Skater XL Xbox One Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Skating
 
Rating: G8+
 
Release Date: July 28, 2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3/5


User Rating
5 total ratings

 

Positives


- It’s not too over-the-top unlike other skating games
- Map designs and replay editor complement each other well
- Killer soundtrack.

Negatives


- Not enough content at launch
- Analog stick flicks don’t always work properly
- Still plays like an early access game.


Posted July 30, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Skater XL started when some skaters that also happened to know how to code were frustrated at the lack of any good current-gen skating games. They created Easy Day Studios and went to work creating a skating game where all you do is skate. No story, no smashing through windows or saving the world, just skating.

The game was in Steam Early Access for more than a year and a half, but the developers finally decided to bite the bullet and get it ready for a full launch, also releasing it on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While they definitely succeeded in creating a stripped back raw skating game, there might not be enough there yet to justify its price tag.

Skater XL Review

Loading up Skater XL, you’ll be greeted with a basic tutorial to get you going. The controls are different to other skating games in that you control the way your feet interact with the board using the control sticks. This works well for replicating basic ollies and kickflips, though it doesn’t relate as realistically when attempting some of the more complicated tricks.

Each map also has a list of challenges which are basically a second tutorial that teaches you how to do some of the more complicated tricks. A ghost skater will show you how to do each trick, and the on-screen controller even shows you which buttons to press, so whether or not you’ve skated or played other skating games before, you’ll still pick up Skater XL in no time. This doesn’t always transfer to a neat ride though, and it does take some time, skill and planning to get your moves right. Also, the flicks of the analog sticks don’t always work how you think they will, and often the skater will nosedive into a ramp or faceplant into concrete. While it’s hilarious the first few times, it can become frustrating when you’re trying to nail some of the harder tricks.

The launch day version of Skater XL (patch 1.0.1.2) comes with five official maps and eight community maps. While each of the five official maps have varying environments, from a high school to city streets to a big ramp at a hidden location in the desert, the three community parks are disappointing to say the least. ‘Hudland’ is a tiny indoor skate park with limited maneuverability, while the other two are only slightly bigger street-style areas with uninspiring spots. With a huge and growing PC modding community which has made dozens of unique highly-rated maps, we’re wondering when exactly console players will get access to that library or get the tools to make their own maps. If maps are only added as a paid DLC trickle system, then we can’t see Skater XL doing particularly well on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Skater XL Review

While the maps aren’t particularly large or hard to traverse, sometimes you want to position yourself to try a perfect line to create that perfect replay for your socials. Skater XL has two tools that get you where you want to go. The Y button opens up a tool which allows you to quickly move around the map with a marker and then spawn your character in the direction the camera is facing. This is a great way to quickly get your head around the surroundings and find some of the best skating lines.

In addition to this, pushing up and down on the d-pad will save a new spawn location wherever your character currently is, and allow you to spawn back at it instantly. It’s kind of like the rewind feature we find in so many of today’s racing games, except even more customising, giving you the ability to pull off the best moves your way.

The replay mode is an important part of Skater XL because where would skating be today if we didn’t all watch Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen carving up the halfpipes and ramps of the 90s? We love watching other skaters nailing that perfect line that they practiced 50 times for. The one they grazed their hands or even broke a leg for. The video makes it all worthwhile, and that’s why Easy Day Studios created an in-depth replay editor which gives you full control over the camera, the ability to add keyframes, and trim down the clip so it starts and ends exactly when you want it to. A quick search on YouTube shows what the PC players have already been up to in Skater XL, and you should be confident knowing that you’ll be able to save that perfect video of your tricks using the tools at your disposal.

Skater XL Review

Achievements in Skater XL are noteworthy because of just how easy they all are to hunt. With just 22 achievements, some worth as much as 90 points and a “Get all achievements” achievement worth 180 points, achievement hunters will love Skater XL. If it were up to us, we would have had more map-related achievements such as completing all challenges on certain maps, or completing a certain amount of challenges, but it seems Easy Day Studios either didn’t care or didn’t realise that some people get more out of the game when they have things to work towards.

The visuals in Skater XL are very hit and miss. The environments look great at face value but eventually the inanimateness of it will get to you. Venturing outside the strict skating areas presented much lower resolution textures, and when exploring the map for a new drop point you can tell that this game isn’t polished. Its redeeming factor is the character models and skateboards look and move realistically, though the character models themselves aren’t that detailed. Everyone loves Tiago Lemos but with no story, speech or even basic reactions and animations, even the pro skaters themselves seem lifeless too.

Grinds, flips and general sounds that the board makes as you skate around the few maps on offer at launch are all authentic and the Skater XL soundtrack makes the whole experience all that more enjoyable. With bands like Interpol, STARHEADBODY, Kratos Himself and our favourites the Silversun Pickups, Skater XL brings us back fond memories of being a teenager.

Skater XL is a unique take on a market that certainly isn’t saturated. The Tony Hawk games have been so off the mark in recent years that they’ve resorted to remastering the classics, and although a new Skate is on its way, that’s all we know about it. Session was alright, but Skater XL won over fans on Steam Early Access. With 100,000 people in its Discord server, the Skater XL community is big and growing, but until we learn more about when console players will have access to all the content that PC players are creating, we can’t justify scoring this game any higher. Also, the fact that it still presents like an early access game makes the $79.95 AUD price tag ($56.95 AUD on Steam) seem quite steep, especially when it was only $28.95 AUD on Steam Early Access.

Skater XL Review

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed version 1.0.1.2 of Skater XL on Xbox One X in 4K with a review copy provided by the publisher. For more information on the game, head to the official website.


David Latham

 
David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?