Tony Hawk RIDE
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
While at E3, I saw Tony Hawk talk about RIDE as the next step in gaming innovation but since I couldn’t get a chance to try the game on the show floor, I had to put my excitement on hold. But I caught my break a bit later, as the game was on display at the Playstation Event in Toronto and after playing a 5 minute demo; my interest was definitely piqued. A few weeks later, I finally got to try Tony Hawk RIDE in the comfort of my living room. The verdict: a rather disappointing experience.
Tony Hawk RIDE comes bundled with a wireless skateboard controller. Featuring four external sensors and two internal accelerators, this peripheral is one incredible piece of technology. Before you can get started, however, the board requires a quick calibration set-up right from the start to make sure it responds to your every move during gameplay.
Each sensor on the deck has a specific purpose. For example, swinging your foot past the left or right sensors will perform a push while grab tricks can be executed by covering any sensor while your skater is in the air. Lift the board’s nose to perform ollies, and keep the board in that position to perform manuals. You can tilt the board from left to right to steer.
The Tony Hawk RIDE skateboard peripheral
Unfortunately, pretty is not necessarily perfect. What seems simple on paper, translates into an extremely difficult task. Not because the board isn’t responsive, far from it, it’s mainly because all six sensors are way too sensitive towards your movements on the board, making it impossible to play with any precision. Most of the basic tricks like ollies, grabs and manuals are easy to pull-off but it really comes down to steering and advanced trick variations, such as the incredibly hard-to-pull flick/tilt tricks. Just when you need to up the ante, the board suddenly refuses to follow your directions or simply pulls a series of random moves all by itself. The game does offer five different board set-ups that range from very loose to very tight but none of them seems to really help.
Oh, and according to Robomodo, the board can sustain a weight up to 300 pounds, just so you know.
TH RIDE comes in three difficulty flavours: Casual, Confident and Hardcore. While Casual is where you want to start in order to learn the board mechanics, the Confident setting seems to be the one where the game is the most enjoyable. At the Casual level, the game practically plays itself and that’s just not fun.
The game features two game modes, one being Road Trip, a sort of career mode, and Exhibition, a simple mode where you can skate in any level you unlock during Road Trip. Each mode has four different sessions: Challenge, Trick, Speed and Free Skate. Challenges are objective-based levels where you need to do get from A to B, performing tricks where floating icons tell you to. In Trick, you try to score as many points as possible within a time limit. Speed has you racing from point A to point B as fast as possible. And finally, Free Skate lets you do whatever you want in any level you previously unlocked.
The board responds extremely well to ollies and manuals
Based on my experience with the board, I’ve spent most of my time playing Trick because that was the only mode where the peripheral seemed to be responsive to my commands. Challenges were extremely frustrating, especially in the later levels, because it requires you to pull specific moves at a specific spot at the correct time. A Challenge course is usually made up of four goals. Like I said earlier, flick/tilt tricks being as difficult as they are, you can easily fail on the third trick of a challenge and if you miss it, you have to restart the course from the beginning. And if you manage to pull it off, chances are you were just lucky.
However, the next point is very important: if you happen to play in a poorly-lit room, the board won’t respond at all. Yes, you guessed it, the four external sensors are light sensors, so you better play in a room well lit or else, your initial difficulties will turn into an absolute nightmare.
To complete my research, I’ve put a few adult friends and some of the kids I coach in community basketball on the board, all with differing skateboarding backgrounds, to test the game and make sure it wasn’t just just me who sucked. A few hours of gameplay and a whole lot of cursing later, I came to the same result, and they had the same incredibly frustrating experience. So, if a guy like me, who has a serious gaming background and someone who doesn’t both have the same experience, who is this game for? Someone shelling out $130 for a game should get something that does exactly what the player wants and this just isn’t the case.
Putting all that in perspective and adding other nuisances like extremely long loading times, frequent re-calibrations and an awkward menu system, Tony Hawk RIDE is far from the fun experience I was promised.
Graphics & Sounds
Certainly the most welcomed change to the franchise is the cel-shading graphic presentation. However, the laughable ragdoll physics and poor collision detection mar what could have been a great visual experience. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are only a tad sharper than the Wii version. The differences are basically indistinguishable; it’s essentially the same game.
In terms of sounds, there’s random chatter from other skaters standing on the different courses and the varied soundtrack remains faithful to what past Tony Hawk games have had to date but there’s not a whole lot new there worth mentioning.
Unlike Rock Band, Guitar Hero and even DJ Hero as a long shot, parting with some of your hard-earned money for Tony Hawk RIDE (around $120 USD / $130 CDN) is a mistake. The hardcore gamer, whether he/she is a skateboarder or not, won’t have any fun here. And it won’t appeal to every member of the family either. What you’ve got here is a peripheral that will end up collecting dust in a closet shortly after you unpack it because no other game is compatible with, until the publisher decides otherwise.
Tony Hawk RIDE reminds me a lot of the Sega Activator; a great idea that will play a huge role in gaming hardware innovation but unfortunately way ahead of its time. This is the second time this year that Activision has managed to get a developer on board to create a gaming peripheral for a very niche kind of game. I have to give props to Tony Hawk and Robomodo for trying something different and pushing the boundaries. That’s what the gaming industry is supposed to be all about. Unfortunately, the price tag is far too high when you measure it against the fun you’ll ultimately have.
Peripheral-based games and motion control have been two of the most important developments in this console generation. By combining these two great ideas and merging them with a proven and established franchise, how could a company possibly go wrong? Think of it this way: if a console like the Wii is stuck with the 50+ mini-game collections, it’s because no one really knows how to create a great motion-controlled game yet. And while Microsoft and Sony are working hard at developing their own technologies, people are wondering if we are even READY to let standard controllers go.
In the know gamers, to you I say: spend your money on something else because you will end up regretting your purchase, and it’s too bad.
+ Cel-shading graphics are an interesting choice
+ Good Soundtrack
- Poor character physics
- Price too high
- Painful loading times, awkward menu system
- Extremely challenging and frustrating game
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Release Date : 2009/11/17
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Robomodo
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10