Initial Release Date: July 28, 2020
Developer: Easy Day Studios Pty Ltd
Publisher: Easy Day Studios Pty Ltd
Genre: Sports game
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
"Review Copy Provided by Reverb Games"
It’s been a very long time since skating games and extreme sports games in general were in the public limelight since the Tony Hawk series hit the scene in the late 90’s and dominated the scene till the mid 00’s. We had a resurgence occur during the 2010’s with EA’s SKATE series which went for a decidedly realistic style of skateboarding that had until that time never been seen before. After the release of the final SKATE title, we saw nothing else in that franchise until the ill-fated Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5 which was abysmal for the extreme sports gaming scene and in 2020 while we were graced with a remake of the first to THPS games we ultimately never got a new realistic skating title until Skater XL dropped. Does Skater XL live up to the hype and exceed the expectations of long time SKATE fans or does it I land flat on its face after a failed ollie? Let’s find out!
The gameplay of Skater XL is incredibly intuitive and easy to get into yet difficult to master with its simple set up of using the face buttons to kick off regular of goofy footed. The front shoulder buttons allow for turning your direction as you kick off the ground with the back-shoulder buttons allowing you to grab your board after jumping.
The left stick has multiple functions with you being able to not only steer but also to kick flip your board with the right stick allowing you to do an opposite kick flip. You can do ollies with ease and perform grinds by doing a kick flip followed by a board grab and turning yourself to be lined up perfectly to the surface you are grinding on.
You can select one of 6 areas to skate around in where you can select your drop point and shred it up. You can select from a high school, downtown LA, a skate park, and more. There’s even a skate park creator too which is pretty hype for the purists out there.
There’s also a create a skater feature where you can select your gender, skin color, hair style, clothing, accessories, and also branding for you board and customize it too from the grip tape, deck, truck, and more.
The game looks good, not hyper realistic, but good enough to look like a skateboard game. Think a hybrid of SKATE mixed with THPS and you’ll have an idea of what the game looks like. The character models look very much like a video gamey character with environments that look hands down phenomenal especially Downtown LA which is a real-life depiction of what it actually looks like.
The motion capture for the skaters all lot super on point as if you are watching actual people so nothing bad to say about it.
These several licensed tracks from indie and underground bands that are mellow on some tracks and hype on the others. The sounds of the skateboard on the different grounds and pavements sounds ultra realistic to the point that with headphones on you’ll feel like you’re the one skating! Honestly not really a lot to cover in this section.
So the only downside here is the fact that the motion capture for the characters goes out the window when you fall off your skateboard and then is where the immersion is broken as the character will fall down in the most awkward of ways and while it may not be the same as the crazy ragdoll physics of some other games but its still rough to look at.
Occasionally, I’ve run into issues where the game will glitch me through ramps or where I get stuck on a surface after grinding and then oddly my character will just fall down out of no where.
Other than that, no issues I can name that I experienced.
Given that there aren’t a lot of Skateboarding games on the market and while THPS 1&2 is out but isn’t a realistic skater then honestly if you’re looking for the most authentic and realistic skateboarding game on the market then you cant find a reason not to get this game. It’s pick up and play, highly customizable, great locales for skating around, and a banger of a soundtrack makes Skater XL a game that’s a must try game.
Verdict: Buy It