Skater XL, is dubbed "the next big evolution of the skateboarding video game genre" and in some ways, it certainly delivers on that but it's important to remember when you play it that this is not the new "Tony Hawk Pro Skater", in fact where that game felt arcade and dynamic, this one is more like a true simulator of the sport. In some circles, I could see a "Fifa vs Pro-Evolution Soccer" argument happening.
The game features famous skate landmarks and environmental elements, including Downtown LA and a number of others as well as community-created maps so you'll never be short of content and it's ever-evolving.
throughout Skater XL you can play as skateboarding pros like Tiago Lemos, Evan Smith, Tom Asta and Brandon Westgate but I think most players will prefer to roll with the customization options to create yourself as a skateboarding legend using gear from more than 30 real skate brands. Explore digital skate zines, personal highlight replays, and more from the Skater XL community that celebrates this new era of digital skateboarding. That's where this game excels over others in the genre, the community built around it thrives as a resource for generating new and exiting content for it. It feels like at times that the creators have given you the bare bones of a world for players to expand and that is not a bad thing at all, after all at the end of the day you end up with a skating game created by people who are deeply invested in the lifestyle. Dain Hedgpeth, Co-Founder and Director of Easy Day Studios says just that as well as “Skater XL’s launch is the culmination of years of heads-down development working directly with our community, they’ve been part of it all including map design, new control mechanics and even the game’s promotion.”
The controls are the main feature of the title and although extremely frustrating for me in the beginning once you get the hang of it you'll understand the true simulation effect that the game is capturing. They achieve this by assigning complete foot control and physics to each thumbstick instead of letting pre-made "canned animations" do the work. There are real physics at work here so remember practice makes perfect even if you have to try and try and try and try and try and try.. again. When you do nail that first awesome trick, you'll keep coming back for more.
Skater XL features include:
- Freedom of Expression - Skater XL’s physics-based controls don’t have any pre-programmed tricks - only the movement through the thumbsticks. Each thumbstick is connected to the corresponding foot of the skater and as the player moves the stick, the board instantly responds. Much like a musical instrument, the player has complete freedom, whether it be pushing to nail a line or skating free form.
- Real Life Iconic Locations - Skater XL levels are all inspired by real-world skate areas and designed to ensure a constant flow of skate lines. From the DTLA Map with skateboarding landmarks around the Staples Center and LA Convention Center to Easy Day High School’s sprawling campus of iconic skate spots like the Wallenberg Big 4 and the ‘Leap of Faith’, to the humongous ‘Big Ramp,’ where skaters can soar higher than a hawk.
- Play As Real-Life Skate Pros - Select from renowned pros Tiago Lemos, Brandon Westgate, Evan Smith, and Tom Asta, all with their own distinct gear that fits their style.
- Customisable Characters - The possibilities are endless to personalise the Skater XL experience. Players can customise their entire look, including their skater’s gear with different tees, hoodies, hats and shoes from over 30 of the most recognised skate brands like Vans, Santa Cruz, DC Shoes, Independent, Lakai and many more.
- Thriving Community - Dive into a passionate community with more than 100,000 members in Discord (the biggest Discord in the World for reference is Fortnite at 500k, amazing given that Skater XL was in Early Access!) who create online zines, video parts, fake skate brands, and hundreds of mods.
- Legit Soundtrack - Modest Mouse, Getter, Interpol, Animal Collective and Band Of Horses headline the distinctive music that blends well with the Skater XL’s West Coast vibe and fluid physics-based control mechanics.
Skater XL is now available on PS4 and Xbox One at Australian retailers.