Session Is The Most Realistic Skate Game | Session Gameplay And Impressions

Session Is The Most Realistic Skate Game | Session Gameplay And Impressions

While I was in college, I played nothing but
Skate 3 for about six months. Why? Well, besides me being really autistic and
it being really good, at that time skateboarding games had already pulled off a sick grind
right into redundancy, and it served as an excellent distraction from the incredibly
up-to-date games development course that I was on. A bit like how when I clock off from work
now, I mostly just play Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, because it’s something that isn’t
a PC game and is (regrettably) never going to make a comeback. Unlike skateboarding games, which apparently
are, so 18-year-old me can suck it. Session, which some have called the spiritual
successor to the Skate series, was very successfully kickstarted back in 2017, and it’s now available
to play in Early Access on Steam. I kickflipped into action and got a good grip
of what the game is like in this early stage. As it turns out, Session is a very direct
translation of what it’s actually like to ride a skateboard in meatspace. So, here are a few ways that Session makes
you feel like a real-life pro-skater. If you’ve played any of the Skate games,
you’ll know that in order to pull off some sick tricks, you have to flick the right thumbstick
about in different directions to do different things. Hold the stick down and flick it upwards,
and you’ll do a kickflip, for instance. In Session, this idea has been implemented
but in a more accurate way. Like most of the other skateboarding games,
Session is controller-only, and the reason for that is that the right thumbstick controls
your right foot, and the left thumbstick controls your left foot. This can be quite tricky at first, but once
you get the hang of it, it’s actually really intuitive. If you want to perform a skateboard trick
in Session, all you need to do is think about how it’d be performed in real life, and
carry out that action using the thumbsticks. To do an ollie IRL, you lean back on your
right foot, and pop your left foot up to lift the board off of the ground. In Session, you hold down on the right thumbstick,
and push up on the left thumbstick. Kickflipping is similar, only instead of pushing
up on the left thumbstick, you push to the left or right. To turn, you squeeze the left and right triggers. This makes your in-game radical skater person
lean in either direction, the intensity of which matches how much you pull each trigger. If you quickly double-tap either trigger,
then you’ll switch your stance to goofyfoot, where your footing on the board is reversed. This, in turn, flips the controls, making
tricks about as difficult to pull off as it would if you’d flipped where your feet were
on a skateboard in the real world. If this is a little too overwhelming, though,
there is an alternative mode where instead of left foot/right foot, it’s front foot/back
foot, so you won’t suddenly have to play with southpaw controls. The Tony Hawk games, and the Skate games too
to be fair, both loved to yeet flashy score markers into your face, complete with a jazzy
record scratch noise probably, whenever you pulled off a trick. This was cool and provided you with some immediate
and gratifying feedback. But sometimes you’d do hardly anything at
all and be rewarded. This felt incredibly patronising, like giving
a dog a treat for licking your hand. When you’re down in the skate park, grinding
on the edge of the half-pipe and pop-shuvving into a dismount, there are no flashy screen
rewards. Your eyes aren’t screens so there’s no
means of digitally inputting them, which probably does have something to do with why, but it’s
also because the real world doesn’t give you participation trophies, you just have
to pull yourself up by your Vans laces and grind hard. In Session, there are no points for the tricks
that you do. In fact, there aren’t any scoreboards at
all, only some daily and weekly challenges that aren’t even actively tracked by default. Crea-ture Studios felt that the sublime satisfaction
of skateboarding about the place kicking flips and ollie-ing manuals was a reward in and
of itself, and you know what? The removal of a score tracker and the exclusive
focus on the experience of skating makes the whole thing feel that more serene, in a very
good way. The best thing about the more open-world skating
games, like the Skate games, was just cruising around on your board, listening to post-punk
tunes and thrash bangers, enjoying life. Sessions provides that experience incredibly
effectively. Speaking of music: Session’s soundtrack
is made up of tunes courtesy of the Rum Committee, a ten-piece hip-hop collective that formed
in Brighton and has played at Glastonbury before. All of the artists under the label are fantastic,
the music is a pretty jazzy compliment to the sick skateboarding gameplay, and it’s
really cool to see a prolific troop contributing their art to the game. But… perhaps this was just the nostalgia
consuming me, I found myself turning down the in-game music volume and popping on the
Skate 3 soundtrack on YouTube in the background. The thing about the Rum Committee is, they’re
actually really good. But in order to feel like a true skater, you
have to jam out to some trashy skater punk while you do the skateboarding, otherwise
it wouldn’t be like skateboarding in real life. I do earnestly love a lot of Skate 3’s soundtrack,
but most of it is goofy skater rock and some dorky hip hop, like Lee Majors Come Again
by the Beastie Boys and Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Ol Dirty Bastard. I can’t play you either of those tracks
lest I be arrested for YouTube crimes, so what you’re currently hearing is some perfectly
serviceable instrumental punk music that we actually had the budget to licence. If you’ve ever tried to grind on a rail
while riding a skateboard, you’ll know that it’s incredibly f**king difficult. Not only do you need to be able to successfully
ollie your board far up enough to surpass the height of whatever you aim to grind on,
you then also need to somehow land the thing on said grinding surface in such a way that
