SESSION Skate Sim Wants to Be the True SKATE
We recently got our hands on SESSION Skate Sim on Xbox Game Preview and we’re feeling both impressed and unsure
SESSION Skate Sim wants to become the true skate simulator for gamers. What does that mean exactly? Well, people who like skating a lot really like EA’s SKATE for its great big open worlds and more authentic skating experience compared to games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
The thing is, while Skate offers a little more realism than Pro Skater, it’s not exactly a sim. Now, without some sort of Skateboard peripheral under your feet, it never could be a sim now could it? Well, SESSION Skate Sim realised this, but decided to still up the realism a notch… in a way that’s not too different to the way a Tech Deck works.
Same, same… but different
What SESSION Skate Sim does, is make use of a very unfamiliar layout in order to provide the kind of control one would have over a real skateboard.
This means that steering is managed, not by your thumbsticks, but by the left and right trigger, similar to how one would actually lean left and right when on a Skateboard. This leaves the two thumbsticks free to control each foot.
Instead of busting an Ollie by holding a button or flicking a thumbstick, SESSION asks you to rewire your brain to use one thumbstick as a backfoot to apply pressure on the back of the board while using the other to flick the board up and forward, or a bit to the side to do a kickflip.
I won’t lie… I’ve almost never had my brain go so upside down while learning controls before, and I’m someone who taught myself to switch from inverted to uninverted control schemes before (it was tough).
This is the part where I obviously tell you that once you get the hang the controls, it feels very worth it – and I wouldn’t be wrong to say it. Once you do nail that perfect flip-trick in to manual and pop out of it again it feels amazing.
The Elephant in the Room
While I like what SESSION is doing with its controls and a few of the other ideas it has, a lot of the game looks and feels very similar to EA’s Skate.
This begs a very uncomfortable question for the entire existence of SESSION.
That question is simply: Does SESSION need to exist when the majority of the game’s unique selling point could essentially be adopted into the next EA Skate game as an optional control scheme?
It sucks to ask the question, but it is one that needs to be asked. If SESSION really wants to set itself apart, it needs to break out of the mould that it’s currently in and build more around the unique control scheme that they’ve developed.
When Skate and Pro Skater give people the couch version of skating that people want to enjoy, and anyone who wants more is generally outside on a real skateboard – I struggle to fully understand who it’s really going to cater to.
The control scheme does feel really great when it all comes together though. Is that enough?