Review: Session Skate Sim
Do you know how to do an Ollie? Wanna learn it? If so, Session Skate Sim can make you feel like skating by holding the pad. However, it’s not going to be easy. If you were looking for a real simulator, this one would definitely satisfy you.
Simulating approach to dexterity sports
Skateboard fans have a lot of titles to choose from, thanks to the crop of games about skating. Honestly, I’m surprised with such variety, considering the fact that skateboarding is not particularly a popular sport – it doesn’t match up to soccer or basketball, which get new games every year, like NBA or FIFA series.
Nevertheless, we have a sweet variety of skateboard games. There’s remastered Tony Hawk’s Proskater 1 + 2, which hit the shelves some time ago. Skater XL, and “manually hardcore” OlliOlli World, which is almost perfect – and that’s not all. Also, we have the enigmatic EA’s project titled “skate”, which is still being developed and, of course, the title we’re going to focus on – Session: Skate Sim.
Session: Skate Sim is a flesh and blood simulator, which offers a huge amount of realism, a lot of settings and much more. Despite it being a simulator, it’s not intended for skateboard die-hard fans only. Common players also can have a great time playing it, if they approach this game with an appropriate attitude.
Two legs for two analogues of the pad
Yup, that’s right, Session: Skate Sim has finally been released for game consoles, including Playstation 4/5, Xbox One/X/S. However, if you plan to play it on a PC, don’t even try without a gamepad. That’s because the game offers a unique style of controls, quite similar to Skater XL, which requires analogue sticks.
I have a quick question for game console users: When you activate the running mode of a character, which button do you automatically press? I guess, it’s the right trigger. With Session: Skate Sim it’s one of the habits you need to get rid of, if you don’t want your character to end up lying on the street with the skateboard going into the wild blue yonder. Here, the triggers change the direction of movement, one of the buttons (it’s the X button in case of DualShock) is for pushing, and the analogue sticks answer for the legs’ movement – each leg separately.
If you manage to get the hang of those uncommon controls, you’ll actually see that they’re quite intuitive. Everyone who, at least tried once to do an Ollie in real life, knows that you have to put the back leg on the board’s tail, and then slide the other leg to the “nose”. Of course, it’s all about speed, strength and the direction of pressure – and all such details are well adopted into Session: Skate Sim.
What’s important, unlike in Skater XL, is if you change position (by tapping the trigger two times) and ride in so-called switch mode, the leg placement is going to change too. Sounds complicated? There are two positive outcomes of this. First, if you get used to it, it becomes natural. Second, it’s one of the biggest advantages of Session: Skate Sim – there’s a whole bunch of settings, including controls.
I have to admit, I didn’t expect this game to have so many options. The authors could have easily provided us with a ready product according to their own concept, but it feels as if they gave us a significant part of the developing tools, so we could configure the game the way we would like it to be. It’s up to you, if the clothes or skateboards get damaged, if there are pedestrians on the sidewalks, etc.
Try to get busy
One of the biggest issues I had with the similar Skate XL game, was that apart from doing tricks, there was not much to do. With Session: Skate Sim things get more engaging. The goal is to explore cities (9 maps within New York and 2 in Philadelphia), searching for places to do the most elaborate tricks, and making your ideas come to life.
At the start, the story unfolds. You get approached by the old friend, who remembers the tricks you’ve done together, and now he’s gonna reintroduce to the skateboarding world after your injury recovery. It’s more like a tutorial rather than a story. It’s a pity you can’t freely switch between the lessons and complete them at any point on the map.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get frustrated with, when the simplest moves don’t go as planned but it’s the beauty of this extreme sport – you have to try it out to reach perfection.
Moreover, the authors took care of both daily and weekly challenges, which give you virtual money upon completion. Money can be used for purchasing elements such as clothes for the character or new decks. However, gear upgrades play a more important role – new trucks, wheels, etc. – upgrading those really makes a difference.
Session: Skate Sim – is it worth buying?
The last, but not least advantage is the audiovisual setting. Unlike in Skater XL (which was made with Unity), the graphics and physics of Session: Skate Sim are covered by the Unreal Engine. Thanks to that, the textures and the surroundings look far more realistic. As for the audio, it’s pretty decent. Despite us not having the usual punk-rock skaters’ tracks, as we do in Tony Hawk series, there is still a lot to listen to.
Session: Skate Sim is a wonderful simulator for skateboard fans. If I were to choose between this game and Skater XL, I would go for Session. However, the controls are quite tricky, so don’t expect to get a handle on it in the blink of an eye. All in all, this title is definitely worth buying, I would recommend it to sports game fanatics who are interested in realistic physics.