a balance is maintained, all without you stacking it and falling off of the skateboard. Then you need to maintain that incredibly
delicate equilibrium for at least a few seconds, and land back on the ground without breaking
every bone in your body. It’s absolutely horrifying. Session is able to capture this feeling of
abject terror pretty perfectly. Every time I approach an edge that I want
to grind, it’s like this existential state of panic consumes me, and I completely forget
how to use a controller, or what a controller even is. I just flick the sticks about and mash the
triggers, and fall over into a sad pile on the concrete. Fortunately, for pathetic scrubs like me,
there’s an option in the gameplay menu to make this easier, just like the left foot/right
foot, front foot/back foot mode. It makes connecting grinds just a bit easier
at the cost of realism, so I’ve been playing with it turned on until I better get to grips
with how everything else in the game works. I still flail and panic, but grinds being
that little bit more forgiving has meant that I don’t do it as much. What I still do a lot, generally, is f**k
up with the whole skateboarding thing. But, spoiler alert, that’s what real skateboarding
is like too! All those gnarly skateboarding videos on YouTube
with the knee-height camera angles and fisheye lenses may give off the impression that the
person on the board is just so good that they pull everything off on the first try, but
that’s because you don’t see all the footage discarded onto the virtual cutting room floor
where they mess up the thing. But the thing is… that doesn’t really
matter. What matters is, that moment where they absolutely
nailed it must’ve felt like the most satisfying thing ever. You put all that effort in to achieve this
feat of wooden-board-on-wheels wizardry, you fail again and again and again, but then you
finally do it! You high-five your skater bros, you pump your
fist, and you crack open a cold one to celebrate. It’s like this in Session, too. There’s this one grind I felt determined
to achieve, down this set of stairs just beside an underpass. I got myself into position with a good amount
of distance for building up speed, approached the rail, ollie’d up, and.. Fell over. I tried again, and slammed my head into the
wall beside the steps. I tried again, and flipped over the rail,
my entire body rolling down the staircase, limbs flailing about. But then… I connected the grind. Maintained my balance. Clenched every fibre of my being. Stuck my tongue out in that way one does when
you’re focusing really hard on something. I grinded all the way to the bottom of the
stairs, and when I slipped off the edge of the rail, I actually LANDED! And I didn’t fall over! I then immediately paused the game to flail
my arms about in real life because of how excited I was. That’s what skateboarding is all about. The visceral satisfaction of finally pulling
off the thing after all the bruised knees and split lips. Lovely stuff. The multiple attempts at pulling off sick
tricks in Session is made significantly easier by making use of the waypoint function. At any moment in-game, you can hold down on
the D-pad to mark the location you’re standing in as a sort of quicksave point. If you s**t on it, you simply hold up on the
D-pad, and you’ll be teleported back to that original spot. The further away you are, the longer you’ll
have to hold down up, but this isn’t for a huge amount of time and also keeps you from
accidentally teleporting when you didn’t intend on doing so. It’s a bit like skateboarding in real life. As we all know, when you’re standing around
somewhere, you can mentally assign it to be a save point, and if you concentrate really
hard, you’ll just pop back there as if you’d never moved, retaining all of your memories
of the f**k up and thus extending your mental age far beyond what your weak and frail human
brain is capable of recording in real-time. I ended up having to use this waypoint teleporting
function a hell of a lot while playing Session. I never took less than 20 attempts to pull
off a most of the sick tricks I tried to pull off, and the 19 times leading up to that successful
run always ended in some spectacularly gnarly, bone-crunching body crumples. Depending on how the laws of physics felt
at any given moment in time, I’d either just flop up against the thing, temporally
warp partially through the thing, or impacting with the thing would send me spiraling upwards
at 100 miles an hour whilst cartwheeling. From the point of failure to the point of
immobile, writhing suffering, I’d ragdoll violently all over the place, like each of
my limbs were using the opportunity to explore every possible point in spacetime that they
could. This incessant limb-flailing always concluded
with some hilarious pose, like the one time I collapsed into that one really funny position
that a lot of the corpses in Skyrim fell into way back when, dropped to my knees and arms
stretched back, presenting my body to the whole wide world. This is exactly what it’s like when you
skateboard in real life. There’s just something about falling off
of that colourfully-painted slab of wood that encourages the human body to lose all sense
of muscular contortion at the very instant it non-consensually breaks physical contact
with the grip tape atop its surface. It’s nice that Crea-ture Studios paid special
attention to capturing this realism in the digital sphere. If it wasn’t apparent, I’m very excited
to continue playing Session. It’s still in its very early stages and
there are glitches a-plenty, but even despite all that Early Access jank, hopping on for
a couple hours of digital kickflips is already absolute bliss. Crea-ture Studios seem to have really captured
the essence of what makes skateboarding games so much fun, at least to me, and it’s great
to see one of the first returns to the genre excel at what it’s trying to do as well
as it does. If you enjoyed this radical, tubular, gnarly
impressions video on Session, why not give it a like and subscribe to Rock Paper Shotgun
to see more videos like this? Cheers for watching, and hopefully see you
again soon!

