Sunday, January 31, 2010

Video game review thirty one: Tony Hawk Ride

Game review number thirty one in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Tony Hawk: Ride".

Tony Tony Tony has done it again.

I didn't think any skateboarding game could piss me off more than Proving Ground did over the last couple of days, but I was wrong. That game made me think that I might be getting a little too old. This game proved it.

Tony Hawk Ride is a one hundred and twenty dollar package consisting of a skateboarding game and a plastic skateboard shaped controller. The controller is a giant deck, which feels a little beefier than any actual skateboard I've ever been on. It feels hefty and when you put it on the floor, you have high hopes for this game. There are four sensors on it (two on the sides, two on the nose and the tail). I believe there's also a gyroscope or something inside, but I might be wrong about that.

I immediately launched into the tutorial. I figured Tony would teach me how not to fall on my ass. Pushing the board along came naturally (I scuffed my foot along the carpet as if it might actually take me somewhere). I could move forward well enough, but when it came to the Ollie (the most basic skateboarding trick, and one I used to be able to do for real)...I had some troubles. It's tough at first to get your balance on a board with no wheels, but you get a feel for it. I completed the Ollie tutorial and moved to grinding. I was ok at that too. When it came to kick flips, that's where it started to get frustrating.

Maybe my board was broken (I borrowed a very used one)...but I couldn't get the damn kick flips to work for the life of me. I went to youtube, and they showed you pretty much the same video tutorial that the game shows you, so I know I was doing the right motion with my feet.

In any event, I spent the next 30 minutes flailing around, trying to beat that tutorial before I called it a day and jumped into the game instead. The game is a lot more fun. I was able to completely beat the first level of the game, with perfect scores. Granted, I was on easy difficulty, but I felt good about my progress after failing the tutorial. I only have 37/500 stars you can get in the "casual" difficulty, then there's experienced and hardcore after that.

This game isn't what I'd call a workout (I reserve that exclusively for games like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Fit), but it got me sweating. I'd say an hour of this is akin to an hour of vigorous drumming in Rock Band, and about halfway through, I changed from pants to shorts and went shirtless because my clothes were getting pretty sweaty. No, there are no pictures. :-)

I like this game. I think it's a interesting concept. I think all the bad reviews it gets are probably from people who played it for a few minutes at Best Buy, their friends house...or maybe failed the tutorial like I did. It's got a steep learning curve, and I'm pretty sure if I had progressed past casual, I would have become frustrated with it. When you get into the actual game though, it's pretty entertaining. I only have this skateboard for the weekend, and I'm pretty tired of jumping around right now, so I think that's it for me on this....but if it ever comes way down in price (which I think it may eventually do), I'll pick one up. At 120 bucks though, it's not worth the price of admission to me. Even though Tony has said in interviews that he sees this as the future, I am not sure there will be a sequel to this game after the poor sales of the first one. Project Natal will also be coming out this holiday and making the board controller virtually obsolete.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10. Pretty solid experience, and it's always nice to play a game that forces you to move around a little. It's not a game changer though. I can't see most people getting into this...especially couch potatoes.

Achievements? They suck as much as the other Hawk game I played today. You have to beat all sorts of stuff before you start unlocking gamerscore. The one achievement I was able to get was for a 10,000 point combo I got one of the levels, and that was a combination of luck and luck. There was another achievement for finishing a speed run in 1:30, and I finished it in 1:35 a couple of times. I'm pretty sure I could have shaved the extra 5 seconds off if I wanted to grind, but....that's not the aim of the mission here. :-)

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