When we talk about skateboarding games, it is normal to immediately think about the franchise Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, in which although it is true there is an evident love for the culture of the skateboard, its gameplay is of arcade sensibilities, that is, completely removed from realism, an observable situation in the way the tricks are executed in the control -as if they were powers in a fighting game- and in how they are connected to each other -as if they were combos in a fighting game.

Those people who were looking for a title that would provide the realism than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater I couldn’t toast, they went to Skate, a title published by EA in 2007 in which the tricks were executed according to the sequence that was marked on the right stick, a system that at the time was called ‘flick it’ because of the way he made the relationship between the body of the character on screen and the sequence marked with the lever organic.

And for those people looking for a even greater realism than the one who offered Skate so many years ago now Skater XL, a title whose developer and publisher, Easy Day Studios, promote as the evolution of skateboarding into video games, due to its system in which there are no pre-programmed cheats and in which the player is given the freedom to do whatever he wants, starting from the principle of having control over the human body and not on stocks.

From here on we will talk about buttons, so consider that we play it in PlayStation 4, that is, for what it does to the versions of other consoles, only make the corresponding conversion.

The guiding principle of Skater XL is as follows: left stick controls the left foot. He right stick controls the right foot. L1 controls the left hand. R1 controls the right hand. L2 spins to the left and R2 spins to the right.

Of the action buttons, Square is for pushing off with the left foot, X’s for doing it with the right foot, Circle is for braking, and Triangle is for setting a spawn point on the map.

It is a principle that obeys the logic of body and that is where the challenge of Skater XL.

For example, in real life to make a ollie it is necessary to press the rear of the skateboard with the back foot, so that it hits the ground and from there the momentum is translated into a jump.

In the case of the game, to do the ollie it is necessary pull back the right stick -that is, the right foot, which is the one that is placed here by default on the back of the skateboard- and release it.

The same goes for the nollie, which is basically an ollie but started with the foot in front of the skateboard. In the game it is executed by wearing the left stick -or left foot- forward and releasing it.

When the skateboarder advances, his direction is controlled with L2 y R2, the same buttons that decide which way to turn after making a jump.

Just like in real life, the tricks of flip involve separate actions of the two feet, since first the jump is marked with a stick and already in the air with the otro stick it is decided where the skateboard is propelled.

In this way, a kickflip requires that the ollie be done first – that is, that the right stick is pulled back and released – and that in the air the left stick is carried quickly to the left.

If you intend to do the veryflip, the same process is marked, but carrying the stick iquierdo on the right.

Just like in real life, the tricks of grab they involve separate actions of the feet and hands.

Let’s take as a basis Melon and the Indy, which are the most basic grabs, since they only involve holding the skateboard in the air after doing an ollie.

Melon involves holding the skateboard with the left hand, that is, with L1. So we have to execute it in the game, first the ollie is marked and once the character is in the air, it is pressed L1. The same procedure comes into play with the Indy, only with R1, because it involves the right hand.

These are all just the most basic cases to explain the guiding principle of Skater XL, because from there what follows is that the player forges a organic relationship with control, let him unleash the free-style spirit through the different maps that are included.

It sounds new and it really is; the number of combinations that can be made is colossal. The problem is that Skater XL it’s more of a tech demo to show off this control scheme than a game in the strict sense of the term.

We are before a sample of situations that should not appear in a title that is put up for sale to the public. Beyond everything that involves interacting with the skateboard, physics is practically non-existent in the game. There is no collision system and when the skater falls, regardless of the situation that caused the fall, the model adopts the same locked position that only shows the lack of programming behind.

The bugs are abundant, the walls are constantly being crossed, the frame rate is not optimized and the character always gets stuck between edges and surfaces, sabotaging the flow of the session, especially when in the middle of a challenge.

Speaking of which, each of the five maps officials – based, by the way, on real locations important to skateboarding culture – has its own series of challenges to meet, which constitutes the only reason to be changing between one and the other, since the truth is that they are inert worlds.

There is a section for customize character, but it is extremely simple compared to what is fashionable under current standards.

All these situations lead us to think that Skater XL is a tech demo aimed at professional skaters and not to a general public, as there is no other way to explain that, with the exception of the new control, all the other sections are so crude.

Its intentions are those of a simulator, but its presentation is that of a demonstration. We understand that on PC the experience is different, given the contributions of the modder community, but at least on PlayStation 4 Skater XL it’s a parade of frustrating situations that end up overshadowing the ingenuity and care put into the control scheme.

Rating: 5.5 / 10
Skater XL
Year: 2020
Desarrollador: Easy Day Studios Pty Ltd
Publisher: Easy Day Studios Pty Ltd
Revised version: PlayStation 4
Also available: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC

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