Hands-on: Session: Skate Sim – Gamescom 2022

Session: Skate Sim has to be the most hardcore skating simulator out there. Walking into my Gamescom appointment I didn’t really know what to expect but when I walked back out, my mind was blown. This is the ultimate love letter to skateboarding. 90s Kids rejoice, this one will bring back some MTV memories!

Back to the glory days

Throughout the history of video games, developers often tried to bring skateboarding to your screens at home. It often worked pretty well, examples are Skate and Tony Hawk but it often failed to impress too. Skateboarding is a sport where patience and a high learning curve are essential. Sure, it’s cool to post your insane tricks on social media to show your followers how you were able to land your deck, but what you don’t often see is the multitude of failures. If you want to become good at skating, you’ll have to become good at failing. If you want to land that sick kickflip, you’ll probably land on your face a couple of times first. This feeling of determination and persistence is often lacking in the skateboard video game. Instead, it’s all about flashy tricks and unreal combinations and even when it’s supposed to be a simulation, it never goes as deep as it should. But now we have Session: Skate Sim, here to save the day! This is unlike any other skateboard game on the market, it’s jam-packed with content and above all, it brings skateboarding and especially street skateboarding back to its glory days. Remember those skating music videos on MTV? The Jackass and Bam Margera era? Well, Session is here to bring that feeling back!

 

 

Skate Souls

By now you probably guessed this isn’t going to be an easy game. For those who ever tried skateboarding for real, you won’t be good on day one. You’ll need weeks, months even to become okay-ish on the board and years to dream of becoming a pro. This also goes for Session. When I started my demo, I was blown away by the controls, at first I thought the developers were joking and they remapped the controls to mess around. What happend? I couldn’t steer or move the camera with the sticks, instead I had to use tho shoulder buttons to turn left or right. The sticks were assigned to my legs, the left stick controlled my left leg, the right stick controlled my right leg. With a push of the a-button, I was able to push off to gain some speed. Sounds weird, right? Well, those are the official and only controls here and although I hated it at the start, I loved them in the end.

 

 

It sounds extremely surreal to map both sticks as your virtual legs but in the end, it really is for the better since you’re in total control of your board. Everything in Session is physics based, even your board. This means that your input really affects the way your board reacts and the slightest touch can mean a huge difference. If you, for example, want to perform the classic Ollie, you’ll have to hold down the right stick, which will make you go down on your right leg and then release the left stick upwards, resulting in your left leg sliding over your board, performing that legendary basic move. If you skated in the past and remember what your legs are suppose to do, you can recreate that motion with the control sticks surprisingly well. Getting the basics right will take some time to adjust and if you want to mix up your stunts and create combinations, you’ll better prepare to spend a couple of hours with this one. Some will call it the Dark Souls of skating but in all honesty, it will take time to become really good, just like in the real world.

A lot of content

That being said, the team is well-aware of the higher level of difficulty and included tons of features to make your stay in Session as pleasant as possible. The biggest tool here is the ability to create a checkpoint where you can easily respawn if you fail to land your trick. Believe me, you’ll need this one as you better prepare for a lot of different tries before you land the trick. Besides that, the team will also give you the freedom to move objects around and even insert other objects onto the map to create the skating paradise of your dreams. The maps are all inspired by real locations, using satellite images to stay as true as possible, making virtual playgrounds of iconic locations, this one is intended for the hardcore fans.

 

 

On top of that comes a virtual shop where you’ll find a surprisingly huge amount of licensed gear and clothing, all from those iconic skating brands. The shop shines when it comes to your deck. You can alter everything and even the size of your wheels will impact the way you skate. The team thought of everything and added an epic editor so you can showcase your best skills with some epic slow motion and mandatory filters. There’s way too much to all name in a single preview but rest assured, there’s a tremendous amount of content waiting on you, it even has a story mode in the sandbox levels! One thing’s for sure, this game truly has it all.

Early conclusion:

Session: Skate Sim is the ultimate experience for those desperate for a realistic skateboarding game. It literally has everything you wanted and even more. Prepare to sink in some hours because the grind is very real!