>> Tony Hawk: Ride (2009)

E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)

Title: Tony Hawk: Ride

Genre: Arcade, Sports

Publisher: Activision

Available Consoles: Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Reviewed Consoles: Playstation 3

Ship Date: November 17, 2009

Players: 1-8

Rating: 1.80 (out of 4.00)

Grade: C-

Official Site

Tony Hawk's games have taken a tumble as of late but that hasn't stopped him (or rather Activision) from releasing them.  The Tony Hawk brand used to be the go-to for the so called "extreme" sport of skateboarding,  His "Pro Skater" franchise was innovative and addicting which led way to his groundbreaking, yet short, "Underground" series which quickly took a downturn with it's sequel. 

Then came the underwhelming "American Wasteland" which lasted only one title to quickly make way for the graphics-heavy "Project 8" (and coinciding "Downhill Jam for the kiddies).  After a long teaser for 'Project 8', it failed to live up to expectations, throwing the "Tony Hawk" video game franchise into serious jeapardy.  At this point, something drastic was needed in order to compete with all of the peripheral-heavy games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution and the Wii in general. 

With peripheral in mind, the creation of "Tony Hawk: Ride" was announced, complete with a full size skateboard (with, of course, no wheels).  The idea, again, brought innovation to the brand but I went in as a skeptic, thinking that it was possibly just one last gimick in order to save a franchise that was clearly on it's last legs.

First off, I have a complaint, and this is an enormous complaint.  In this game, you can ONLY use the board, you don't have the option of using a controller.  This is a problem for many reasons.  One, you can't just simply pick up the game, you have to buy the full $100+ set.  You can't, in a few weeks, go and buy the game used, you will have to find the board as well (which, most used gaming stores don't sell used peripherals).  And, you can't just pick up the controller and play like old days if you aren't feeling the energy to stand up on a board for a few hours.

Second, the board itself has a few issues that could become problematic down the road.  It is slippery, even with the included "grip tape" (which is essentially, the soft side of velcro).  This tape is supposed to help the board stick to hardwood or vinyl flooring but the board still slips out of place more than it stays put, paving the way for easy injury or a damaged TV or board.  The feel of the board also makes it easy for actual skaters to want to do real ollies, which can, again, cause severe damage to yourself or the board.  Unlike the drums on Rock Band, playing with this peripheral in the incorrect way (though correct in "real life") can prove to be uncooperative, at the very least.

Now, on with the game itself.  The graphics don't really improve from previous incarnations but the glitches are certainly taken up a notch.  At various times, you will find yourself having to restart because you will have no choice but to be thrown into a wall over and over as you try to take off.  Even if you do the moves correctly, it will miss a lot of cues, bringing your score down or having you to redo missions over and over.

All in all, this game is a lot more frustrating than fun.  It has a feeling that it is geared more toward younger kids than teens and older, but the safety issue becomes more prevalent at that age.  Tony Hawk: Ride is a nice idea, it just doesn't feel fully executed or thought out that well as it seems more of the last ditch effort I was fearing it would be than a rejuvenation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The grading is based on your setup and patience.  If you can tinker with it and have the right setup at home then this game can be quite fun.  The game deserves a higher grade based on innovation but, ultimately, the grade shown is for the game as a whole.



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