In fact, Stoked's control scheme seems very much inspired by Skate, albeit without the more complex thumbstick movements. Both jumping and tricks are mapped to the right stick, with grabs executed by holding one or both trigger buttons. Aside from the occasional "shoulda-been" landing, we largely found the controls responsive and physics convincing; the only notable exception comes with the trick competitions, which take place in tight, roped-off areas. It's not hard to lose momentum by crashing in these areas, and recovering on a flat plain can be an exercise in futility. We even got stuck between a rock and a hard place (well, a particularly sturdy fence) in one competition and had to start over a couple times.
Stoked's online approach takes a cue from Shaun White, allowing players to easily swap between campaign challenges and riding against others, and the races we would've liked to see offline actually appear on Xbox Live, along with trick-based events. Actually finding seven other players to ride against on a regular basis has been a challenge, but that may be an unfortunate consequence of Stoked being a little-hyped budget ($40) release. Please buy this and meet us on the slopes.
Other low-budget signifiers include some bland-looking riders and effects, not to mention few "known" artists on the soundtrack. But in the areas that really count – offering a compelling, substantial simulation of the sport – Stoked is the best option for virtual powder fiends we've seen in some time.
Mar 4, 2009