Rory Galvin revisits a beloved, glitchy mess
I never had the chance to play Skate 3 when it was new. Instead, I watched countless YouTube videos of people messing around in online multiplayer and doing things that looked far too exciting for my little brain. By the time I got to it, the servers had been closed. Skate as a franchise has never lost relevance: there are countless fans begging for a sequel. So, with a new title finally on the horizon, let’s see what made the third entry in particular so special.
Skate became known as the Tony Hawk killer. As that series became worse and less innovative with each entry, Skate entered the game with a unique control scheme and presentation that caught the attention of everyone. The majority of the tricks you pull off using the right stick on your controller; it takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s thrilling to do even the most basic moves. It felt like a natural extension of my hands, like a digital Tech Deck - each finger controlled a different limb as I learned to become a pro skater.
Skate 3 takes place in the hugely-detailed open world of Port Carverton. The entire goal of the game is to sell skateboards by making yourself more popular. There’s skate competitions, races, owning spots and even filming fisheye lens-style videos with the pros. The best thing about it is you can tackle these objectives in any order you’d like, it’s entirely open and there’s nothing like a story to get in the way. The game does not pretend to be anything other than a sandbox - you get your objective at the beginning and are thrown in to discover everything for yourself, and it felt amazing to do just that. I’ve spent countless hours finding new skate spots or placing props down to make my own - the replay feature allows you to make cool clips so naturally you want to show off. Just existing in the world is fun, even to this day.
The bugs and glitches present in the game are more charming than frustrating. Sure, your character can randomly freak out a bit, which can ruin a combo - but this only further allows a freedom of expression by the player. All you have to do is look at YouTube to see what exploits have been found, things like speed boosts and out of bounds glitches only give more longevity and value to the game.
Clearly, the demand for a new Skate game has finally been heard, we had a taste of it when the servers for this game were switched back on, albeit missing a few features such as the clan-like Teams system. This means you can’t get every achievement available, but the chance to skate with your friends again is fantastic.
If you haven’t played the game before or want to revisit it, the best way to do it is through backwards compatibility on any Xbox. The PlayStation 3 version is fine (and I’m obsessed with trophy hunting), but the frame rate and resolution improvements make the game much more accessible today. Let me know if you pull off the double bridge gap!