Still haven’t found Animal Chin. Review

Grind Session Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 16

Publisher

  • Sony

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS

rating

Still haven’t found Animal Chin.

Well, it’s official. After about a fifteen year lay off (since the arcade smash

720), skateboarding is making a comeback as a viable video game genre.

The reason? Four words: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

THPS took the gaming world by storm last year, capturing countless game

of the year awards (including Game Revolution’s PSX Game of The Year)

and selling like hotcakes. Rightfully so, I might add. It’s simply one of the

best games to grace the Playstation.

Grind Session, however, isn’t. That’s not to say that Sony’s highly

imitative skateboarding game is a failure. In fact, it offers several cool features

not found in any other skating game, THPS included. But bells and whistles

do not a great game make, and even Grind Session‘s hard-ass attitude

cannot deal with mediocrity… uh… dude.

The game features a number of ‘pro’ skaters, though only die-hard skate fanatics

will recognize John Cardiel, Daewon Song, Willy Santos or the aptly named Pigpen.

Most gamers could care less about this kind of thing anyway, as the game itself

is the star.

Grind Session simply has a ton of gameplay features. You can

participate in a Tournament to open new levels, practice moves in Free Skate,

test your skills in Endurance mode, or compete with up to 16 (!) friends in

5 different turn-based multiplayer games.

Each level has 4 goals to fulfill: Score Trick points, Pro points, Vandal points

and complete Tech Lines. Doing so gains you Respect points, which then open

up more levels and goodies.

Yes, I said ‘Respect’ points. Because, after all, skating is all about earning

respect. Oh, and vandalizing.

Knocking over boxes, trashcans, bottles or whatever other debris litters the

level scores Vandal points. Ah yes, a reward for being “bad.” I can just see

the suits dreaming that one up: “Hey Bob! I got a fabbo idea! Y’know, those

skater kids are always breaking things and being a nuisance, right? So let’s

make being BAD a GOOD thing! That would be good! I mean bad! You know how those

wacky kids talk! Harharhar! Anyway, it would be keen! Let’s have a meeting.”

Ugh. Spare me the transparent attitude next time, ‘kay Bob?

One new feature introduced in Grind Session is the Tech Line. While

you can skate just about anywhere, certain ledges, ramps, or objects are strung

together into technical lines. Completing a full line gives you added time.

This is a very cool way of nudging the gamer into exploring parts of the levels

that might normally be missed.

Skateboarding

is all about control, and it is here where Grind Session eats some pavement.

While the button layout and trick system is intuitive (i.e. just like THPS),

the physics are wacky and unrealistic. You’ll often float through the air like

a feather. Grinding rails is very unsatisfying, as your board barely looks likes

it’s touching anything. Frankly, the game doesn’t feel like skating.

Though it does look like it. The graphics are adequate, if hardly comparable

to that other game (okay, okay, that’s the last reference – maybe.) The

skaters look decent, though a bit ragged around the edges. The framerate is

not great and occasionally things get choppy. But most of this is due to the

limited Playstation power, as Grind Session packs a lot of stuff into

each level.

The level design is very good, with a variety of hard to reach places that

will truly test your skating skills. Several of the levels have hidden areas,

so exploration is key.

Grind Session is difficult. Trying to meet the requirements to pass

each level is daunting, and I still have no idea how to reach some of the astronomical

Pro point totals. Practice makes perfect, but perfection also requires patience,

something you’ll quickly run out of when attempting to nail all of the tech

lines in one level over and over again.

The depth is really impressive. After completing the levels, you’ll eventually

open up your mansion, [Is that anything like Barbie’s Dream House? ~Ed]

which then requires you to perfect the levels to gain keys, which in turn are

used to open doors in the house to gain coins, which are then presumably used

to buy more coffee to keep you awake as you play this much Grind Session.

But you gotta give ’em credit for effort.

The variety continues as the game also comes packaged with a Create-a-skater

feature. While you can customize your move list, you can’t tweak your skater’s

appearance or skills, leaving a lot to be desired.

What would a skating game be without music? For starters, it would be much

more quiet, and in many ways, more enjoyable. This one comes packaged with a

good mix of punk and rap, including Black Flag, NOFX, KRS-One, and Dr. Octagon.

Really gets you in the mood to score some more Vandal points! Yeah, Beavis!

Knock over more trashcans! Yeah! Woohoo! I’m an angry skater, and I don’t like

The Man, or his damn trashcans!

Grind Session has enough depth and gameplay features to warrant a try,

and in the end is a decent game. But compared to the Pro Skater, this

is an amateur.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Gameplay galore
Tech Lines!
Really hard
Shaky control
Too much 'tude, dude.