Hands-on: Tony Hawk Ride


The most important thing to understand about Tony Hawk Ride is that it's not a Tony Hawk game with a special skateboard peripheral. This is, in a very real sense, a completely new franchise that dispenses with the tropes of the series when they don't suit its needs.

First, it's not an open world game, so those of you worrying about tuckering yourself getting from A to B can put those fears aside. Even when you're performing some limited navigation, it only take one or two foot pumps across your carpet to reach your top speed.

The section that I saw was very much about traveling to a line and pulling it off, a mode developer Robomodo calls "challenge". You're assigned a specific group of tricks, say a manual into a grind into a flip trick over a ramp, and must pull it off flawlessly.

But of course you want to know how well the board worked. The piece of tech itself was just fine, it felt sturdy, and never had problems registering my movements. As you might expect you won't be physically flipping the board through the air, so a series of movements stand in for performing the actual tricks. It's a shorthand of sorts.

To ollie, you'll quickly pop the top of the board up. For flip tricks, add a lean to the same action. For a shove trick, you'll add a quick shift of the board to the left or right instead. Grabs are ... well, you grab. That's the same.

Remember the first time you played Guitar Hero, how awkward it felt at first? That's the idea here. You're teaching your body a whole new set of moves, so it doesn't feel totally natural. I assume that'll change over time, but I honestly didn't get enough time to find out. I was a little troubled that the president of the developer needed a couple of tries to nail the tricks in his demo, but who knows, maybe the guy was just tired.

Though the board is designed to be more accessible, this kind of experience won't be for everyone. For starters, if you have bad balance, it's not going to fix that. Also, it's pretty tiring, so it would likely work better as a party game where you're taking turns with friends.

In theory, Tony Hawk Ride works, and in pretty much the manner you'd imagine. It is, however, the sort of experience I would have needed more time to really get the hang of. My hope is that the fun comes after you learn the ropes.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.