA games. Unfortunately that's not the case with Skate It. The environments are barren and full of horrible textures and the skaters are deformed (our female skater had ridiculously disproportioned long arms and huge hands). On the plus side, the trick animations are solid. The track list is a mixed bag, with some decent classic ska and hip hop spoiled by some awful nu-metal punk rock. The sound effects, though, are excellent, with weighty grinding and board landing noises. You'll wince, too, when your skater lands in a crumpled heap from a particularly brutal crash.
Skate It is better in theory than it is in practise. We can forgive the awful Wii Balance Board controls because you're not forced to use Nintendo's Wii Fit peripheral to play the game. But we just can't get away from the fact that EA's focus on creating a hardcore skater sim has resulted in a frustrating experience, for no other reason than the Wii itself isn't built for that kind of game. You might say practice makes perfect, but when it's this difficult, practising is too much of a chore. Unless you're willing to put up with the game's control flaws, you're better off waiting for Skate 2 to come out next year.
VideoGamer.com Score5 Score out of 10
- Decent tracks and sound effects
- Graphics are rough
- Balance board play is awful
- Motion sensing control isn't accurate enough