Session gets skateboarding. A noseslide takes just a casual flick of the stick in Skate 3 or a simple button press in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but it requires a perfect angle of approach, sufficient speed, and multiple nuanced flicks of both the left and right sticks in Session.
Anyone looking for a breezy, chill skateboarding game will probably hate it, but I’m in love, even in its unfinished Early Access state. Session, with some caveats, is an admirable simulation of what it’s like to learn how to skateboard, making simple flip tricks and short grinds feel like grand accomplishments.
A big caveat to open with: Session requires a gamepad for its unique control method—I’m not sure it’s even possible to replicate with a mouse and keyboard.
Each stick on the gamepad corresponds to a foot, so to ollie in a regular stance, I hold the right stick down and then pop up with the left. I still screw it up. To perform shove-its, I pull back with the right stick but scoop the board in the direction I want it to rotate, while sliding the left stick up for height. Sometimes I forget to let go of the sticks and the board keeps spinning and my feet stay up and I kiss the ground. I’m still learning.
The sticks mimic a skater’s feet and the natural motions required to pull off tricks, which basically guarantees eating shit 90-percent of the time. The triggers act as your body weight, using each to lean in that direction and effectively steer. It’s not the kind of control scheme we’re accustomed to and will never be as precise as a joystick, but it becomes natural in time. Breaking your brain is part of the process.