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Tony Hawk Ride

Do you like Sport? Tony Hawk Ride is the ultimate triumph of gimmick over game. The concept: Build a skateboard peripheral that lets players simulate skateboarding in their living rooms. The result: half-functioning hardware that fails to function with consistency and a shallow game devoid of excitement. Vert skating and free skating are the only sources of mild enjoyment here, but the fun is too short lived to justify the whopping $120 price tag. The Birdman was once associated with video game greatness, but this is the worst game yet in a declining franchise, and the result is a massive train wreck.

It's impossible to separate the board from the game. After all, Tony Hawk Ride must be played with the included skateboard peripheral, and for the time being at least, the peripheral cannot be used with any other game. It takes some time to get used to the feel of the board, though your skating career begins with a number of tutorials that help you get on your feet, so to speak. From there, it's a matter of completing races, performing tricks for points, and nailing short challenges as you trudge your way through Ride's single-player experience. Fortunately, the peripheral is easy to set up and physically solid. It also feels weighty and resilient, as if ready to withstand hours of punishment.

Tony Hawk Ride's flaws don't end with the lousy controls. The game feels half finished, offering up the most bare-bones experience possible. Don't expect skater-specific specials or large, high-concept levels. You can free skate, but most of the areas are small and none of them offer the fast-paced freewheeling of previous Tony Hawk games. This is partially because Ride seems to fancy itself a simulation, though it's hard to take it seriously as a sim when you inadvertently skate across the ceiling or happen upon pedestrians that exclaim their surprise when you almost run into them…in the middle of a skate park. You'd think a leaner game would at least be easy to navigate, but the T-Mobile-branded menus are poorly organized. For example, when you are in the main challenge menu, you can't escape to the main menu from there, but must instead start the challenge before you can access it. You can navigate most of the menus using the board, but to save your score after an event, you'll still need to reach for a controller. You even have to indicate your stance (regular or goofy) before every event. Why not allow players to save their preferences to the skater profile?

You see Tony Hawk Ride's shallowness everywhere. You see it in its bare-bones online modes, which very few people are playing. You see it in the visuals, which get the job done without a lick of energy or personality. And you see it every time you have to endure the rest of the challenge, even if you're bound to replay it because you failed the first trick. Tony Hawk Ride is a waste of money.



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