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Tony Hawk: Ride review

One piece of gaming swag you won't want to collect


  • An interesting idea
  • Fun when it works
  • Cool-looking peripheral


  • Fundamentally flawed gameplay
  • Glitchy
  • hard to control board
  • Unimaginative
  • repetitive
  • overpriced

Wow, where do we start with this one? So… many… targets… Well, first off, it costs $120/£100. That’s a good reason to expect something out of the ordinary. Yet the giant plastic skateboard it comes with is a spectacularly ill-conceived peripheral that doesn’t work very well at all. That’s got ‘potential disappointment’ written all over it.

But the worst thing is that the game itself isn’t too far off the kind of quality you’d expect from some no-name budget title. Strip away the incessant product placement and sponsored loading screens and you’re left with something that, even by recent Hawk standards, is extremely badly designed and littered with flaws.

Simply controlling the thing requires a constant struggle with the board. The ‘Casual’ setting steers for you, so you only have to kick the board to do tricks, but there’s predictably little fun to be had watching the game basically play itself. Turn it up so you can actually decide which direction you want to go and the board becomes a problem. It’s not like a balance board, where it’s fixed to the floor – this thing wobbles and slides. Which is how you’re supposed to do tricks. Flick the front of the board up, waggle it around, slam it back on the carpet… Hopefully you’re still facing towards the TV, but the chances of not tilting the board to one side and inadvertently steering off course during this process are slim.

The four sensors around the board are meant to pick up hand movements for doing grabs, but they rarely work. The lag before your board movements register on the screen doesn’t help. And when the game asks you to do a particular trick, instead of pulling up a menu with a list of moves you’ve got to watch a video to find out how it’s done.

You don’t need the remote in this game, but when it switches itself off between game modes you have to reconnect it to skip past an error screen. Annoying? Oh yes. The majority of the game is locked at the start, and you have to play through on every difficulty setting (even Casual) to open it. Even without the clumsy controls this would be a poor installment in the Tony Hawk series. For this sort of money it’s an incredibly bad deal.

Dec 14, 2009

More Info

DescriptionAn unusual and pricey experiment winds up sucking the soul out of this storied skateboarding franchise.
Franchise nameTony Hawk
UK franchise nameTony Hawk
PlatformXbox 360, PS3, Wii
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date17 November 2009 (US), 20 November 2009 (UK)