I just read an interesting post by ars technica's Ben Kuchera. He was fortunate enough to get some balance board game time with Skate It at this year’s PAX (Penny Arcade Expo). The bottom line from his point of view – "I'd rather be playing with a standard controller".
Up until now we've seen a lot of positive feedback for Skate It's balance board controls, but as more people get hands-on with this game the more we'll start to see opposing opinions. While I don't see Ben's comments as a major blow for this game, he does make some interesting comments firstly with regards to the steep learning curve. According to the EA rep, "it takes about fifteen minutes to learn to do it okay, and a few hours to really nail the tricks".
This is understandable considering the innovative way in which the balance board is zoned for different tricks but for gamers hoping to just jump on and skate and do tricks without too much effort, this is obviously going to be a negative factor. For balance board fans however, I think it's a small price to pay for the kind of realism that this game promises.
Another interesting comment was this – "The game did feel like an oddly effective workout, however, as the muscles on my lower legs started to burn during my fifteen minute demo". Now there's a real bonus or for some, or a real turn-off for others depending on what you want out of the game.
One comment he made that I don't entirely agree with was "Skate It seems to use the Wiimote and balance board because it can" which seems to imply that balance board support was kind of an afterthought. I really do feel that EA developed this game specifically for the balance board and that they have really gone out of their way to be innovative in its use. Of course time will tell, but despite some negative impressions I think EA Skate It is still set to be one of the top balance board games of 2008.
You can read Ben's full post here.