The Tony Hawk franchise is back on the scene after a few quiet years and some below par releases. The game itself is nothing new or different in comparison to the previous incarnations of this series, but the control system has been repackaged into an interactive skateboard controller. I know some of you are probably thinking, dear god not another peripheral, but you’ll forget all that when you jump on and start playing. At first its pretty hard getting used to the movements of the board, so you should make sure that nothing breakable is in the near vicinity.
It’s similar to the wii balance board, only much more difficult to balance on, especially because the moves you need to do while on it, consist of tipping the front of the board up and twisting it to the side. It takes a a lot of practice.
The board isn’t some cheap piece of crap either. It’s solid and feels like it could take a battering. It has 4 sensors at the front, back and both sides for performing grab tricks, but these can be problematic if your too close to other objects.
I cant say that the board and game actually come anywhere close to real life skateboarding, but it is an enjoyable game due to the interactivity. The game has 3 difficulty settings – Casual, Confident and Hardcore. With the Casual setting the player doesn’t have to deal with steering, instead focusing on tricks alone. This is very helpful to start with. The Confident setting lets the player branch out on their own a little more, with the player taking control of the steering and the computer helping by nudging you in the right direction. Hardcore is hardcore. Your in full control! (I’ll warn the tarmac that your face is on its way.)
You can choose to create a skater or pick from a list of well known boarders, including Tony Hawk (obviously!), Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, P-Rod and Daewon Song. You’ll be taking your chosen skater around a variety of levels set across the world, from the US to Japan, each level having its own specific show and features. Also, the soundtrack is full of great songs to get your skate on to, with Queens of the Stone age, The Raconteurs, The Stooges, NOFX, Mgmt and Green Day all making an appearance.
When Ride was released in November 09, it got a pretty frosty reception, with reviewers picking at specific faults with the design and gameplay, all of which could be considered standard game issues that most games suffer from. To judge this game fairly, you need to take the every aspect of the experience into consideration. Sure it might not have the best graphics (the developers were never going for realism) and the board technology isn’t perfected yet, but get a small group of friends round and i guarantee you will have a good time playing this game.