78 thoughts on “Session Is The Most Realistic Skate Game | Session Gameplay And Impressions

  1. No, you are wrong. Every single video on YouTube is unedited, and complety accurate.

    Did you know tat the earth is both flat, cubical, and yellow?

  2. the thing about punk skate in ur video is straight up wrong lol the game session is about the golden age of skating aka the 90s
    and majority of street skaters listened to hip hop
    not punk

  3. Considering it's in active development, this is definitely gonna' be interesting to see how they improve and add content to the game.

  4. Love the video and I know your being patronising on purpose but as a skater some of the stuff you said has made me want to die

  5. If you're interested in playing Guitar Hero on PC, you should check out Clone Hero! It's a community-made GH game that's free and open-source. It also has a pretty large community around it with tons and tons of custom songs. While the official franchise won't probably return, CH keeps the community alive.

  6. The animation looks really floaty. Hope someday we will get a skategame where the board and shoes have real grip and the weight distribution looks realistic.

  7. Most of us can't grind because of the Tony Hawk games lol. Tony Hawk got our skateboard logic all F'd up lol. You can't just jump and expect your character to shift over to the rail lol

  8. i fell in love with the game, but i had to refund, i really dont like playing games when they stupid UE4 crashes all the time, i can play 5min then the game crashes

  9. honestly it sucks when games like these becomes about making the number in the corner of the screen appear as big and shaky as possible rather than just doing cool shit. Getting rid of the score thingy was the correct choice.

  10. Honestly I dont like the ragdoll in this game.
    A somewhat experienced skater tries to roll themselves or use their hands to absorb the fall. Nobody would just give up any movement and falls straight on the face with all limbs just flying arround.

  11. Cool that you like the ragdoll animations. But those are just placeholder animations, that is not how the falls are going to be when the game is complete lol.

  12. 'skateboarding just isnt the same without a thrashy skate punk soundtrack"

    oh dear lord no. . . are you a 12 year old american xbox troll?

  13. Bro skateboarding was punk then when street skating came up skating was VERY hip hop until Baker came through and brought the punk skinny jean vibe back

  14. Imagine this game being multiplayer and being able to go on skate expeditions with your friends. This would just make this already amazing game even more emersive

  15. The problem with most rag doll effects is that the avatar makes no attempt to stop their fall. Its like every bump sends them unconscious.

  16. Looks great, I hope they ship without pedestrians. They used to frustrated me endlessly in Skate. The bails would be a better if the skater at least attempted to put their arms out to meet the ground in falls.

  17. I want this game to work. I want it to do well. But the ragdoll physics are a long way off meeting the skateboarding mechanics in terms of realism. If we are going to battle these physics to play and get good, then we need to have a visual experience that is satisfying. People (not just skaters) will put there hands out the break a fall. Skaters however will do even more. They try and run out of a stack, roll, brace etc. If every fall in this game looks comical, this will be a big turn off for some.

  18. My only gripe is how slow it looks like you move. You don’t need 10 pushes in real life unless your bearings are shitty. Also you grind so slow as if they don’t wax anything.

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