Every year, I’d wait for the leaves to change and the latest installment of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to release. To be honest, my parents wouldn’t know it, but it became a tradition for me to skip school, walk to the mall and pick up the latest game. It was never a realistic look at the art of skateboarding, but it was definitely entertaining.
And then Skate was released, which changed skateboarding video games forever.
Skate changed the way many viewed the sport. In fact, to this day, Skate 2 holds a similar nostalgia for skateboarding fans as NCAA Football 14 does for many football gamers. It was everything we always envisioned in a skateboarding video game and finally it came to fruition. Skate 3 would be the last in the series before EA would eventually close down EA Black Box. Nevertheless, the hope for another simulation skateboarding game was just that, a hope.
And then came news of crea-ture Studios’ skateboard project, Session.
A New Era
Developed by crea-ture Studios, Session released on PC through Steam’s Early Access on September 17. To get right to the point, if the early build is anything like the the final release, the game should give skateboarders everywhere hope for the future of skateboarding video games.
The first thing you notice with Session is the controls, which are unlike anything we’ve seen before in a skateboarding video game. Yes, Skate brought realism to the video gaming world, but what Session has done is take that one step further. Instead of being able to do tricks with the flick of the analog stick, you must now use both analog sticks cohesively to pull off even the simplest of moves.
In crea-ture’s skateboard simulation, the left analog stick acts as the left foot and the right analog works as the right foot. This can be difficult at first, but once you get the art down it’s as rewarding as ever. It adds a completely different approach to video games, and makes skating goofy or switch that much more difficult. In fact, it brought me back to my childhood when I first learned how to kickflip in the grass at my neighbor’s house. It may be a bit crazy to say, but Session might be the truest representation of the sport.
Lights, Camera, Action
In other skateboarding games, being able to record lines and big tricks was part of what made the games so much fun. Sure, there was a career mode with several objectives to achieve, but what kept bringing me back again and again were the endless opportunities to skate through the virtual city and perform realistic lines of my own. Session takes this to the next level and gives gamers the ability to film their best lines and tricks like never before.
It isn’t flawless, and I’m sure it’s something the developers are trying to perfect with the final build, but it gives you the ability to create videos like never before. This, like the controls, is a learning process. However, once you have the ins and outs mastered, you can find yourself getting lost for hours in the deep video editors and endless possibilities.
There are plenty of areas throughout the world that are well known for their skateboard history. Carlsbad, Barcelona, Love Park, El Toro, Wallenburg, Macba, the list goes on and on. However, one of the most iconic spots is New York City, and the developers at crea-ture have done a fantastic job of capturing everything about the iconic skate scene.
Skating around town looking for ledges and stairs takes me back. And once you find the perfect set, you start to look for ways to add to your line. This is the beauty of Session, of skateboarding. As your trick set continues to evolve, so do the endless possibilities throughout the city. I have gotten lost for hours trying to pull off the perfect line, and hours more just trying to think of new ways to approach a set of obstacles.
Skate Or Die
In the end, Session brought me back to my childhood. It made me feel like a kid again, trying to express myself freely through the art of skateboarding. Now that I’m older, skateboarding isn’t the same. My body aches, the tricks don’t come nearly as easy, and worst of all, I just don’t have the same kind of passion I once did. All of that was brought back through Session. I never thought a video game could capture the art of skateboarding like the Skate or Thrasher games of old. And yet, here we are.
If you’re a skateboarder or just someone who enjoys a realistic representation of the sport, crea-ture’s adaptation is like a perfectly executed kickflip landed perfectly on the screws. It’s not perfect or easy, but once you figure things out, it’s damn near perfect. I truly can’t wait to get my hands on the final build.