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Tony Hawk: Ride Review

Tony Hawk Ride, is it worth it? In short, no, but allow me to explain my abrupt answer. There was a lot of mixed feelings when the Ride controller was first announced, a mixture of anticipation for a new dimension in skateboarding games, and trepidation for a control system that could damage reputations of Activision, the Tony Hawk series and also the man himself who endorses the game.
When I got the opportunity to review this game, I knew that it would lean more towards the review of the board and how it performs in the game rather than a review of the software alone. For this I decided it would be best to get more than just my own opinion on the board, thereforeI got a group together so I could compile everyone's views into a more rounded set of feedback.

Tony Hawk Ride

On first inspection I could feel that the board was constructed to handle a lot of abuse, nothing really felt cheap or nasty and had a nice weight to it. There's four sensors on the board, one at the nose, one at the tail and one on either side, while all the controller buttons were located on one side of the board with the start button oversized on purpose so it may be operated by your foot while playing. The battery compartment to power the board is on the bottom and requires a small-ish Philips head screw driver to remove a screw before access is gained to install your supplied batteries or replace them when required.
I also had a handful of Velcro strips with the package too, well when I say Velcro strips I mean the furry half of a Velcro strip. The idea being you stick these on the bottom of the board so it theoretically should not mark non-carpeted flooring such as your wood laminates etc.

Tony Hawk Ride

With batteries installed, I fired up the game hoping to jump straight into the action only to be met by the voice of Mr. Hawk himself telling me that we needed to calibrate the controller. Make sure you have plenty of space around yourself so that no furniture can be detected by the sensors. I would recommend about a metre radius to ensure nothing gets picked up. Once the tedious calibration is finished, I set about the task of getting into the game and generally have a good cock about the place. Here I made my first mistake, never ever, EVER play this in your socks, you'll just slide about on the board, even with its supposedly grippy surface and I slipped off and fell on my larger than average posterior. Definitely play this bare foot or in shoes/trainers/wellies/winkle pickers* (* delete as appropriate). While being on the more portly side of body types it was reassuring to know that the board sufficiently took my pie consuming mass with ease and showed no sign of weakness after a good few stomps from myself.

Tony Hawk Ride

Obviously you stand on this thing like you were standing on a real skateboard, the aforementioned sensors on the front and sides detects your hands as if you were attempting to grab that area to initiate a trick, while raising the nose and lowering it makes you Ollie your board onscreen. In reality this system was more miss than hit for all of our players using the board: the youngest of the group had to take, on average, two to three attempts at an Ollie before the game responded to his request, additionally he was so light on the board that it was literally moving across the carpet forcing him to get off, reposition it then getting back on, disrupting his flow of the game. This definitely frustrated him as concentration levels on the game dropped dramatically while he fought with the board more and more, exacerbating his temper to the point where he just gave up and walked off.

Tony Hawk Ride 

Not a great start for the title, next up we had a teenager play the game who had better success on executing the Ollie (perhaps its a weight related issue in raising the nose?) yet still failed miserably on turning the in-game character, even at the point of her nearly falling off the board with it being tilted so much it still felt sluggish. Again this meant her interest in the game dropped quickly and she vanished out of the room to tend to her precious Sims. Ok, two down with myself to go.

I get on and have no problem executing Ollie's and grinds etc, but the lack of response on pulling off tricks and still suffering from sluggish turns definitely marred my own experience. However wishing to give this the old college try I persevered with the game, trying out the different control difficulty levels and events, which brings me onto the game itself.

In the game you have three main modes: Challenge, Trick and Speed. Challenge mode gives you predetermined objectives to complete ranging from landing and Ollie to grinding through an eye of needle while whistling Auld Lang Syne backwards. Trick mode gives you a set amount of time to perform as many tricks as possible to get a high score, while Speed mode is simply a race against the clock with pick-ups along your route which either takes time off or puts time onto your clock, modifying your overall time for the course. Completing these modes allows you to unlock more area's to skate in and unlocking other skaters. While the mechanics of the game are solid enough in regards to completing objectives to further your career is consistent with previous titles, the sole use of using the board as your controller is the weakest link. In previous titles, players knew how to do tricks using the controller and could flip their way to victory till the cows come home. In Ride it's a completely different kettle of fish and may deter those who enjoy skating games who aren't necessarily a hardcore skater themselves as they do not know how to do the tricks on a board.

Tony Hawk Ride 

As for the board controls, you have 3 levels of freedom to choose from. Casual which turns the game into an on rails skater where you just concentrate on tricks while the game controls your movement. Confident which releases you from the constraints of the previous level and allows you to freely roam about but will guide you into tricks such as grinds while Hardcore essentially leaves you to your own accord. While i had varying success with the real world environments performing the challenges etc. I did however have more success in the half pipe section of the game and managed to push out a fairly respectable performance in terms of tricks and points. It felt strangely more responsive in half pipe than a street scenario, to which even now I cannot explain why.

Graphically the game is like an Army grunt, it does not look pretty but it gets the job done. there's nothing ground breaking or anything of a visually impressive nature, it seems more time was made on making the game playable than pretty, so don't expect eyeball melting visuals from this one. the licensed soundtrack used to accompany your skating time is nothing to write home about either, it's just there and it is functional.

Tony Hawk Ride

I do appreciate developers trying something new and on paper Tony Hawk Ride was definitely an exciting prospect, yet it's a big ask for the general public to shell out around £100 for a game with a not so great peripheral - which only works with that specified game and nothing else - makes this game an avoidable product. Perhaps if the board was bundled with a pack of games which utilised it, such as skateboarding, snowboarding and perhaps some mini-games akin to how the Wii was bundled with Wii sports to help show off the control method of that product, then maybe it would have been more appealing but as it stands I would only recommend this one if it appeared on sale below the £40 mark. The final question would be, if you are a hardcore skater, why bother with this when you could just go outside to skate?

4.00/10 4

Tony Hawk: Ride (Reviewed on Xbox 360)

Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.

Tony Hawk Ride, is it worth it? In short, no, but allow me to explain my abrupt answer. There was a lot of mixed feelings when the Ride controller was first announced, a mixture of anticipation for a new dimension in skateboarding games, and trepidation for a control system that could damage reputations of Activision, the Tony Hawk series and also the man himself who endorses the game.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Staff Writer

A purveyor of strange alcoholic mixes and a penchant for blowing shit up in games. Proud member of the glorious PC master race.

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ExcessNeo - 11:48pm, 3rd April 2015

It's something I'd like to give a go, but it's not something I see myself splashing out the money for.

Angelfromabove - 11:48pm, 3rd April 2015

A good review Wedge, i did wonder how this was going to turn out i must admit. Seems there isnt a huge amount of value for money here, i know i would want something more for the £100 price tag.