Wii

North America

Tony Hawk: Ride

by Neal Ronaghan - February 21, 2010, 1:39 pm PST
Total comments: 9

4.5

Not every sports star can take a year off and still perform at a high level.

The dust has settled and the apparent critical conclusion is that Tony Hawk: Ride is a bad game. After playing it a lot and looking at it months removed from the harsh post-launch criticism, it still isn't a very good game. However, Tony Hawk: Ride on Wii is an interesting take on the extreme sports genre, and the skateboard peripheral has a lot of future potential. Unfortunately, this first attempt isn't too swift.

There are three different difficulty settings that change how your character controls, but I was only able to reach any success with the easiest difficulty level that leads you on a pre-determined branching path. The other two put you in full control of your character, and it quickly becomes difficult to keep him straight or turn with any kind of consistency. If you are an actual skateboarding pro you might be able to use those controls, but you'd be better off just actually skateboarding if that's the case.

The game's main problems stem from the lack of precision of the skateboard controller. The tricks can be boiled down to three standard types that are familiar to veterans of the series: grabs, flips, and grinds. Flips are the focal point of Ride, as you pop up on the front or back of the controller and then tilt or turn the board from side-to-side. The game and peripheral simulate the act of doing this well, but it is extremely difficult to differentiate between each trick.

There are challenges in the game that require you to perform a specific trick, usually broken down as a turn or tilt. These are frustrating since you think you're doing one action, but it is read as another. The lack of an in-game trick list is even more maddening; there could be a challenge that requires you to do a Pop Shove-It, yet there is no in-game clue as to how to perform it.

Grabs are even less responsive than flips, as you have to hold your hand over one of the four sensors on each side of the board to little success. I am a little over six feet tall, and I had an exorbitant amount of trouble trying to perform grabs this way. From seeing other people play it, it seems to register better when you're shorter. I ended up just holding my foot over a sensor to perform grabs, which worked well.

Ride is split up into two different sections: street and vert. Street makes up the majority of the game, and is comprised of race-like levels as well as sandbox areas. This is easily the best part of Ride, as the levels are suitably crazy and interesting, especially as you progress later into the game. Vert is a drag, as every instance of it is the same, and the controls are changed in a jarring manner. You basically need to learn a different style of control for it that requires you to turn the board so that it is positioned parallel to your television, which and switches around some of the commands.

The Wii version of Tony Hawk: Ride has an exclusive Mii mode in which you can play the game as your Mii or pro skater Miis. This is truly a throwaway mode, as it remains under lock and key until you complete levels in the main mode, and the only difference in the levels is that you play as a Mii. There is also a multiplayer mode that can be played with eight people alternating. It's amusing, but not for too long.

Tony Hawk: Ride has a myriad of problems ranging from control issues to design issues, but the game is still fun at times, particularly when it doesn't require you to perform specific tricks. You might not know what you're doing, but you can have a great time zipping around the imaginative levels popping the board in the air and spinning it every which way. Regardless, this is a poor return for the Tony Hawk franchise, and the only bright side to this game is that they might make a better version in the future.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 8 4 5 4 4.5
Graphics
6

The graphics are bland since there doesn't seem to be a cohesive art style. It runs smoothly, though.

Sound
8

The soundtrack is varied with about 50 songs. However, "Zero" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs seemed to play every time I went to the main menu.

Control
4

Despite boasting a cool new peripheral, the controls are awful, lacking precision as well as any clear in-game explanation of how to execute moves.

Gameplay
5

It's a lot of fun to screw around in Ride without doing anything explicit, but if you set out to learn the game inside and out you'll find nothing but frustration. As a result, there is little to no depth here.

Lastability
4

The levels are in short supply, and the multiplayer mode is forgettable. You can go back to try to beat your high scores and play the levels with Miis after you beat them, but there is no other reason to go back.

Final
4.5

Tony Hawk: Ride is a shocking misstep for the franchise. It introduces a new controller and a convoluted control scheme that doesn't work too well. There are brief moments of amusement, but this ride is not worth it.

Summary

Pros
  • Amusing level designs
  • Fun at times
Cons
  • Hard to perform moves accurately with skateboard controller
  • No in-game trick list
  • Vert levels are awkward
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 21, 2010

Guess you won't be friends with Mr. Hawk anymore, Neal :p .

TJ SpykeFebruary 21, 2010

" The dust has settled and the apparent critical conclusion is that Tony Hawk: Ride isn't a bad game."

Yeah, I think you have that wrong. Almost every review has said the game is terrible, with the main complaint being that the game is almost impossible to control (even on the easiest difficulty).

Quote from: TJ

" The dust has settled and the apparent critical conclusion is that Tony Hawk: Ride isn't a bad game."

Yeah, I think you have that wrong. Almost every review has said the game is terrible, with the main complaint being that the game is almost impossible to control (even on the easiest difficulty).

Oh wow. Must've been an writing/editing blip. That's supposed to be "is a bad game."

Thanks for the catch!

Mop it upFebruary 22, 2010

It's a shame that this game didn't turn out to be anything of value, it was a novel idea. I wonder if it would have worked better if it used the Balance Board instead...

Quote from: Mop_it_up

It's a shame that this game didn't turn out to be anything of value, it was a novel idea. I wonder if it would have worked better if it used the Balance Board instead...

I played Skate It, and I think it would've been worse on the Balance Board. Additionally, no one would have cared.

The controller feels nice, but there's something that went wrong when they brought the game and the controller together. I'm hoping it was just a rushed development of the game and not an awful peripheral. The inevitable Ride 2 will let us know what the case is.

From my demo experience with Ride, I think the physical design of the board is great. It sounds like the problem is either with the sensors inside, or with how the game interprets the sensor data. Hopefully it's the latter, and the sequel will be much better.

Mop it upFebruary 23, 2010

Why do you assume that there will be a sequel? Did this game sell well enough to justify attempting a sequel? Don't the poor reviews and reception of this game decrease the willingness of the consumer base to buy it?

Quote from: Mop_it_up

Why do you assume that there will be a sequel? Did this game sell well enough to justify attempting a sequel? Don't the poor reviews and reception of this game decrease the willingness of the consumer base to buy it?

Activision said at a recent investor conference that Robomodo is working on a Tony Hawk: Ride sequel.

I think the justification is that they spent a bunch of money on that damn board, and they're going to give it at least another year. It's probably funded by the tears of the studios they just shut down...and Tony Hawk.

Mop it upFebruary 23, 2010

They've certainly got an uphill battle. It's going to be difficult to get people to give the game a second chance, with the low review scores and all. $120 is a lot to pay for mediocrity. They had better polish up the game as much as possible and make sure the controls actually work well (or at least as advertised), otherwise that'll be the last installment of the series.

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Genre Sports
Developer
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Tony Hawk: Ride
Release Nov 17, 2009
PublisherActivision Blizzard
RatingEveryone 10+
eu: Tony Hawk: Ride
Release Nov 20, 2009
PublisherActivision Blizzard

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