At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Andrew Rouse Xbox 360 Activision Robomodo 1 20th November 2009

Tony Hawk: RIDE preview

Tony Hawk RIDE - The game that I've always been suspicious was just an excuse for an expensive controller. Having played it today, my fears aren't exactly alleviated. As noted everywhere, you control the game by standing on a small skateboard-like controller. You can accelerate by moving your foot to the side of the board and you turn by leaning side-to-side on the board. These controls are excellent, accelerating is intuitive and steering is easy; the shape of the board-controller gives you feedback on how much you're leaning which matches your character on the screen. To ollie, you have to tilt the board up and step down on it again which lead to me jumping slightly later than expected and took a little getting used to. Manualling is very intuitive and is accomplished by tilting the board forward or backwards and holding it there and a small meter on the screen tells you whether you need to tilt the board more or less.

Slightly more disappointing were the controls for doing tricks. Flip tricks are accomplished by swivelling the board either left or right as you ollie. This works fine and my biggest problem was managing to reliably pull off a jump without doing a flip tricks. In contrast, grabs were very hard to pull off; grabs require you to reach down and wave your hand in front of one of the four sensors on the board. Despite my foolish looking efforts, the only way I managed to pull off a grab was when I positioned my front foot slightly wrongly so that it covered one of the sensors.

In the level which we played at Gamescom we were travelling on a downhill course with a well defined start and end, in contrast to recent Tony Hawk's skateboarding games. Additionally, the game allowed the player to choose between several possible paths, each marked with a magic floating line, rather than allowing them complete freedom to manage the level. I assume this design change was taken due to the nature of the skateboard controller but it could prove to be rather frustrating if the player has to collect items as in previous games.

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