Crea-ture Studios’ skateboarding simulation Session brings the magic that EA’s Skate series brought, but ramps up the complexity of performing tricks. While you’re offered a lot of freedom in controlling your tricks, the general exploration of the level is rather constricting, with most of the city being heavily barricaded.
There was a time when skateboarding was all about breaking the rules, owning turfs with your sick flips, and of course, finding new spots to skate in before being ushered away by a grumpy gentleman. Soon, my local areas started hammering up “No Skating” signs and weeks later, for some reason, some delinquents burnt down the skatepark nearby. We had to find new areas to skate in, and that’s generally what you can do in Session.
While the available area offers rails to grind, stairs to jump, gaps to find and more, it still feels a touch underwhelming, even with the option of introducing new props to these areas through the game’s “Build Mode.” If you’re one of those adrenaline junkies, this might not be enough. Perhaps you feel as if you’re not being Bam Margera enough, or your creativity isn’t William Spencer levels.
Thanks to Session’s Build Mode, you can find several areas to start your new line from the gnarliest of places, although it does require temporarily turning the simulation into a 3D platformer, per-se. This can be fun but requires some patience, as it opens yourself up to creating some incredible, butt-clenching footage or photos.
So how does this work? Well, it’s a mixture of using props available in Build Mode, the place session marker, and your patience and integrity. So let’s get into the process of how to get incredible shots in Session.
As you skate around the area, you’ll probably grow irritated at the large buildings that force you to go all the way around them to find another area to let some flips loose. But what if you saw potential in those buildings? For example, I came across a building connected to a lot of stairs, but then I noticed the roof was in line with the rails on the stairs. So after assessing the area, I had located the perfect area to begin my climb.
It’s worth remembering that what you’re about to build will need to be treated as a platform for your character to walk up, so it’ll be going diagonally upwards at an angle your character can move on.
Beginning the Build
This is where the magic starts. If you get off your board, you’ll be able to hit the Left Bumper which pauses the game and enters Build Mode. From here you’re given a range of props such as ramps, rails, lights, and more. Different props have different allowances, meaning you can only spawn three spotlights, or have one type of rail spawned two times.
To get started, it’s best to put something small down, such as a ramp or a rail, something that will be able to allow your next prop to be angled. You can only rotate the props horizontally, so this is where manipulating them comes into play. Alternatively, if there’s already a pre-existing edge or object that can help achieve this, such as a curb, then use it.
Stacking the Props
This is where the long-winded process begins. Stacking the props is a tiresome art, as the game isn’t exactly built to be treated as we’re treating it right now. The props anchor area is central, meaning that when you rotate it, it’ll rotate in a perfect circle. It also means if the absolute centre of that prop hits an edge, that’s when it’ll start to tilt.
You’ll notice that the slower you move the centre point to an edge, the more the prop tilts with precision. When you find the spot you want to place the prop, it’ll freeze in place. When you go back to gameplay, the props hovering in mid-air are frozen in time and unaffected. Stacking them might look messy and rickety, especially if you’re using thin rails or lights, but don’t worry, as your character is perfectly capable of tightrope walking.
Move, Session, Recall
With the limitations of how many props you can spawn, this can lead to you struggling to advance on your structure. You’ll need to recall the props, but before you do that you need to make sure you’re safe. Exit Build Mode, walk along your structure, then as you reach the end of where you are, place a couple of wooden boards under your feet. This way, your character won’t get dropped back down to the ground when you recall the other props.
You’ll also want to press and hold down on the d-pad to create a session point. This ensures that you will be able to teleport back to that point even if you fall off. In fact, even if you are wandering along your masterpiece and start to feel like it’s getting a bit risky, just stand still and create a session point so if you do fall, you don’t have to do it all again.
When you re-enter Build Mode and you recall with the Y button, you’ll see the props vanishing and returning to their spawn interface. Then from the board you’re standing on, you can start making the next phase of your structure. Depending on how far your goal is, you’ll have to move, create a session point, recall, and build various times, so be patient.
After a grueling while, you’ll have no doubt reached your personal goal. When you reach that area make sure you set your session marker as soon as possible so that when you do perform your trick, you can just respawn back at the marker. Also, some areas might have you falling through undeveloped parts of the building and you’ll wind up falling through the skybox, so it’s good to make sure you’re able to respawn.
At your location, you’ll probably want to enter Build Mode again and just recall absolutely everything you’ve just placed: this way, you will avoid the potential of taking a shot or a video with floating props in the background. Then from that point on, go to the settings menu and change the time of day, if you desire, maybe set up some lights, and then it’s down to you to perform a fancy trick that looks insane.
It might take a while to get right, but that’s the beauty of Session: perseverance pays off.
To capture the action, you’ll be using the Replay feature in Session. This will allow you to rewind from the moment you entered the replay feature and will let you position the camera, create camera points, and more. Of course, while you can capture videos (as the tool is designed primarily for), you can also remove the HUD and take a screenshot of the game for your photos.
There are a few things to keep in mind with this entire process. The first thing is that Session is designed to be played at ground level. For this reason, you’ll end up finding rooftops with weird clipping issues with your skater looking like they’re floating, some decorative walls might be passable, and you’ll have areas where you’ll fall in the skybox. Also, depending on how high you are–and I’ve spent 15 minutes climbing the tallest building–you’ll need to be careful with what you can see in the distance. You’ll notice some angles can show the edge of the level, and others might show weird artifacts that are noticeable in your shot.
But there you have it: a bit of planning, exploring, and patience, and you can get some surreal, insane shots that the game wasn’t designed for! Now get skating.
Session is available for PC as an early access title, and more levels are due to arrive to the game as time goes on, so hopefully, this guide will still be relevant for future content added. The game will also be coming to Xbox One.