Giant Bomb Review


Tony Hawk: RIDE Review

  • PS3
  • X360

Tony Hawk: RIDE's shoddy hardware and ill-conceived software merge to form something completely abysmal.

The board feels sturdy, but it doesn't work well enough for that to matter. 
There's a good idea at the center of Tony Hawk: RIDE. Attempting to make some sort of peripheral-based skateboarding game is a neat idea, and one that, if the peripheral were robust enough, could result in some sort of faux-skating experience that approximates the real thing in a way that's accessible to non-skaters without being completely offensive to anyone who's ever pulled an ollie. But everything about Tony Hawk: RIDE, from the game's structure to the skateboard hardware itself, is an absolute mess that feels incapable of pleasing anyone, regardless of his or her skill level.

When your feet first touch the RIDE skateboard, it actually feels pretty good. It rocks back and forth a bit, and the curved nose and tail let you pop the front or back of the board into the air with ease. It also has four sensors, one on each side, which are primarily used when you want to tell the game that you're performing a grab move. It's sturdy, and feels solid under your feet without feeling stiff. Unfortunately, any goodwill built up by the look and feel of the board is thrown out the window as soon as you're finished calibrating it.

The problem with the board is that it isn't great at translating your movements into the appropriate on-screen actions. For example, the two primary ways to pull tricks is to lift the nose of the board into the air, and then either tilt the board to one side or pivot the front of the board left or right. These are "tilt" and "flick" tricks, respectively. More often than not, performing flick motions resulted in tilt tricks. Getting through a challenge that requires a specific trick type feels like luck in a lot of cases. Also, the board feels like it loses its calibration over time, resulting in cases where popping the nose up into the air stops performing ollies. Other times, it's a case of sensitivity, with the board feeling like it's requiring different levels of pressure or height to trigger the tricks. With a peripheral like this, consistency is absolutely key to getting better at the game and learning from your mistakes. With hardware that's unable to provide that level of consistency from session to session, Tony Hawk: RIDE is already a total failure.

You'll visit a handful of different cities, including New York, Barcelona, and Tokyo. 
But it's hard to tell if it's the fault of the hardware or the software, because the game built around said board is a mess. Tony Hawk: RIDE places you into a series of fairly confined environments and, though it does still have a "free skate" option to let you explore, the main goals are things like races and score challenges. The racing feels like something out of Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, another misstep from the once-great franchise's past. The trick sections of the game are usually score-based, and most of the time it's easier to just flail around on the board to pull off random tricks than it is to carefully attempt specific motions. 
The other main street mode offers challenges, which are sections of the level where you're asked to perform specific motions on specific objects, like "flick trick off of the ramp" or "5-0 grind this ledge." The more specific the tricks, the worse it gets. It also doesn't help that the game never really tells you how to perform specific tricks, so figuring out how to land in a 5-0 grind instead of a 50-50 feels like it's left to chance. In the event that you don't know enough about skateboarding to know what the heck a 5-0 grind is, you'll probably have to turn to a web browser and look up videos of said trick, then maybe you can figure out what the game might be asking you to do and attempt it from there. Also, the challenges require you to hit every trick in the challenge in one run. If you miss one, the challenge doesn't end and immediately restart. Instead, you'll keep skating until you hit the end of the challenge area and respawn. The lack of an instant restart--something that the Tony Hawk franchise has usually been pretty good about offering--makes this whole section of the game frustrating.

There's also a vert mode, which is used when you're skating in half-pipes. For these levels, you'll rotate the board sideways and stand on it while facing the TV screen, but the basics don't change that much. If you're tilting when you leave the ramp, you'll probably spin. Or maybe your feet will accidentally trip one of the side sensors and you'll grab. Or maybe you'll reach down to deliberately perform a grab and nothing will happen. It's terrible.

Tony Hawk: RIDE defaults to a mode called casual, where you only focus on performing tricks while the game steers for you. There are spots in the race and trick courses where you can select alternate paths, but for the most part, it's none of your concern. Riding along a set track and performing tricks might sound like the worst thing of all, but it's actually the most manageable way to play. Bumping from casual over to "confident" puts steering control in your power, which makes things much tougher. But considering the board can't even keep up with you on casual, asking it to keep track of your leaning to let you steer impedes the process even further.

When you find a gap, the game will transition to a different angle. 
The game also has a party play mode, where groups of people can get together to discover just how unfun Tony Hawk: RIDE is in a variety of modes. You can also take the game online, where up to four players can have a bad time en masse. Or, at least, that's the theory. I tried on numerous occasions to find online opposition, but never found any takers.

The only positive thing about Tony Hawk: RIDE is its soundtrack, which is lengthy and includes tracks from Murs, Santigold, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolfmother, The Commodores, and more, including that "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" song from The Big Lebowski. Obviously that's not enough to make Tony Hawk: RIDE feel like it's worth anything close to its $120 price tag. While the Tony Hawk franchise has been down on its luck lately, and was probably in need of a reboot as dramatic as this, the execution is such a miserable failure that it manages to splash even more mud on Tony Hawk's legacy. I'm left with a firm belief that whichever side of the Tony Hawk/Activision partnership has the out clause in the contract should just exercise it and part ways for good. Enough is enough. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
201 Comments Refresh
Posted by NDAProphet

Thank goodness I didn't shill out  for this thing!

