(www.THRide.comI remember many years ago, when I was only a child, having my first experience playing a video game.  The experience was a memorable one and left me dreaming for something bigger.  I dreamed that one day the way that we played games would forever change.  Instead of using traditional joystick controllers, we would use our bodies to control movement within the game.  That day has finally arrived with Activision’s newest title, Tony Hawk RIDE.    

(www.THRide.comI remember many years ago, when I was only a child, having my first experience playing a video game.  The experience was a memorable one and left me dreaming for something bigger.  I dreamed that one day the way that we played games would forever change.  Instead of using traditional joystick controllers, we would use our bodies to control movement within the game.  That day has finally arrived with Activision’s newest title, Tony Hawk RIDE.   

 

Presentation:

Believe it or not, the critically acclaimed skateboarding franchise is back for its 15th installment!  This time, it has changed its traditional skateboard console formula to a totally new gaming approach.  Activision has teamed up with Robomodo to develop a state of the art motion sensing skateboard controller.  It enables you to use your feet and hand movements to immerse yourself into your skateboard gaming sessions.  This piece of machinery feels like the real thing built as a full size skateboard with even grip tape to complete the look and feel,

 

Gameplay:

With big dreams comes slight fall backs as well.  Although this may be the state-of-the-art piece of technology that emulates skateboarding, I realize that I’m not that good of a skateboarder.  Disillusioned in thinking that I would be a confident skater, I found myself mostly running into walls while playing the game.  At times, the controller was a bit overly sensitive.  It took quite a lot of coordination (which I’m not sure I really have) to steer yourself in the right direction and holding it there long enough until you arrive at your desired place in the park.  With three difficulty levels to choose from (Casual, Confident, and Hardcore), each difficulty level requires more coordination and precision timing making the game challenging at different modes.  I’d recommend the Casual mode for most people since the game will navigate a plotted course in the skate park for you.  All you have to do is to choose which part of the park you’d like to go to after performing some tricks.  However, if you are really looking for the true immersive skateboarding experience, you should try out the Confident and Hardcore mode.  In these modes, you will have to fully navigate yourself around the skate level and get the power and timing correctly to execute your tricks for a high score.

 

Graphics:

Although the graphics are not super realistic, they are really up to par with the rest of the skating games out today.  The ability to build your own custom skater is always a plus and one of my favorite features in these types of games.  However, I was a bit disappointed to find a limited amount of faces and physical features to choose from when creating my character.  The officially licensed clothing and branded skateboard decks was a nice touch.  Since we’re on the topic of next generation immersive gaming experience, I would have liked to see a face mapping feature to put your own face on the game character in a future implementation.  The ability to place a true representation of yourself in the gaming world would be the ultimate graphics customization.

         

Sound:

Music is really the heart of skateboarding.  Activision really did their research when putting together this adrenaline packed soundtrack.  With a long list of big name artists such as Green Day, NOFX, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and much more, you are in for a skate music session that will really get you pumped to hit the skate park and half pipe in a totally new way.

  

Longevity:

Beyond the basics single player game, this is a great party title as well!  Supporting up to eight players taking turns switching off on the skateboard controller, this is a great activity to play while your friends are over.  Like in real life, you can take turns hitting the skate park.  This really captures the mentality and culture of skateboarding.  The fun lies in watching each of your friends doing their runs with their own personal set of tricks to compete for the most score.  If online gaming experience is your interest, you can also challenge other players online in the race modes or trick challenges.  Online play supports up to four players in a session.

       

  

Conclusion:

Tony Hawk RIDE is truly the next generation form of skateboard experience for game consoles.  With the all new Skateboard Controller from Robomodo, you can really use your feet and body motions to control your in game character’s skating movements.  This is truly a nice piece of innovation that is one step closer to the next generation of console gaming experience.  I can definitely see this being a big revolution with many gaming companies as they will soon follow this trend of immersive gaming peripherals.  Whether you are a big skating fan or just someone curious about this the concept, be the first to try this out and get a firsthand experience.  I foresee this controller and game to be a benchmark for future game peripherals.  Pickup your copy today, before they run out in stores this holiday season!  I predict this will be a big winner on the wish list for many of you for 2009!

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