There’s a saying that goes, “If you don’t love skateboarding… you’re wrong.” For the bulk of my life, I believed this to be true, but when you’re referencing Skater XL as the skateboarding in which you don’t like, then you’re probably absolutely right in saying that. Here we have a skateboarding game that was hyped up and got everyone finally off of a 10 year old game (Skate 3) and trying something new. At first, the game seemed to have the potential I needed to keep me entertained, but the lack of level design, inability to leave my board and walk around, alongside the aggressive physics engine… I ended up becoming bored of this game relatively quickly. Can the game be good? I’m hopeful, but at launch the game itself does not match up to the $39.99 price tag and I can only imagine that once the fourth installment of Skate launches, Skater XL will be uninstalled from almost everyone’s consoles simply because it missed the mark and can’t overcome another game with a better development team.

This may be a new team of developers who don’t have much experience, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that they’re charging way too much for a game that’s extremely bare bones on console and has more options and, you could argue, is better on PC.

Level Design

I don’t believe skateboarding games need to be loaded with different types of content, but I do hope to have a bit more freedom with my character, more customization options, and better levels to navigate through. The level design is as close to terrible as terrible can be. They have a certain layout that is so basic that the most appealing thing to skate is a low, straight rail on a flat surface area. This kind of content is fun for about 5 minutes before you want to shut your console off or play something else.

In-Game Mechanics

I had made reference earlier to the physics engine in the game. When I’m talking about this, I’m specifically talking about your skateboard and the freedom you have regarding tricks. In Skater XL, you have the option to use the thumbsticks on your controller to perform copious amounts of tricks. The left analog is associated to your left foot, while the right focuses on your right foot. You’ll also notice that the left analog stick associates itself to the flipping of the board, while the right focuses on the spinning of it. This allows for you to have the freedom to perform the exact trick you’d like, while also monitoring the speed and rotation of that trick to create more appealing versions of that trick, or a whole different trick altogether. It may take some time to master, but once you understand the controls, you have the most freedom in a skateboarding game since, of course, Skate 3.

In-Game Audio

Most reviews don’t focus on the audio aspect of skateboarding games, but this one does a good job of showcasing the different sounds of your skateboard and the surrounding area. You’ll notice the soundtrack for the game may seem good at first when you hear a song or two, but then realize it doesn’t get any better. Skateboarding games are known for having those old-school, pop punk songs alongside some awesome classical rock tunes as well. Without this, it makes it difficult to feel as though you’re making a skate video as you skate throughout Skater XL’s terrible level designs.

Skater XL: Final Verdict

Skater XL is a game that I believe you’ll continue to see every few years. Regardless, I fear that with EA Sports returning to the Skate series and Tony Hawk making a return this year as well, this game will soon find itself at the bottom of the totem pole, trying to find the development and marketing team capable of competing with AAA title skateboarding games. If you have a PC and purchase this game, then you’ll more than likely enjoy it more being as you have the option to download mods for the game, creating an environment you want to skate instead of being forced to play these garbage level designs on console. Should you purchase the game? Yes and No. if you’re a big skateboarding fan or enjoy games like this for time killing purposes, then this is for you. I just don’t believe the price tag of $39.99 makes sense for the console version because it still feels so incomplete. I expected a fully designed game, not what appears to be a tech demo.

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