Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Black Box memorial

Above: You will not do this successfully until your 30th try.

My review of Skate 2 is up now at This is just a good game, well made, accomplishing exactly what it means to. The word of layoffs at Black Box on the very day the game hit store shelves was all the proof you need that there is no underlying logic to this universe. We are all alone.

This is, by the way, an incredibly difficult game. If you're like me and difficult games get your blood boiling, you should be aware of that going in. I'm not saying to avoid it by any means. Just that it might be worth your while to set up a pile of pillows and blankets that you can safely punch after the 50th straight time you fail to defeat Danny Way in the super park. I was so excited when I finally did beat him, only to discover that it was a best 2 out of 3 matchup.

God damn it.


Gary A. Lucero said...

I believe the original Test Drive series (Commodore 64 and Amiga, as well as a host of other platforms) was written by Black Box and released by Accolade. Those were FANTASTIC games! It's sad to see a developer that reached such highs end up with a series of duds and then to be discarded altogether.

Anonymous said...

Everyone I know who bought the game has had a hard time with that exact challenge. It is cruel.

Daniel Purvis said...

@Mitch @Pete Really? I think I nailed that challenge on the third run. As long as you keep that combo meter up and have a good flow it's rather simple to rack in over 20k worth of points, though I'm certain I could push that up to 40k.

The worst challenge I encountered was one of the Rob Dyrdek runs, in which you had to make two grinds, then 360 Flip over a Hubba at the end. The worst thing about the challenge was nailing the last Flip.

I have serious issues with the way the game's challenges are issued. I hate that a screen is displayed saying "You failed, retry?" when it would have been so much more time efficient to just relocate you to the start again and wipe out what you'd accomplished on the bottom right. That way, there's no time lapse and you don't have that five second period in which to hoik the controller.

I must agree regarding the camera options. Considering that THPS (the last game) featured insanely complicated video editing techniques, and the first Skate. offered more, I'm a little pissed to find my options restricted. Although, they've hooked me enough that I did go searching for the additional cameras, was willing to pay money but was pissed to find they're not yet on offer.

Of course, the hardest challenges in Skate 2 are the ones you set yourself but it's so satisfying when you do finally nail that trick. Even if the career campaign is a bitch to work through (and I still haven't unlocked my goddamn Vans sneakers yet!!!) I'm spending nearly three times as much energy working out my own lines than bothering with the challenges.

Sad news for Black Box indeed. I'd like to know who they're keeping on as the core team, though, because it's pretty evident that they're looking at ways to expand on the game via DLC. I can see clothing, shoes, decks, camera functions and additional parks and objects as possible micro-transactions. Surely EA aren't going to cut them off completely ...