They tampered with the most important element of the game: the controls. The Flick It moves of Skate 1 all work identically, but the feel is definitely different. I spent countless hours perfecting a realistic style in S1, and even after 3 hours or so of S2 I still feel like I’m starting over.
The replay editor seems tremendously more complex and requires more buttons to get anything done. When you’re trying to film a line in S1 it’s nice to be able to jump in and review different angles immediately; the S2 editor requires you to enter a clip editor and go through another menu to select, adjust, and confirm every angle. Getting back to skating requires at least one or two more button presses than in S1.
The new default camera angle blocks your view less, but looks jerky and much less handheld. And why the “extreme” visual and sound effects whenever you make a big drop, get a ton of speed, or fall? This all makes the game look more cartoonish like the later THPS games, and gets tiring quick when you’re trying a line over and over.
This is a minor gripe, but the movable objects are squeeky clean and almost glowing, ruining an otherwise beautifully grimy environment. I don’t know why they have to stand out because there seems to be only a half-dozen different objects. Having to guess what isn’t bolted down would be a lot more fun.
It may be just the novelty, but new San Van seems enormous and like a real city that grew over many decades without city planning. Knowing the city in S1 pretty well, skating around is almost an eerie experience, like 50 years have passed and entire city blocks have been replaced. Sometimes you can see the seams where new and old coexist. Major streets dead end in new buildings, other areas have been left in blight with graffiti and handrails bent from skating. The sound of the city is nearly inescapable. If new San Van were the only new thing in S2 it would be worth it.
Returning to a session marker is usually instantaneous, and when there is a wait it’s never as long as in S1. Quick access to the trick guide is handy, as is being able to walk up steps (even if it is pretty glitchy). The graphics seem a little more detailed, but I’m playing on a 10″ SD set; I don’t really care. I like the songs so far.
Verdict @ 3 Hours
As I suspected, I should’ve waited for the price drop. S1 is so good that I’m still not anywhere close to tired of it, and its more minimal replay editor lets me quickly stockpile footage on the PC with minimal tinkering. I feared even a slight tampering of the controls would ruin S2 for me, and it kinda did, but I have a feeling the new replay editor will be even more of a drag over time.