November 29, 2022
  • November 29, 2022

An excellent skating game despite its high learning curve

By on September 24, 2022 0

Sessions: Skate Simdeveloped by creā-ture Studios, is a new skateboarding title whose release has been highly anticipated since its demo released in 2017. Many have considered this title to be a spiritual successor to Skate, which pioneered the genre-changing “flick-it” control system of skateboarding via its use of analog sticks to control the character’s feet. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and frequent updates, Sessions: Skate Sim seems like the perfect skating sim for many – but not all.

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Strongly inspired by the skate culture of the 90s, Sessions: Skate Sim is purely about the love of skateboarding. One of the first things players may notice is that there is no scoring system like those found in the Skate Where Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. The start of the game has challenges and objectives to complete, but they’re just there to serve as a fun tutorial before unleashing them into a world meant to inspire creativity.

Related: OlliOlli World Review: A Rad Skateboard Platforming Adventure

What sets this game apart, for better or worse, is how players control the skateboard. Contrary to Skatewhich uses the right analogue stick for tricks and the left for movement, Sessions: Skate Sim uses each analog stick to control their respective legs. This means that to do an ollie the player will hold down the right stick to prepare and pop flicking the left stick forward and vice versa for goofy. With both sticks occupied, movement is assigned to the left and right triggers which represent weight distribution and the thrust is done by pressing a button, the square button in this case.

This control system will be the biggest barrier to entry for players. While it’s a well-thought-out and creative method of skating that adds another layer of realism to the skateboarding genre, it also battles the years of muscle memory players have built up using analog sticks to control. the way a character moves. It’s very hard to adjust to and makes the first few hours difficult at best and infuriating at worst. For players who can adapt, it’s a surprisingly rewarding and satisfying system that’s more complex than it first appears.

One such complex system is how gravity interacts with the analog sticks. For example, the height of an ollie is determined both by how long players prepare for it and how quickly they graze the opponent’s stick, whereas manuals require players to balance the analog stick at half way. The downside to this system is that it’s very easy for the game to misinterpret player input, even with the DualSense’s sensitive haptic feedback features, because analog stick movements can only be so precise. However, a hilarious side effect of this realistic gravity system is that the bane of skateboarders everywhere, grates and gravel, will occasionally throw players off their boards.

Sessions: Skate Sim also boasts having a wide range of customization and that is mostly true. Lack of character customization prevents players from inserting themselves into the experience and is even more limited than the first Skate game from 2007. Instead, most of the customization comes in the form of cosmetics that can be found in the skate shop along with in-game money earned through challenges. The store gives players access to nearly 200 cosmetic items and over 250 skateboard parts that will affect the way it rides. Interestingly, the options menu has by far the most customization of any sports title in recent memory, revealing a host of accessibility options that allow players to adjust things like color filters, controls for pressure, camera placement and severity levels.

With the presence of several pro skaters including Daewon Song and Samarria Brevard, as well as a semi-open world with legendary skate spots like Black Hubbus and FDR Park, Sessions: Skating Simulator is a well-written love letter to the sport. While some may feel let down by the lack of customization and find the controls too difficult to adjust, gamers who love skateboarding and can’t wait to dive into a new skateboarding title will end up feeling right at home.

Sessions: Skate Sim is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch and PC. Screen Rant received a PlayStation 5 download for the purposes of this review.