You ollie off of the rail to finish your line and waiting for you down at the bottom of the stairs, sprinting around a corner 100 feet away, is a security guard. You land the perfect line and all the hopes and desires come crashing down as the security guard smashes into you with the force of ten cars and sends you flying off your board, ruining your score.
That is pretty much the long and short of Skate 2. Filled with plenty of highs and lows, Skate 2 manages to be a great sequel and step forward for the franchise, while remaining firmly planted in the virtual world of games just enough to screw with your high score.
The overall look and tone of Skate 2 is very different than in the first game. Most of the areas from the original were bright and colorful while you spent 2 hours getting the trick just right. In Skate 2, everything is overly saturated and somewhat darker to convey a sense of... darkness. I really can't think of a good reason why it would be so dark; there are no in-game settings to change the video levels, just a few bars that tell you how to adjust your TV's settings for optimal conditions.
Color levels aside, the characters and environments look spectacular, (except for the cars.) The character editor creates a believable representation of you, while all of the pros in the Skate 2 seemed to be mo-capped (motion captured) and had their images and voices scanned into a computer for ultra realism. The way the environments transition from steep mountains to bustling city streets is really smooth and doesn't feel like two places tacked on to one another, even if the framerate is a little erratic at times.
The sound of the wheels clicking over the gaps on tiles or the sound of your trucks scraping against a metal rail as it slides down are impressive to say the least. What really seals it for the audio is the soundtrack. As your score meter gets higher and higher from landing tricks, the music becomes louder and more focused. It is something that it easily missed, but the music sounds like it is playing from a boom box in the world as you start in a new area and as you land tricks, the adrenaline rush focuses in more and more on the music to bring you more in the moment.