Tony Hawk: RIDE Feet-On PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Sep 04, 2009
Andrew Pfister: In the past, whenever I have put my feet on a skateboard I'm overwhelemed with a sense of excitement mixed with an inescapable feeling that I'm about to break some very important bones in my lower body. If Tony Hawk: RIDE is meant to replicate that aspect of skateboarding, then I have to say that it's already a massive success. I'm going to let my fellow staffers begin this conversation by jumping off that point... how do you feel when you get on the skateboard controller?
Sterling McGarvey: Tonight was my first time with RIDE. And I'm glad that my question was quickly answered: what kind of motion technology is driving this, and how sensitive is it? Oddly, it reminds me more of Guitar Hero's tilt-sensing tech than any Wii-esque motion detecting wizardry. That's more comforting to me, since I was worried that my character would be kissing asphalt as soon as I stepped on the board. I didn't feel as though I was going to bust my ass after a minute or two of playing.
Instead, I concentrated on my leans, since that's what seems to drive the gameplay. I was also told that by doing nosegrabs in real life, the game would respond accordingly. That's fine and dandy for kids playing this, but it's a recipe for disaster if you're over six feet tall. Thankfully, there's ways to pull if off if your center of gravity is a bit high. I'm still not 100% on the game, but a reboot of this magnitude is in order after the last two stumbles from grace bearing the Birdman's name. Even if none of us have melted faces post-demo, it's still arguably better than Tony Hawk's Proving Ground.
Billy Berghammer: While I wouldn’t consider myself a skateboarder, back in the day (okay, great, now I feel old) I used to skate a bit here and there. So when Activision announced Tony Hawk: RIDE, I thought the concept itself was pretty cool. Granted, the main team at Neversoft wasn’t doing the game, and this is another plastic peripheral to clog up your closets, so I've been skeptical. And now I’ve played it in a street level and vert level.
I’m still skeptical. Ollies and nollies work for the most part, but turning, rotations and grabs didn’t seem accurate all the time. And I would say my biggest gripe is that I kept losing my balance and stepping off the board. Granted, I haven’t been on a skateboard for probably 10 years, but spinning around, pretending to ollie/nollie, and attempting to grab feels quite awkward. While I didn’t fall off the board, there were several times I stepped off it . If I didn’t, I probably would have eaten it. I never really felt comfortable on the board. Overall, I’m curious about the learning curve here, because even though the developer said I was on the easiest level of the game, the peripheral kept me from feeling like I was having the same amount of fun I’ve had in the past with a Tony Hawk game with this version.
Patrick Klepek: Tony Hawk: RIDE feels like Top Skater for consoles. Whenever I played Top Skater in the arcade, I immediately wondered what it would be like to have Top Skater in my home. Now that I realize what that means, I'm not so sure I want Top Skater around. Look, would I love to play Tony Hawk: RIDE with a drink by my side at a friend's house? Sure. It's easy, it's fun, you don't have to put in that much effort, but as someone who couldn't handle a skateboard without a drink at their side, I don't understand the appeal. Tony Hawk: RIDE seems like a game designed to annoy my neighbors -- and my sense of balance. It's an impressive tech demo, not an impressive game.
Andrew Pfister: My problem with RIDE is that it's not even a great demo -- at least not from the traditional press demo perspective. I felt like I was mostly on auto-pilot, and any severe leaning or trick attempts was mostly out of my control. But I got the feeling that if I had more time to spend with it at home (in a large room, because the board tends to shift itself across the floor), I can learn the nuances of the game better. Over $100 worth of nuances? That remains to be seen...
Patrick Klepek: That's the point. Who is this for? Who is the audience? Who is going to buy this? I'd play Tony Hawk: RIDE at my friend's place, but what friend of mine has more than $100 to spend on an accessory that hasn't already tossed their money at Rock Band or Guitar Hero or DJ Hero? Activision is fighting their own audience with this one.