With Skate 4 development well underway, Skater XL attracting a solid indie crowd, and the Tony Hawk's series pulling its best trick since its earliest outings (by releasing remakes of those earliest outings in 2020), the skating genre is in a fine place. But the landscape was very different just a few years ago in 2019, and during a barren period for the skating games it was Session that kept things rolling. Well, Session is about to come of age, and after three years in Early Access will get a full release on September 22.
If Tony Hawk's is your benchmark (as is the case for many people) for skating games, then you should be aware that Session is much less arcadey by comparison. It uses a tricky but logical dual-stick control system in which you control your left and right foot on the board with the left and right analog stick.
It's a pretty steep learning curve, but has a satisfying payoff as landing a trick actually means something and the more you pull off a given trick, the better your in-game character gets at that trick—so both you and your avatar are progressing together. Crucially, there is no scoring system. The developers are adamant on keeping things pure and letting players find their own flow and rhythm.
Session's been on a long ride, starting out with just one level set in a jail before expanding to iconic 90s skating spots around New York City, Philadelphia, and other iconic locations. We hold it in high regard here at PCG, calling it "the most authentic skateboarding game ever made" and "our favourite skateboarding sim" at various points.
There's no word yet on what's going to be added to Session 1.0 when it launches in September, but given the game's reliance on that dual-stick system you probably shouldn't hold your breath for keyboard and mouse support; sorry K&M militants, but it may be time to cough up!