VR Skater on PSVR2 is shaping up to be the VR Tony Hawk game you’ve always wanted

I have a lot of fond memories of playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on PS1. Those hazy days spent huddled around a tiny TV while my mates and I chatted about shit and competed for high scores to the game’s punk rock tune were quiet and full of laughter.

It feels as though those days of shoulder-to-shoulder passing action are long gone though, something I’m not sure modern generations will experience the way I did. You know, with that there’s fast internet and all this futuristic nonsense that we have right now.

But of course with every loss from future bullshit comes a gain, and that very gain is virtual reality, the very thing that has allowed the VR Skater to be such a thing. VR Skater is a VR skateboarding game (obviously) that does a pretty good job of translating this Tony Hawk gameplay episode into a VR experience and on this week’s episode of VR Corner (above) you can watch me play through a build preview of the upcoming PSVR2 port.

The Mega Ramp is a lot of fun, but the ride to it is over in seconds. What can I offer for a longer, more extreme version of this or even a sandbox skate park to run around in.

If the name VR Skater sounds familiar to you, it might be because DEFICIT has been making its way through Steam Early Access since 2021. Despite some negative reviews due to a severe lack of updates, the overall consensus for the PC VR version is still “positive.” Very”, which means I was “very eager” to try out a demo of the PSVR2 port that the game’s publisher, Perp Games, gave me.

While the VR Skater build I played was bare-bones in terms of content to experience – limited to a tutorial, two free-roam-only courses and the ‘Mega Ramp’ bonus, there was still a lot of game for me to get to grips with. And by ‘handle’, I mean bumping into several things over and over while sweating hard.

As you can see, the VR Skater is definitely on the more extreme side of the VR spectrum in terms of physical movements as you have to use your arms to control both the speed of the board and any tricks you attempt. Once you determine which riding position you want to go to (foolish or normal), board acceleration is achieved by swinging the controller back in a way that mimics how your legs would push against the concrete below you if you were skateboarding in real life.

Using your arms to do something your legs should technically be doing takes some getting used to, but honestly, part of the fun of VR Skater is the repetition involved in learning how to stabilize your run and land most points-worthy tricks. Just like on PS1 Tony Hawk, the initial skills are relatively easy to learn but then the real addictive challenge comes from learning how to pull off a few tricks and building up that muscle memory until it becomes an unstoppable scoring machine.

Visually, there’s not much to shout about in VR Skater, but the simplistic graphics are another thing that helps encapsulate the early 2000’s skateboard game vibe.

As you’ll see from the video above, if you’re anything like me, building that muscle memory will take some time. there a lot To think about every training session. You will need to remember to steer, and load your firsts or nollies before each jump You will need to remember which arm to swing and in which direction to swing if you want to perform a particular trick in the air And You’ll also need to remember which face buttons to press on the Sense controls if you want to grind through a railroad in a certain way.

Fortunately, the VR Skater’s motion controls are very responsive on PSVR2 and I rarely felt like my bails were related to anything other than user error. Any lack of controller precision in a game that demands speed and precision like VR Skater can completely ruin the experience, but once I learned the ropes, the control scheme felt solid and precise, even if my skills weren’t quite on the board.

Because of this, I think VR Skater gives you a bang for your buck when you finally start getting some competent combos. Just like skateboarding in real life I fell so hard I managed to handle everything but in the VR Corner video above you can hear me gasp for joy at least twice during my run when I put a few tricks in a row and I feel the play ring start to click .

Each track has ramps and jumps around the location in which it is set, so, at the docks for example, you can expect to flip and grind shipping containers and old boat parts.

While my initial thoughts about the VR Skater based on the preview demo I played were mostly positive, the game isn’t without its problems at the moment. I’m not sure how old the build I played, but with the proposed June 21st release date approaching so quickly, there seems to be a lot of polishing that needs to be done in the short space of time. The majority of the errors were minor things like misspellings in the tutorial text, but a few graphical firs wouldn’t be amiss either. I mention it in the video but the levels feel a bit devoid of life and visually it’s nowhere near as exciting as the gameplay.

I also think the learning curve might be a bit steep for new adopters of PSVR2 who tend to be more casual gamers than PC VR users. On Steam, VR Skater describes itself as ‘a delicate mix of arcade and simulation’, but it certainly leans more towards the simulation part. This makes the experience of preparing for the trial even more stressful than say, a driving game like GT7 that you can boot yourself into and start driving. A simplified control scheme for beginners who might be using a DualSense instead of full motion controls would allow people to get a feel for the game faster and would definitely be more welcoming than having to learn the ropes through hours of constantly hitting obstacles as you make spaghetti shapes with your arms.

Overall, VR Skater looks to be an exciting and unique addition to the PSVR2 library and something that will add some much needed variety to the games offered there. If you enjoy the physical side of VR, or just want to feel what it’s like to be Tony Hawk, without risking multiple hospital visits, then you should definitely keep this on your radar.

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