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So I Tried… Session

So I Tried… Session

 Each edition of So I Tried… I will try a game that I have never played before. Will I find something new to love? Will I find something new to despise? I'll take a full half hour, no matter how bad it gets or how badly I do, to see if this is the game for me. This time I went for the Switch version of Session.

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Why did I do this when PC or current-gen consoles exist? There’s an easy answer here: the Deluxe Edition was on sale on Switch at the time. It was specifically the Deluxe Edition; the base version was still full-priced for some reason. I’ve been wanting a game that satisfies my desire for more Skate until the free-to-play Skate 4 (which is just called skate.) comes out.

Oh boy, this ain’t gonna be pretty.

What I thought it was

It was definitely going to be a downgrade in graphics compared to more modern systems. The Nintendo Switch is already five years old, turning six in March of next year, so I’m not expecting anything pretty at a stable framerate.

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Still, I expect it to deliver the skateboarding experience I’ve sorely missed since playing Skate 3 all those years ago. Sure, the control scheme will need getting used to, being more complex with two sticks rather than using just the one, but I’m prepared to learn. It took me a while to even be decent at Skate, so this should be quite the training session. I’ve played a little of Skater XL - The Ultimate Skateboarding Game, which has a similar control scheme so maybe it should be enough of a head start. Half an hour should just be the tutorial, so… let’s hope for the best.

What it actually is

Well, it is certainly a skate simulator, there’s no doubt about that. While the Skate series is more realistic than its contemporaries at the time, it still allowed you to do some really insane lines that no real-life professional skateboarder could ever do. But here, it's more difficult to pull off those same tricks. Flipping your board is more than a canned animation, but a physical thing you need to worry about when landing your tricks. Grinding requires quite a bit of momentum and just the right angle or else you’ll trip and face plant onto the pavement.

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At its core, Session isn’t quite something you can pick up and play, it outright demands practice and repetition if you want to at least complete the campaign even at the early stages. A good chunk of my half-hour was spent with the game was spent trying to ollie up a ledge, manual across, and flip out at the end. I can do flip tricks pretty easily, but I had serious trouble performing manuals. It’s just very specific where the zone between manual and setting up a trick is on the stick. I can do it on flat ground, but not in mid-air, so I would land while doing it. It’s a complicated set of inputs to do in such a short amount of time. It is possible, but like any good skate trick, it takes time to nail.

There’s no arbitrary score or anything, only the environment you’re in, whatever items you have you can place down, and your board.

Will I keep playing

I’m not sure to be honest. 

The performance and graphics were much worse than I anticipated. The ghosting, the nearly lifeless faces, how everything just looks so blurry; it felt jarring and a little dizzying. Even games from the Xbox 360 looked better. Still, you get used to it after a while, and hey, I’ve seen worse-looking games on the Switch but it’s still unacceptable in this day and age.

As for the gameplay, maybe it was a little too realistic sometimes. Hitting anything at the wrong angle will cause you to ragdoll at the slightest touch and what the game demands of you can feel impossible if you aren’t very dexterous on a controller. Even when I finally completed that line from the tutorial, I felt like I was tricking the game rather than completing the tricks.

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Can I complain about the trick guide, though? Holy crap, it’s genuinely unhelpful. I found its layout of input commands to be unclear, but the most annoying part was that the damn thing was written in a tiny font that you can’t zoom into. It says right on there that Session is supposed to be a difficult game, but it shouldn’t be because the instructions were so bad that it barely looks like words.

But despite all this, I want to keep going and work on refining my skill at the game, but at the same time, I just want to skate around and do some tricks and grinds without much worry. It’s a skateboard simulator alright, but not for casual enjoyers like me. I’ll have to check out all those gameplay settings though, tweak it to my liking before I decide if I should put the game down for good.

So I Tried
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

Taking all of the AAA games

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