At its unveiling, Skate It was touted "not built from the ground up for Wii" by its dev team -- an odd way of stating the obvious fact that they are simply building on the core gameplay of Skate, while destroying the gameworld. Wait ... what?
Some, EA included, may say it's a stylistic decision to "clear out" the city of San Vanelona (also the setting for Skate) by means of natural disaster; to make it a skater's paradise devoid of pesky pedestrians. We say it looks like it's been done for purely technical reasons; i.e., getting the same open world up-and-running on Wii. Still, the focus should be, and is on the skatin', and not unnecessary hardware hatin'.
"We weren't popping ollies with excitement over the game's looks."
While we weren't popping ollies with excitement over the game's looks -- which aren't even up to snuff with, say, the later Tony Hawk's Pro Skater installments on PS2 -- the simple, no-Nunchuk motion control had us smitten. Within only a couple (not even a few) minutes of getting our hands on the Wiimote, we were tooling around the demo area with surprising ease and accuracy. Ollies, nollies and manuals were pulled off with simple flicks and tilts of the Wiimote, and we even managed to land from an ollie into a manual while moving on our first try -- something that couldn't be said about, well, any other skateboarding game.
There is, of course, Wii Balance Board support pegged for the final version of the game, but it was not available for feet-on play. As it was demo'd by an EA staffer, however, we saw pretty much what you'd expect: shifting your balance to the left and right initiates turns, while back and forward tilting launches manuals.
EA claims that it went through several possible control schemes before settling on the present one, and we're glad the others got kicked to the curb. As it stands, Skate It's control is one of the best gameplay implementations of the Wiimote yet.