GamesCom 2009: Tony Hawk: Ride Feet On Preview - Getting Back on the Board

Lee Abrahams

Tony Hawk used to be the undisputed king of skateboarding games, but with the emergence of Skate recently it seems like the former ruler has fallen upon some hard times. Rather than go toe to toe with its nearest rival though, the Hawk series has decided to go in a totally different direction altogether. Whether this is the result of innovation or merely jumping on the balance board bandwagon is anybody’s guess.

Suffice to say that Ride is all about the new board peripheral which, through a series of motion sensors and can pick up your every move, lean and grab in order to translate them into on screen goodness. Obviously such technology does not come cheap and the game is looking at a fairly high price point because of it. Do not expect to pick up the game solo either – as it can ONLY be played with the board and a regular controller would be useless to you. Not to mention the fact that local co-op is out of the question, even if you snagged two boards, thanks to the space required and the motion sensors themselves.

The game itself handles as you would expect. The way you stand on the board determines your stance, either standard or goofy, and you push off and build up speed as you would in real life. The motion of your leg is picked up by the board and away you go. Then you tilt with your feet to steer and flick, spin and twist the board to pull off tricks. You can also go for a grab by waving your hand near the sensors, should you get enough air – luckily the sensors are quite forgiving so you do not have to risk back trauma by physically grabbing the board each time. The board and controls of Ride are easy to pick up, but there are times that the board isn’t as responsive as one would like.

The game comes equipped with a training mode so you can get used to the board and learn all of the tricks, and unlike previous Hawk games you do not have to pull off ridiculous button combos to land the moves you want as everything is instantly accessible through the board. The earlier difficulties are quite forgiving in terms of bumps and crashes, with casual basically allowing you free reign to just go down a course and attempt tricks. You have a little more freedom on Confident, but still get steering assist to prevent you bumping walls and the like. Finally, Hardcore lets you have total control with every touch of the board recreated on screen as if you were in the real world. At times the courses on the lower difficulties do feel a bit on rails which takes away some of the realism that the board was meant to bring.

There is also a "Vert" stance where the board sits side on to the television, and this mode is used primarily for the half-pipe so that you can have total control over the types of tricks you want to go for. Not to mention the fact it makes steering a darn sight easier when you are trying to match up moves with what you are seeing on screen. This mode encourages more tricks and grabs, so you have to be quick to get air and go for a big move.

The game has a single player career mode called Road Trip, which sees you travelling to six different cities around the world and visiting hot skate spots. There are four spots per city and each of these spots offers four different challenges, such as speed runs, trick attempts or the ubiquitous half-pipe. Success in these challenges will open up new cities to explore (as you only have access to two initially) and also unlock a bunch of goodies for you to use in the multiplayer and party modes. 

While there is no local co-op you can still have some friends round for party mode, which will allow up to eight players to take it in turns hopping on and off the board in order to see who is crowned champion. You can take part in all the same modes as you would in road trip, though which courses and skaters you have available to you will depend on your solo progression. There are also four player online capabilities but sadly this mode is restricted to just speed and trick events which kind of lessens the appeal somewhat.

Tony Hawk has always offered a superb skateboarding experience, and this title gives them a chance to bring non-skaters a little closer to that world. However, unless the controller input is tightened up, it may all be in vain as it sometimes feels a little loose in terms of what it will or will not recognise. However, if the under the hood mechanics are spot on come launch then skaters may find themselves spending more time indoors than out. The only question mark then hangs over whether gamers prefer the instant action on show with Ride or a more open world experience that they could expect previous titles in the series to deliver. Of course, price may be a stumbling point as well.

Tonk Hawk: Ride is heading to North America retails on November 17th with the UK and Germany set to get it November 20th. The rest of the world will have to wait till 2010. 

