There have been a lot of great skating video games released over the years. Here’s a look at the 10 best according to Metacritic.
By Jack Pursey
Published Oct 28, 2020
Despite being a niche sport,?fans can proudly boast that skateboarding has?the best collection of games in the sports genre. This is especially evident on Metacritic as the extreme sport has (spoiler alert) a whopping five games with scores above 90. Two of which are over 95.
The genre was dominated by the Tony Hawk series for many years. However, multiple disappointing releases?culminating in the?disastrous Pro Skater 5?has seen EA’s Skate series take the throne. After years of fan requests, EA finally announced Skate 4?at EA Play 2020.
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News on?Skate 4 has gone quiet, suggesting the game is still at an early stage of development. So, until further information is provided, here are the best?skateboarding games to play in the meantime.
The Skate trilogies middle child had a lot to live up to after EA hit the ground running with the original Skate. Skate 2 was released just over a year after the original but had numerous changes from the original game.
Skate 2 differentiated itself from the first by letting players hop off their board and walk around. While on foot players can reposition objects in the open world, allowing them to create picture-perfect tricks and routines.
A skateboarding game on the Nintendo DS may not sound like a match made in heaven. But Vicarious Visions smashed it out of the park in 2005 with American Sk8land.
Sk8land?was praised for its smart use of the DS’s dual screens, and for making use of the consoles online functionalities. As the name suggests, the game is a portable incarnation of Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. American Wasteland is another great skateboarding game, and only narrowly missed out on this list.
Neversoft didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with Underground 2?and simply kept to the winning formula of previous games. The game’s Metacritic score, which is a fair bit below the best games in the series, is likely a reflection of this lack of innovation.
However, Underground 2 is still an excellent game in its own right and one of the best to revisit retrospectively as it added remastered versions of some of the series’ most iconic stages. Among the game’s limited innovations was the focus ability. This new ability let players slow down time, giving them a chance to perfect tricks and continue combos.
EA captured lightning in a bottle with their first entry into the Skate series. Electronic Arts had made skateboarding games before, most notably developing and publishing Skate or Die! and publishing The Simpsons Skateboarding.?Skate was a significant improvement on those games though, and offered one of the best open worlds in skateboarding games at the time.
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Furthermore, the game?was praised for its excellent control scheme. The analog gameplay, known as Flickit, gave the series its own unique playstyle. This change in gameplay was enough to convince die-hard fans of the Tony Hawk series to give Skate a try.
Unsurprisingly, from this point onwards all games on this list are from the iconic Tony Hawk series. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a fitting way to kick-off the streak as it is a remaster of the first two games.
Developer’s Vicarious Visions?did an excellent job of recreating the levels for the Xbox One, PC, and PS4, giving them all excellent visual improvements. The game proved yet again that consumers are very interested in remasters of their favorite classic titles.?Pro Skater 1+2 is the fastest-selling entry in the Tony Hawk franchise, with a million copies sold in just two weeks.
Despite a change in name from the Pro Skater series, Underground stuck with the series’ main mechanics. There were a few notable new additions though. For example, the player could dismount from their board for the first time. Offering levels of exploration not yet seen in the series.
Furthermore,?the game offered levels of customization that were unparalleled at the time.?Characters, levels, tricks, and much more were all customizable,?offering each player a unique and tailor-made experience.
The game that started it all.?Neversoft?found a winning formula from the word go in 1999 with the original Pro Skater.?The game was praised upon release for its physics, that were highly realistic for the time. As well as an intelligent control scheme, smooth frame rate, and addictive gameplay.
It would be disingenuous to say that the game hasn’t aged considerably since its initial release, and playing the game retrospectively doesn’t live up to nostalgia. However, it still deserves its spot on this list as none of the other games featured would have existed if it wasn’t?for the?revolutionary?Pro Skater.
With the initial trilogy of Pro Skater games releasing to universal praise and success, Neversoft had a tricky task on their hands with Pro Skater 4. Not only did the game have immensely high standards to live up to, but it also needed to innovate to ensure the series didn’t become stale.?As the 94 score will tell you, Pro Skater 4 lived up to the hype.
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Pro Skater 4 differentiated itself from the original trilogy by?offering players more freedom. The career mode removed time limits from its objectives. Giving?players all the time in the world to explore levels and find the best spors to pull off the best?possible tricks.
The final game of the original trilogy only narrowly misses out on the top spot. As the score suggests though, it is certainly no slouch. A 97 Metacritic score puts it on par?with some of gaming’s all-time greats. Such as?GTA 5, Breath of the Wild, and Halo: Combat Evolved.?
The final entry into the classic original trilogy is notable for introducing online play and revert. The revert feature allowed players to pull off far longer and more impressive combos than its predecessors.
Pro Skater 2 is not just the best skateboarding game ever, not just the best sports games ever, but one of the best games ever, period. Its 98 score means that?Pro Skater 2,?along with SoulCalibur and GTA 4?is the joint second-highest?scored game?on the site. The only superior game is?The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?with an incredible 99/100.
Pro Skater 2 is a rare case in any form of media. Where consumers believe that a piece of media is perfect until it is surpassed by its sequel. Pro Skater 2?sacrificed a level of realism for some of the most addictive gameplay in video game history. The game also introduced create-a-skater, a feature that is now synonymous with the series.
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About The Author
(262 Articles Published)
A gamer since the age of 3, Jack is knowledgeable about virtually every genre of video game under the sun. He has a soft spot for platformers and collectathons though, and still hasn’t given up hope of them making a serious resurgence!
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