Are you craving the nostalgic vibes and the adrenaline rush from the golden days of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater? The thrill of landing the perfect trick, the frustration of missing the simplest grind, the sheer joy of finally nailing that combo you’ve been practicing for hours, all set to a killer soundtrack? Now, combine those thrilling memories with the breathtaking immersion of virtual reality. Welcome to VR Skater for PSVR2, the game that seamlessly brings together our love for skateboarding with the game-changing potential that only VR can offer.
As I stepped into the world of VR Skater, I was made aware of my passionate commitment to perfection as a completionist. I caught myself replaying the same tricks until they were executed flawlessly. Despite its imperfections, which I’ll delve into later, there’s no denying that this game offers the most life-like skateboarding experience available in VR. The skating days of ripped trousers and scraped knees from my real-life teenage years might be in the past, but the way VR Skater recreates those moments is uncanny. Using your arms instead of your legs might raise an eyebrow. Still, I assure you that the game’s ingenious design will deceive your senses in the most delightful manner.
Get your VR headset on and prepare to glide through an experience that is as close to real skating as it gets, without the ripped pants and the pain of falling.
VR Skater gameplay and the pursuit of perfection
The main menu will present you with an Academy, a Los Franconias Tour, a Leaderboard (opening soon), a Shop with a variety of cool customizations you can unlock, and Bonus Maps (currently, only one is available).
Within the Academy, there’s an array of tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced and pro levels. It also hosts challenges and a Free Practice mode in the Warehouse, where all tutorials take place. Each tutorial offers a video demonstration of the gesture-based controls required for the VR controllers. You can grasp the beginner and advanced tricks with some perseverance but be warned: the “pro” tutorials are pretty challenging.
Compared to the Tony Hawk franchise, this game doesn’t boast as expansive a trick repertoire. However, it’s reasonable, considering it’s the game’s first foray into motion control in a genre typically rooted in button combos. The absence of features like half pipes and skate pools is noticeable, though; only kicker ramps make an appearance. Additionally, I hope future updates will better harness the PSVR2’s haptic potential.
The gestures register impressively. Initially, they may seem awkward, leading you to question the game’s functionality when in reality, it’s all about practice. As you familiarize yourself and build muscle memory, maneuvers become instinctive. My recommendation? Dive deep into the Academy’s tutorials and the Tour’s spot challenges, repeating until they are second nature. It is an extremely rewarding experience that beautifully echoes the essence of real skating. Each objective presents a suitable challenge, often achievable with dedication. However, some may find the difficulty off-putting; it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
In the Tour of VR Skater, players will navigate through seven distinct maps: a welcoming neighborhood, a vibrant school, a business district, the serene docks, a gritty industrial area, an underground subway, and a hazard-filled construction site. Unlike games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, these maps have a clear start and finish, requiring players to move in a straightforward, linear fashion, a design choice that some may find limiting. However, there’s a silver lining: an additional bonus map brimming with massive ramps, tailor-made for those keen on pulling off extended trick combos. It’s worth noting that this bonus map doesn’t come with scoring or the typical game modes found in the main Tour. This oversight can be easily patched in a future update. In the Tour, the four modes to be conquered are Spot Challenge, Street Run, Best Trick and Sudden Death.
VR Skater is a goldmine for the dedicated gamers out there with a thirst for perfection. It becomes an addictive pursuit of repetition and practice, striving to snatch those coveted golden medals and trophies. Be prepared, though, for the difficulty curve can be quite unpredictable, with some map locations genuinely testing your skills. However, for those who have played their fair share of skating games, you should find VR Skater approachable. You can swiftly go through all tutorials and earn bronze medals in Academy and Tour Spot Challenges. Devote some time, and soon enough, you’ll have unlocked all the game maps, including the bonus one.
The game boasts sharp visuals and smooth framerates. Some environments, though, come off as generic, with noticeable variations in detail and realism among 3D models. I occasionally pondered if certain assets were repurposed with minor color, texture, or dimension tweaks. While the graphics aren’t top-tier, they surpass many other PSVR2 games in quality and succeed in delivering a highly immersive experience. Notably, I experienced a real sense of vertigo during high jumps or grinds. I also experienced an initial feeling of dizziness from the rapid movement through dense areas. Fortunately, this discomfort subsided as I continued playing.
While VR Skater’s limited content feels more like a captivating VR skating demo than a fully featured game, it undoubtedly leaves an impression. VR Skater offers an outstanding experience while it lasts. Its longevity and appeal hinge mainly on your commitment as a completionist and your prowess in mastering the nuanced, gesture-based tricks. For me, every moment within its virtual world was a joy, and by the end, I can’t wait for more.
Here’s where the excitement kicks in! Exciting developments are just around the bend. Starting September 4th, the Leaderboards will be unveiled, adding a competitive edge as players chase those high scores. Even better, there’s a thrilling expansion on the horizon. The developers have announced the addition of three new environments or maps in the upcoming months. So, gear up and stay tuned because VR Skater is set to ramp up its game!
At its core, VR Skater on PSVR2 might currently feels like a tantalizing teaser of the vast potential of VR skating rather than a comprehensive gaming experience. But don’t let its brevity deceive you. Every moment spent in this world is charged with exhilaration. While my time with the game was brief, it was intensely enjoyable. It’s a testament to the game’s allure that even after the final trick, I craved more, hungry to dive back into its immersive gameplay. This might be just a glimpse of what’s possible in the VR skating universe, but it’s a glimpse that’s absolutely worth your time.
In the canon of skateboarding games, I consider the gold standard to be held by Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, which remains a dazzling treat on the latest-gen consoles and PC. But for those seeking to break free from the familiar button-mashing choreography of the past twenty-five years and venture into a realm of deep immersion and virtual reality thrills, VR Skater shows the ambition to be a serious contender. While it might not boast perfection, and its gameplay might be somewhat limited, VR Skater on PSVR2 is your ticket to a brief yet absolutely exhilarating escape. If you're hungry for a skateboarding experience that feels like the future while cherishing the sport's essence, give VR Skater a whirl. You won't be disappointed.