Over the last few years, gamers have had to search high and low if they wanted to play a new skateboarding video game. They were extinct, much like the dinosaurs thousands of years ago. But now, with every passing day, it seems like a new skateboarding game is being developed.
One of those games is crea-ture Studios’ Session. I first previewed Session back in November when it was in early access on Steam. I had a lot of positive things to say about it, so now that it’s in the same sort of early access now on Xbox One, I wanted to check back in and see how it’s doing. On top of that, I want to say that both previews are worth reading. I talk more about the gameplay itself and how it vibes with me in the initial preview, so this is more to update the progress of the game in some ways.
Realistic Gameplay And Locations
Like the PC version, Session is one of the most realistic representations of the art of skateboarding. And although I’m a huge Skate fan and still believe that’s the best skateboarding series to date, what Session brings to the table seems very familiar — in a good way, of course.
For those who have played the PC version, you know that the left analog controls the left foot and the right analog controls the right foot. This makes for one of the most realistic control schemes you can have on a controller. Just pulling off kickflips and 360 flips feel incredibly rewarding, and to master the controls players will need to invest a little bit of time.
In comparison to the early access version I last previewed, Session now has five unique and realistic levels to select: Crea-ture Park, Chatham Towers, Underground Parking, Pyramid Ledges and LES Coleman Park. Each one of these areas allows users to let their creative minds run rampant. Prefer to create lines at the local skate park? Crea-ture and LES Coleman Park are for you. Want to skate endless hubbas? Hit up Chatham Towers.
Even more areas would be ideal, which brings me to one small gripe. One of the hardest things to do in Session is find a way to get from one area to another. Thankfully, crea-ture included an option that allows you to find your desired skate spot with the click of a button.
Lastly, a lot of Session skate spots are mirrored after real-life skate spots, and for me they brought back memories of Baker 2G and Blind Video Days.
What We Still Need
You have to give credit where credit is due, and crea-ture has done a great job in implementing so many of the little things we love from previous skateboarding games. Some of those things include realistic gameplay, an intricate control scheme, and the ability to move objects around to create the perfect skate set up. But there’s still some fine-tuning that can be done.
The first thing on my wishlist is having the option to create your skateboarder. Like most video games, being able to create a player that looks and feels similar to your real-life counterpart or favorite skater is a must. Heck, perhaps even a level builder like previous THPS video games, but that is probably a lot more work than it’s worth.
On top of that, something needs to be done about your characters folding like an accordion every time they run into a step or ledge. It makes sense when you’re trying to perform a crazy trick, but to watch my skater melt like he’s in an Easy-Bake Oven after running into a picnic table feels a bit unrealistic for a game that does realism exceptionally well.
PC Reigns Supreme
The reality is that the differences between Session on console and PC are about as significant as being an amateur or a pro. Sure, as an amateur, you get the occasional pair of free shoes and decks, but that’s where the line is drawn. And the cold hard truth is simple here, everything is better on PC when it comes to Session.
Session plays smoother on a computer. This is probably not a groundbreaking revelation, but it’s still something that needs to be mentioned nonetheless. Flips and tricks felt slightly more sluggish on console, but I think that’s to be expected when comparing a game across platforms. It could even be a placebo effect to some degree because it’s very minor, but even those small differences can matter when trying to create the perfect line or video highlight. The modding scene is the other obvious mention here but that’s just a given.
I don’t know how soon we’ll get a finished product on Xbox One or PC, but at the end of the day, if you had to choose the platform to play this on when it finally comes out, your PC gaming rig is probably the way to go.
After playing the console version of Session, my overall opinion of the game has not changed. It was a good time on PC, and it’s a good time on Xbox One. Sure, your character when bailing can look eerily similar to a crash test dummy at times. On top of that, not every trick will be landed with the style of Rodney Mullen or Daewon Song. But after having such a long and tiresome gap between Skate 3 and anything resembling a skateboarding video game, Session delivers.
I’ve had the opportunity to play many of this year’s latest skateboarding video games, and although I love what I have played of SkateBird and everything that Skater XL brings to the table, Session is as close as it gets so far to nailing that Skate fix I need. And after so many years of playing an over-the-top version of skateboarding like Tony Hawk Pro’s Skater, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the practical side of sports gaming.
It may or may not dethrone the Skate franchise, but Session has found a recipe for success. And if you’re a fan of skateboarding or someone who once loved some of the greats from the past, this game is for you.