Tony Hawk Ride is the ultimate triumph of gimmick over game. The concept: Build a skateboard peripheral that lets players simulate skateboarding in their living rooms. The result: half-functioning hardware that fails to function with consistency and a shallow game devoid of excitement. Vert skating and free skating are the only sources of mild enjoyment here, but the fun is too short lived to justify the whopping $120 price tag. The Birdman was once associated with video game greatness, but this is the worst game yet in a declining franchise, and the result is a massive train wreck.
6241972PlayStation 3 owners get the extra thrill of more brief pauses in the middle of tricks.None
It's impossible to separate the board from the game. After all, Tony Hawk Ride must be played with the included skateboard peripheral, and for the time being at least, the peripheral cannot be used with any other game. It takes some time to get used to the feel of the board, though your skating career begins with a number of tutorials that help you get on your feet, so to speak. From there, it's a matter of completing races, performing tricks for points, and nailing short challenges as you trudge your way through Ride's single-player experience. Fortunately, the peripheral is easy to set up and physically solid. It also feels weighty and resilient, as if ready to withstand hours of punishment.
Yet while the hardware can take a beating, the oft-useless board all too often fails to read your movements with the precision necessary for the game to deliver any amount of fun. Manuals, ollies, and nollies are relatively simple to pull off. You perform manuals much as you'd expect: by raising the nose or tail of the board in the air and holding the position. You do ollies by popping the nose into the air, while nollies, of course, are executed by popping up the tail. Expectedly, ollies and nollies form the core of your move set, but when Tony Hawk Ride starts expecting you to pull off anything more precise, it collapses. The game separates flip tricks into two types: tilt and flick. You perform tilt tricks (like standard kick flips) by performing an ollie or nollie and tilting the board once you're airborne. Flick tricks (like 360 flips and impossibles) occur when you move the nose or tail from side to side after an ollie or nollie. But getting the game to recognize your motions properly is futile. Tilt tricks register as flick tricks more often than not, which in turn leads to constant failure when the game demands any kind of precision.
Tricks that involve the infrared sensors on the front, back, and sides of the peripheral are just as arbitrary, working only some of the time. You swipe or hover your hand over these sensors when you want to perform finger flips and grabs. But these moves aren't consistent. Even when the icon at the bottom of the screen indicates that you have activated the sensor, you will often still fail to perform the trick properly. This baffling issue is compounded by the half-second or so delay between the movement you perform on the board and the action that occurs onscreen. If you fail the trick, you're never sure whether you swiped your hand across the sensor too early, held it there too long, or your movement wasn't recognized at all. Eventually, challenges will require you to flip the board 90 degrees for board slides, and perform advanced tricks after setting one up by hovering a hand (or a foot) over a sensor before your ollie. Stringing tricks together can be a nightmare no matter how agile you are because you absolutely cannot depend on the board to communicate your wishes to the game.