Session: Skate Sim is a True Skate Game

Image+Courtesy+of+Crea-ture+Studios

Image Courtesy of Crea-ture Studios

Gabriel Cabello Torres, Technology Editor

Skaters and gamers alike have fallen in love with skating games like EA’s Skate and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. While the community waited for Skate 4, a remastered version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 was released, as well as SkateXL; a new and worthy contender in the realm of skating games.

This month a new skate game competitor will be seeing a full release on all platforms on Sept. 22, 2022. This game is Session: Skate Sim, a project that has been under continuous development since 2015. This game stood out from the games previously mentioned. It wasn’t cartoonish like Pro Skater, nor did it feature an arcade-like point system like Skate. In my curiosity, I purchased the game for $25 on Steam, installed it, and started playing the game with an Xbox controller.

The best part about this game is that it produces the same effect as picking up a skateboard for the first time. There’s excitement, there’s ambition, there’s determination. However, five minutes into it and there’s that disheartening realization that you just suck at skating…for now. I had the same experience with Session: Skate Sim (SS) controls. In other skate games, except for SkateXL, you only need to worry about one joystick to make tricks. Managing two sticks to try different tricks was a hassle, especially since the inputs need to be precise for the tricks to work. 

A screenshot of the tricks guide in Session: Skate Sim (Gabriel Cabello Torres)

The core of the game’s difficulty is due to its physics. It is way more dynamic and realistic than any other skate game I’ve played. Everything plays a role here, including the speed at which you are skating, how fast you flick your joysticks, and the angle from which you approach rails and ramps. Sometimes you’ll get the inputs you want and sometimes you’ll end up cursing at the game out of bitter frustration. 

Doing a pop shuvit, landing a grind on a rail, then popping out of it with a kickflip in SS was easily more satisfying and thrilling than getting a 30,000+ point streak in Skate 3. The former requires so much more effort, focus, and coordination, which makes achieving a “simple” line of tricks like that much more exhilarating.

Despite the swear-inducing difficulty, it’s really easy to get lost in a near-maniacal obsession with choosing a great spot to complete a trick. That’s the inherent beauty of street skating: any urban area can easily be turned into your playground for tricks. SS brings this out exceptionally well, especially considering it’s inspired by the golden era of skating, the 1990s. There are iconic locations to skate in, from New York to San Francisco. The worlds are both expansive and beautiful. There are a lot of spaces to explore that offer a rich variety of environments to do great tricks in. The game is built on the Unity engine, and everything from the graphics to the sound design is nothing short of phenomenal.

The customizability of SS was easily one of the things that won me over. Being able to adjust the camera angle with several different parameters helps cater to every player’s specific preferences. One of the other great features is how much you can change the appearance of the game. With a few specific adjustments, you can make the game look exactly like a 90s skate film. The camera angle isn’t the only thing that can be adjusted; the overall physics of the game can be tweaked as well to allow higher ollies.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the game has to be the community that surrounds it. It has gained a loyal following over the past couple of years, and developers are constantly taking feedback and providing updates on the game. It’s not just another skating game; it’s a game made by skaters who have a passion for the culture and the sport. The fact that this game has been released on Steam as early access since 2019 for the sole purpose of making sure it’s a game that the community loves speaks volumes about how in-touch the devs are. You can expect nothing less than a great experience for the full release.

Currently, the game has early access on Steam and game previews on both Xbox and PlayStation. It’s set to have a full official release on Sept. 22, 2022.