Posted by Coolarman

Yeah i thought it would be not a good game

Posted by JammyJesus

Posted by Cerza

Wow I was expecting it to be bad, but not this bad.

Posted by stephengotlost

This series has really hit rock bottom.

Posted by Erik

That was harsh, but I'm just gonna say: SKATE 2 ftw!

Posted by JJOR64

A one?  Holy shit.

Posted by lukeissxc

RIP Tony Hawk: RIDE
Posted by Pkshields

One Star. Awful waste of time.

Posted by cap123


Posted by AjayRaz

i was hoping to see a video review, but this is great and pretty funny (at how bad the game is). the last time i had fun with Tony Hawk was American Wasteland and the series has really gotten terrible since. 

Posted by MrMiyagi

A moment of silence for the Tony Hawk series?

Posted by Davin

Oh wow, a one. I wasn't expecting it to get a good review...but damn.

Edited by takua108

Ouch! I mean, in the QL it looked kinda crappy, but a one... ouch

Posted by Dethfish

I don't usually do this but I was hoping this would get 1 star after seeing the QL. It made me a little angry just watching it. Tony Hawk games used to be good. Even the recent ones were fun to play for a little while.

Posted by zombie2011

everyone pretty much knew this game was gonna suck ass.

Posted by FLStyle

I could see this not getting a high score when the best thing about its Quick Look was the beginning and end.

Posted by Ramyun

I love bad reviews, at least if the game is bad the review will be entertaining to read. Video review for bad game would be sweet! Pretty please, Giantbomb?

Posted by Vance_Helsing

Oof. I can't say I didn't expect it, but man.

Posted by mrsmiley

A review worthy of the amazing quicklook. :)

Edited by RobotHamster

Damn thats bad, now we need the video review

Posted by ohms


Posted by diggity_dan all caps FAIL

Posted by Exlutonian


Posted by Darkstar614


Posted by louiedog

Something tells me the next game will be a reboot titled "Tony Hawk: Skater" and they'll try to leave all of this nonsense behind. Of course Activision may require board support be included because they don't give up easily. We'll see.

Posted by PLWolf

If anyone thinks the 1 Star is harsh, just watch the QL. It will all make sense after that. ugh

Posted by Godwind

Who gives a shit?  its got the brands, it will sell more money without much effort.

Posted by Happy

Shit, son, you got One Star'd.
I can definitely see why they scrapped any advertisement for this.

Posted by Shifty_Mcfly

Tony Hawk went from a 10 to a 1 in about 6 years, ouch.

Posted by CaptainTightPants

Woah...... 1 Star....

Posted by Skillface
 The game also has a party play mode, where groups of people can get together to discover just how unfun Tony Hawk: RIDE is in a variety of modes.
 I actually spit out my drink. My god, this is hilarious.
I love bad reviews.
Posted by BenderUnit22

Even if the peripheral worked alright, the actual game still looked pretty bad from what I saw in the QL.

Posted by TripMasterMunky
@Shifty_Mcfly said:
" Tony Hawk went from a 10 to a 1 in about 6 years, ouch. "
Posted by Jeffsekai

holy crap diodnt expect a 1 haha

Posted by insane_shadowblade85

Jeff, don't do it!
Posted by HydraHam

Glad i did not waste all that money for it.. then again what do you expect? the series has been going downhill since 3 and even 3 wasnt THAT great.

Posted by tmlim
@Cerza said:
" Wow I was expecting it to be bad, but not this bad. "
My thought exactly!!
Posted by Akeldama

my jaw hit the floor when i saw that single star. Jesus...

Posted by Meltac

It was expected after the QL. I miss the old Tony Hawk games :( Atleast Skate 2 is out, and that's an awesome game ^^

Posted by Lobst

The dynamite in Jeff's mouth means the game is filled with explosive action, right?  :(

Posted by Civraz

And to think, I used to enjoy Tony hawk games... Oh, quality, where have you gone?

Posted by LtKetch

Nice to see Activision doing well, totally deserved.   Too bad for Mr Hawk and all the people who made the game, but  good for Bobby K.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

One star! hahahahaha. BAM!

Posted by theMatt

This comes as no suprise to me, the quick look was terrible.
Hope this series either dies or completely restarts over.

Posted by RoyaleWifCheese

Don't you hate it when developers realize how bad their game is gonna be until after it hits the market? Activision's dependence on Call of Duty and peripheral-based games is getting kinda disgusting.

Posted by RawShark

Oh man. Lol... just, lol.

Posted by CitizenJP

I feel bad for whoever bought this game. Eh, not really. :D

Posted by GalacticPunt

How the mighty have fallen.  
Tony Hawk 3 got just about perfect scores from everyone back in the day.  Years of Bobby Kotick's exploitation have brought us to this final, desperate flame-out.    *Pours a 40 on the sidewalk for THPS*

Posted by Lautaro

Its funny how generally with low review scores there will be a person or people defending a game, with this game i havent read a single defence haha.