Tony Hawk Ride
Since EA’s Skate games turned up on the scene, things haven’t looked too rosy for the Tony Hawk franchise and it was clear that a major change was needed to rejuvenate the series. From our brief demo with Ride at the Activision booth on the E3 show floor, we think the new peripheral may just give the series the boost it needs.We played two demo stages and, for someone who hasn’t been on a skateboard since the early 90s, it came surprisingly easy which is surely testament to the strength of the interface rather than this writer’s dubious talents. Our first task was to perform a manual for 50m, which is achieved by simply leaning gently back on the board and raising the nose off the ground. Next we were asked to pull off an Ollie by using essentially the same manoeuvre, simply done a little quicker with a bit of “snap”. Leaning back on your heels or forward on your toes after the snap pulls off heel and kick flips respectively and the fact that the board tilts as you lean means that you’re unlikely to lose your balance. This gives Ride an immediate advantage over Skate It and the Wii Balance Board. Our final task was to ollie up onto a rail and perform a grind. The game seems to give you a little assistance here, although you can achieve more complex grinds by swivelling the board 90 degrees.The last part of the demonstration was all about the half-pipe and we were told to rotate the board 90 degrees and face the screen. It was on the ramp that we learned about the game’s special trick meter. In the half-pipe each trick earns you some power in the special meter. Once full you can pull off a special trick by covering the sensor at the back of your board with either your foot or your hand. In our case, we managed to build up the power in four or five tricks and then covered the rear sensor, resulting in a pretty cool slow-mo airwalk. Even from this brief session with the game, it’s hard not to be impressed by the new peripheral and, if the full-game is well-structured, Ride could make the Tony Hawk series a contender again.