SKATE - updated impressions

The camera is a key departure. In Tony Hawk, you fly through the world at high-speed, so it's a relief that the camera hangs back. Problem is, it makes landing a jump down a small set of stairs feels detached and dull. SKATE aims to make simple tricks feel satisfying via a closer-in, skate video-style camera, which follows the player's line. Expect to see plenty of real-life follow-cam techniques - tracking things up close and low, with the odd bit of sexy slow-mo to showboat any sickness.

Imagine an enhanced version of "Nail the Trick" mode in Tony Hawk's Project 8 to grasp its impact. And, when that's done, you can save and edit any in-game footage to concoct your very own demo reel to share with the world - a neat parallel of the booming DIY real-life skate video scene on YouTube, and perfect for the PS3 Network.

Your powers of expression start with the pad. Tricks are completely analog, defined by your sense of control rather than chains of button presses. The right stick controls your board and the left stick your body - with the aim to create fluid movement a bit like Fight Night's Total Punch Control. So to ollie, you'd snap the right stick down, then up - then use left stick to rotate in mid-air and do spins. To do flip tricks, you move the stick at a diagonal, and then the same principles apply. Grinds and rail slides are equally intuitive. Like real-life, you just need to align carefully and wait for the board to make contact - then use the left stick to keep your balance. You can even "tweak" grinds mid-flow.

If you roughhouse with the sticks, then you'll have a ham-fisted, aggressive kind-of style. If you're smooth, then you'll be flowing and fluid. The key word is expression rather than high score chains. Other aspects are more familiar, though - you'll have a "Spot Bible" that marks out the key landmarks across the city that'll reap you respect, and each is accompanied by a short trick list of increasingly difficult maneuvers you can choose to perform.