Session: Skate Sim (PC / Steam Deck) Review: Extremely Hard, Extremely Fun.
In anticipation of Skate 4, a new game developer has ventured into the market with its skateboarding game Session: Skate Sim. I’ve been playing the Steam version for the past week on my Steam Deck and I have to say I’m impressed.
You should know that Session takes time to get used to. The learning curve is so high and the control is so complicated at first, that there were moments when I just thought of giving up. Thankfully, all of that changed and I started to appreciate just how good Session really was, being annoyed with myself for almost turning my back on it. I did had to put hours into trial and error though.
It even came to my mind, that the thing that makes Session so good, is the fact that its not like all other skate games. Everything in Session is governed by a brutally realistic physics system. The best illustration of how crucial it is to the experience is how grinds work. In other skating games your board will ‘snap’ to the rail, ledge, or whatever it is you’re trying to grind. The strength of this differs between games, but there’s always an invisible guide keeping you locked in. In Session, however, pulling off a successful grind is, as in real life, a matter of speed, precision, and angle. Misjudge either and your trucks won’t lock, you’ll lose momentum, and you’ll bail.
Skate showed the world what a more realistic Tony Hawk game could look like. Session shows the world what a more realistic Skate can look like. The left stick controls your left foot, and the right stick controls your right foot. To do a simple Ollie down some steps, you need to pick up speed by building speed with your foot, pull back on the right stick to make sure your right foot is at the back of the board, then push forward on the left stick to lift the front of the board to get air. Depending on how lightly or heavily you press down on the sticks will deem how high you get in the air. Yes it is difficult. Yes it is extremely fun once you get the hang of it.
Think first, skate after. Session has three cities to skate in —New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. But in another example of its dedication to realism, and how brilliantly it captures the spirit of street skating, these big urban cities have not been designed specifically with skaters in mind. You’ll never turn a corner to find a perfect collection of obstacles, rails, and ramps laid out for you. You have to think like a skater and pick them out of the landscape yourself, taking the bland infrastructure of a modern city and doing something awesome with it.
Graphic and audio
You will notice right away that what the developers have chosen to focus on the most is realism. Graphics and sound feel roughly like from a Playstation 4 game and I wouldn’t define it as next gen. It should be said however, that I have chosen to play Session on my Steam Deck, which could lower the graphics somewhat. However, it does feel like it’s a perfect game to carry with you as a ‘pick up and play’ game on the bus, or anywhere you feel like playing for a few minutes.
I can’t quite put Session down now that I’ve mastered the controls. I always want to find new parts of the cities to test my skills on. The fact that it was difficult in the beginning only makes it feel even better now, once I succeed with a crazy trick. EA should definitely be sweating for the release of their upcoming Skate 4. Has the crowd already left the harbor when it’s released?
Session: Skate Sim is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4 and PC (Steam, Epic). I reviewed the game on PC / Steam Deck with a code provided by the publisher.