Stand aside Tony Hawk
After eight years of chart-topping Tony Hawk games - and dozens of pretenders to the throne that aped the series' lightning-paced arcade action - only a complete reinvention of digital skateboarding would be enough to topple Activision's groundbreaking series. And in EA's ambitious Skate, the chairman of the board has finally met his match.
While on first impressions Skate looks like a traditional Hawk game, what makes it a revelation is its deep and intuitive controls; while skateboarding games normally see players hammering buttons and direction
pads to unleash tricks, all Skate's moves are unleashed using the controller sticks and triggers, with player movement mapped to the left stick while the right controls how you flip your board.
As the game unfolds, holding down the right stick or nudging it in different directions allows you to master dozens of tricks without memorising tedious, Mortal Kombat-style button combos, while a gentle tap on the triggers also allows you to grab your board while in the air, making it a cinch to perform hair-raising stunts and allowing players to think like a real sk8ter boi.
Ham-fisted and impatient players will doubtless find the steep learning curve a chore - especially as many of the tricks use similar nudges and flicks, making it easy to perform the wrong trick at the wrong time -
while the game's oddly mundane challenges and tedious loading times only
serve to undermine its dexterous achievements. But as the first entry in a series that's sure to run for years, Skate takes giant steps in redefining console skateboarding and is a new benchmark for other genre titles to aim for.