We all want Skate 4. Even if you have no interest in skateboarding you want it too, no point in lying to yourself. But, as the IP is owned by the *cough* Evil Alliance, it will no doubt never see the light of day.
Our saviour, then, instead comes in the guise of a new Canadian developer, Creā-ture Studios, with Project Session —now simply Session. We first saw glimpses of the game back in 2015, so it’s been a long time coming thus far, but now there is a free demo you can download (via http://www.crea-turestudios.com), and the game is live on Kickstarter too. At the time of writing, they are sitting on about $28,000 of an $80,000 Goal. Not a bad start, as it is still the first day!
Session is gearing up to be as realistic a skateboarding game as you can get, although, in its current, Pre-Alpha state, it is understandably bare bones. That said, there is already enough here to see that this is going to be something special. There are no score systems to be seen here, just you, a skateboard, and a park. And, realistically, this is all you need. Ride around, grind, flip, skate to your heart’s content, and stick that trick you’ve always wanted to. Apparently this is how it will stay, and you know what? That’s just fine with me. The story in the Skate games, for me, always just got in the way, and I simply enjoyed just skating around and seeing what tricks and lines I could pull off.
The presentation is pretty slick featuring a very minimal UI. You will of course get pop-ups detailing the tricks you have pulled, but that is it. And it doesn’t need more, as it fits perfectly with the minimalist feeling of the game. At the moment, the animation is a bit wonky, as they are using placeholder animation for a lot of the moves, but functionality is there. Like the Skate games, you can set a marker to warp to if you want to try and perfect a line that you have planned out in your head, and keep trying until you hit it.
Session uses a rather unique control system, which initially, seems similar to Skate, but goes much deeper. You use both analogue sticks, with each stick being a different foot — moving the sticks in different ways will allow you to pull of different tricks. For example: for a simple ollie you pull one stick down, and push the other up. Now, notice I did not specify which stick.. This is because the sticks represent one foot each. Although, there are two control schemes.
In hardcore mode, it’s the left and right foot, in the easier mode, it’s the front and back foot. At first, this can be confusing, but pretty quickly becomes fairly natural and enables a more realistic feeling of actually pulling of the tricks. This does, however, leave a pretty standard joystick feature, to be moved to the triggers. This feels really off, and not at all intuitive to begin with, and you’ll likely find yourself crashing into things on a regular basis, but after a few minutes, and you get it into your head that you are turning by leaning left and right, it suddenly clicks.
The current demo only features flip tricks and manuals in the game, but grabs will be coming in the future, and no doubt a lot more.
Now go, back the Kickstarter, you know you want to, you need to.
We NEED this game to exist.