Friday, December 4, 2009

Tony Hawk Takes You For a Ride

From when it was announced at E3 this year, I thought Tony Hawk: RIDE (why do the identifiers on the end of game titles now have to be capitalised as if they were acronyms even when they clearly aren't?) was a peripheral game too far. Following the monstrous sales of games like Guitar Hero and Wii Fit, selling your game with an expensive piece of plastic tat seemed like the new golden goose for video game publishers. While a title like Guitar Hero is playable with a regular gamepad, that's kind of missing the point, and most of the fun in the game is derived from the novelty controller. That's not to say, however, that a novelty controller is going to improve any videogame it is added to. The gamepad is popular for a reason; it's familiar, it's precise, and of course, it's usable while sitting on your couch.

It wasn't long after the game came out that I started to see write-ups which confirmed what I suspected the game would be like. I would highly recommend reading the two pieces of Penny Arcade commentary on the game here and here, but for those of you not bothered with following links, I think this pretty much sums it up:

" of this kind, by which I mean peripheral games, typically allow ordinary people to engage in a kind of assisted fantasy. This is a game that actually punctures the fantasy, one that reinforces and almost codifies the user's ineptitude. As a product strategy, it must certainly be called unique."

Earlier this week I read Eurogamer's review of the game, written by their casual / rubbish game expert, Ellie Gibson. I am often a little bit suspicious of Ms Gibson's reviews, as she has previously revealed herself to be incapable of learning how to play a game properly, and has even admitted she doesn't even like (conventional) videogames, but she can be very entertaining when let loose on a poorly conceived game and this review is one of those instances. Bonus points for the digs at Bobby Kotick and the ActiBlizz Hegemony that has replaced EA as the evil overlords of the games industry.

Experience the joys of skateboarding in your own home

It is interesting to note that because nobody wants to write "Exclusive first review! It's ass!", when RIDE first appeared on Metacritic, it had a score close to 90, and while it is normal for games' metascores to drift lower as more reviews come out, it is uncommon to see them drop from above 75 (green) to below 50 (red). As of publishing this post, RIDE has a metascore of 49. You can easily identify the first four reviews that were published; they're the first four on the list.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Tony Hawk has suggested that people are being deliberately harsh on the game because they either didn't take enough time to learn how it works or they just think it is cool to hate the game. More scathing Penny Arcade commentary here.