Last weekend I got to try my hand, or should I say feet, at the latest Tony Hawk skateboard game, RIDE. I think it’s pretty fair to say that there has been some skepticism floating around this version since iterations before seemed to be just slight or minor tweaks from previous installments.
Let me start by putting any of those apprehensions to bed. As far as I’m concerned Activision and Tony Hawk have created a game changing (pardon the pun) experience. I really only got to play part of a level, which equated to about 2 minutes of gameplay, but the RIDE board really brings something else to the table. I won’t lie, my legs were shaking a bit since my muscles were constantly adjusting, trying to find the center of gravity of the board – it sits on a bump, a sort of axis which enables you to lean left or right – but that’s what will make the experience so thrilling and exciting. As soon as you begin to master the balance on the board you’ll be able to engage in many more tricks. And for those of you out there that already skate, I honestly believe that the RIDE game will complement your preexisting abilities, unlike the Guitar Hero games which I’ve heard many musician complain about.
Trick wise I was only able to complete an ollie and manual. Both of those moves are carbon copies of the real thing (almost), while the other moves, based on my limited experience, seem to involve the 4 sensors located at the ends and sides of the board. So for instance, you’ll be able to lean down and grab the board (covering the sensor) and perform grab tricks as well as swing your foot over the other sensor to perform a variety of moves.
There are 3 settings – beginner, intermediate and experienced – and while I only got to try out the beginner level, which puts you on a sort of wire so you don’t have to concentrate on steering, I actually can’t wait to try the other settings since I think it will be a more difficult but engaging experience to keep my character and board on the right track. With that said, gone are the days of the Tony Hawk open world levels, but in all fairness I think it’s a good price to pay for the far more immersive experience.
Outside of the above, I really don’t know what else to expect from the game. It’s great to see video games getting closer and closer to virtual reality, although it maybe a ways off, and if you think Microsoft’s Natal experience will replace controllers of this type any time soon, think again.
So despite the fact that RIDE is a $120 video game, it’s painfully obvious that those willing to plunk down the cold hard cash will get paid dividends on their investment.
You can pre-order the Tony Hawk RIDE game here