  • cool
  • It is seriously going to suck. Proving Grounds was alright, but this is just going to kill the series.
  • pass
  • I still think that they should let you play with a control if you wish. I will definately have to see achievements and others opinions before i think of purchasing this. Nice review Lee.
  • sucks
  • My bet is that it'll be £30 3/4 months after it's out.
  • I will be waiting for reviews before I even think about buying this. It seems great in theory, but it can fail in so many ways. I would rather not risk a large investment on a game that I have no idea what to expect in terms of quality.
  • @2; Have you played the game? You don't know if it will suck, so stfu :)
  • probably wont buy but ill be in the skating mood come january so i m going to rent it
  • I still love at E3 where they had Tony Hawk come out and show the board, and then they bring out Natal and that kid skateboarding on nothing. :)
  • Well if anything theyve got to be praised for taking such a huge risk in trying to beat Skate cos imo thisll either flop or be a quite big christmas seller ;D
  • I am really skeptical about this one. Proving Grounds was only so-so, and this looks fairly over-hyped. Maybe I'll try it at GameStop of Fry's first.
  • stop playing TH after Project 8...if this one is good or has easy achievements i may rent.
  • well...if they rent the board motion with lol
  • @9 you hope you can rent it, i don't see many video game rental places renting out the skateboard, which the game is useless without. I stick with the Skate series. Kind of a bad time to release this to...MW2, AC2, L4D2, etc.
  • Who the hell is TonyHawk anyway?
  • Can't buy this as #15 said AC2, MW2, L4D2, Batman comes out Friday (UK)and Halo ODST next month. Sorry but I'm not money bags:(
  • This will shape in how Skate 3 will be and I can't wait. Probably will wait for price drop though since odst, zombies, and some warfare has my money.
  • Watch this video everyone I really love Tony Hawk but he's trying to promote a peripheral which he must know (and the rest of the other pro skaters) has pretty much failed. The guy in the video is doing tricks he doesn't even mean to and he's basically motionless.
  • i will pass intil i see another tony game without board, maybe with proyect natal compatible a will be better. also guys SAY NO TO GH DJ. cost a eye
  • Doesn't sound too good. Shame, I love the TH series.
  • This peripheral is going to fail big time. Only suckers will buy this. Honestly, how do you really expect this board to recognize the dozens and dozens of moves you can do? When all you do is just tilt the thing one way or the other. It's just a stupid way to try to revive the franchise, while ripping off consumers. Please don't fall into this and spend your hard earned money on a wasteful failure.
  • I don't think this is going the be very impressive although I'm sure this'll be a good buy for skaters. You can do moves you don't dare to do on a real skateboard just yet. I bet that Activision will make a sequel to this Ride when Natal is available. I have always liked playing Tony Hawk's on multiplayer but it's just not going to be so easy with this game. It sucks, a lot. Normal Xbox 360 controllers should be available. Well, we'll see.
  • @10 - And? The Project Natal skateboard thing looked crap, and besides its not like it was demonstrated live was it? Milo & Kate was staged and fake so that skateboard thing was most likely fake too and it looked stupid without a skateboard anyway. @22 - You are saying the game will fail yet you don't know if the tricks will even work like its suppose to? Not very fair there.. Give the game a chance
  • Just based on the fact that the board is basically going to be pinned to the ground I would say that it's going to blow, look at the tricks they are doing in the screens, how will your movements translate at all, it would actually feel better learning to skateboard irl than what that thing is offering.
  • @24, read 25, I completely agree with him. There's really no sure fire way that this board can diffrentiate between one move to the other. Honestly, how will it be able to know when you're doing a 360 flip or a 360 hardflip? It isn't! You can't flip this board in the air and do all sorts of stuff. You don't even actually Ollie with it. There's no way this board is going to recognize every move you try to do. It's just not possible. Just as #19 said. Look at the video, random moves are occurring when the guy isn't even trying. It's going to fail.
  • Pure Garbage. Waste of money IMO.
  • you cant play it with the controller? c'mon activision! money doesn't grow on trees (although that would be cool) alot f money is being lost on this. I would nuy the game if you didnt need the board and could play via controller.
  • rubbish :/
  • skate killed Tony Hawk. Atleast Im not able to have fun with a Tony Hawk game after skate was released. skate is way more real, and fun. Tony Hawk is so unreal, like when you ollie, you find your skater 20,000ft in the air..and when you grind, like no turn can stop your.. Tony Hawk = Fail skate = Gief mooooooooooooooooooooore
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