TH: Ride was Doomed from the Beginning

Tony Hawk Ride, the name of which is a bit strange, was doomed from the beginning. That’s it; the whole article. What, you want reasons why? Fine, but you’ll owe me.

The first thing that made me think THR would be a bit, let’s say, underwhelming was when it appeared in my peripheral vision – that is, it uses a peripheral. It’s rare that I like things that specifically rely on a peripheral, with the only exception being Guitar Hero, but then again you can play Guitar Hero with a normal controller. Peripherals bump up the price of games considerably (and, sometimes, ridiculously), so there has to be a real justification for that price bump, which THR lacks.

The board is unlikely to be used elsewhere, making it a very expensive controller for a single game – tell me, is it really worth £100? Sorry, silly question, of course it’s not. The game can’t be played at all unless you have the board controller, which is never a good decision, really.

The idea for the board was pitched by Tony Hawk himself, which isn’t a good sign – Tony Hawk isn’t exactly a gamer, so this game would end up becoming something he, as a skateboarder, would enjoy, which isn’t something that a normal person isn’t going to enjoy because they can’t skate. If we could skate we wouldn’t be buying a skateboarding game with a skateboard peripheral, we’d be buying a pissing skateboard (and at a much lower price, too). I’d also like to point out that Mr. Hawk completely de-valued the professional reviews of everyone who didn’t give it a mysteriously out-of-place score and just said they ‘didn’t give it a chance’. Those reviews said the board was unresponsive, whilst Hawk says it is responsive. It is the reviewer’s job to tell the absolute truth about games they review. Is it Tony Hawk’s job to tell the absolute truth about his own games?

No, the skateboard controller isn’t comparable to Guitar Hero’s guitar. GH’s guitar has 5 buttons, a whammy bar and something to flick, as opposed to 24 frets, 6 strings and roughly a hell of a lot of theory to wade through. As a result, it gives a (placebo-like) feeling of playing a guitar on a stage without actually having to learn anything. THR’s skateboard is skating without moving or actually flipping the board. So you’re skating, but without the fun factor of it being, you know, real.

It is comparable to the drums in the music games, though. Playing drums in Rock Band and Guitar Hero is pretty much playing real drums but, instead of actually playing some drums, you’re hitting things on time with something. It’s debatable that you could learn songs on drums in Rock Band then play them on actual drums. Surely if I wanted to pretend to play drums I would actually play real drums? Or I could use Rock Band as a learning tool, which you couldn’t do with THR because it’s not quite real enough.

Probably the only good thing to come of THR is the further bursting of the expensive peripheral bubble that Activision, being the greedy buggers they are, seem to have pioneered with Guitar Hero. You may have also noticed DJ Hero’s drop into obscurity when it released not long ago at all, so maybe we’ll start seeing less stupidly expensive peripheral-based games and more actual games.

The new direction that THR took the series saddens me. I have been playing Tony Hawk’s skating games since Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the original Playstation (which I played religiously). I followed the series all the way up to Project 8, where I got bored of the open world, which I felt didn’t fit well with the game. The THPS games were the best games in the series in my opinion, challenges and time limits worked better than open world ever could, especially since the ‘storyline’ was never actually good, so I’d like a return to that type of game. Leave Skate and it’s sequel to go for the pseudo-realistic skateboarding please, Tony, and let me grind down the side of the Eiffel Tower, or something.