Pushin’ the wood never felt so good
The days of extreme sports in the gaming culture seems to have slowed drastically in the past decade, or so. With the imminent success of EA’s ‘Skate’ in 2007, the realistic feel of maneuvering a skateboard down steep gaps and inclines proved an all-too rewarding thrill. Years later the sub-genre seems to have faded into obscurity, but still rests a glimmer of hope with Crea-ture Studios upcoming wood-pushing title, Session.
Where it all started
Skateboarding video games hailed in the late nineties with titles like Thrasher, Grind Session, Street Sk8er, and of course, the beloved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. With their wild mid-air tricks and insanely long combos, the arcade feel of skateboarding in video games began to feel stagnant. Skate, introduced by EA, gave skaters and non-skaters alike the rewarding sense of landing a single trick on flat ground, of which seemed dull and unsatisfying in earlier skating titles.
With a new wave of ditching the old style of pulling off tricks/combos with the face buttons, Skate had players using the analog sticks, flicking them in specific directions to pull off realistic skateboarding tricks. This gave players a feeling of accomplishment not felt on prior skateboarding titles to date. Not to mention an enormous open-world map to find the hot spots, lay down the biggest line, or hit the biggest gap.
Over the years the Skate series unfolded into more complex details, but by the third go around the fan base had simmered down. This gave fans of the genre little hope for the future of the sub-category of extreme sports in video games. Though, the indie developers at Crea-ture Studios have come a long way to bring back the thrilling excitement of landing the complex flip trick down a set of stairs; this time with an even more rewarding and complex set of gameplay mechanics than Skate.
A new kind of skateboarding game
In a game where there are no points or mission objectives, the goal of the indie skating title, Session, is to nail the perfect trick, and embrace the rewarding feeling of doing so. Finding the creativity in putting together the most unique lines of combos around the vast concrete playground. But the freedom of experiencing what its like to be a professional skater isn’t the only thing that keeps this wood-pusher unique.
The developers have decided to tackle the way players control the skater and pull of tricks by taking the analog stick scheme one step further. In Skate, players used an analog stick to control both feet of the skater. Leaning the stick down made the player crouch, while flicking the stick up from that position allowed the player to perform an ‘Ollie’, sending the character in the air. In Session, player will use both sticks to simultaneously control the skateboarder in a much more realistic manner.
The dual stick control scheme
The left stick controls the left foot, as the right stick controls the right foot. This unique approach looks incredibly daunting at first, but upon a more hands-on approach, the immersiveness of feeling like a skilled street skater begins to take over. In example, if your left foot is on the back of the board, and right in the front (this stance is known as ‘goofy’ footed), players flick the left stick down, followed by flicking the right stick up immediately followed by the left stick being flicked up. This process, in regards to the foot position, will send the left foot stomping down, followed by sliding the right foot up the board to gain air, lastly bringing the left foot up to level the board out in air.
This incredibly tedious mechanic will give players hours to get comfortable using, but as you explore the city, set yourself up for a grind on a handrail, or land a huge 20-step gap, the controls look to give the most successful feeling of landing otherwise common skateboarding moves. While the earlier titles of the skateboarding era of gaming had players pulling of trick after trick in rapid succession, racking up hundreds of thousands of points, Skate brought focus on the realism in the sport. Now, Session is looking to take the genre into the next big wave of realistic controls in gaming.
With the dual stick controls and the direction of non-objective based gameplay, Session is looking to provide the ultimate skateboarding experience in video games. Other mechanics like grinding on rails or board sliding requires precise balance in order to pull them off thoroughly. Applying too much weight over the wheels, or not enough will cause different outcomes, further pushing the player to find the “sweet spot” when balancing during certain tricks.
Plan your line, film it and share it
One of the biggest features in Session is the ability to film, edit and share your best lines. While taking the scoring out of the gameplay, players are free to express themselves via the virtual wooden board. Pulling off whichever extreme maneuvers that may call out to you, you’ll also have the ability to film and edit with the in-game video edit, put together your own skateboarding montage and share on social media. The should also help give other players some inspiration and create some insane combo runs all across the virtual skateboarding community.
Though the objectiveless gameplay sounds lackluster, the players are able to progress and hone their skills through repetition and nailing your tricks. The more you accomplish, the more tricks you pull off, the better the skater becomes. Flip tricks will flip faster, ollie will ‘pop’ higher, and players will catch the board more efficiently in air. This will undoubtedly push players into the practiced routine of growing and ease of accomplishing bigger, tastier tricks.
The open world of Session is a congregation of different city ‘hubs’ that take on the appeal of real life skate spots. Based off of popular feedback, the Canadian developers will update the world depending on which spots are busiest, and fix issues with less popular, or completely deserted hubs. The growing world of Session is sure to offer a diverse experience every time you log in to shred the concrete playground.
Crea-Ture Studios and their Kickstarter page
The indie team of Crea-Ture Studios has worked relentlessly to create a skateboarding title that brings the rewarding and dedicated feeling that comes with the sport. Practice will make perfect when shredding the lines features in Session, and with still 2 weeks to go on their Kickstarter page potential backers have the opportunity to try out the free demo. While the game has had its success facing its pledge goal, there is still more that can be added to the game.
Check out the Kickstarter page for more on the extreme sporting title, Session, and get your hands on the free demo while its available. The game has surpassed its initial goal of $63k, the pledges are now nearing the $100k mark, which could add more content to the game. Stretch goals like customizing characters, mini-ramps and verts, Story mode or even a new City Hub, there’s still plenty of reason to pledge towards Sessions.
Set to arrive on PC and Xbox One in the summer of 2019, Session is looking to bring back the extreme sport of professional skateboarding. While still in development, there are plenty of tasty rewards to get backers into the action sooner than the initial release date.
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