There's also a Hardcore setting but it's difficult to tell what's different about this. "No nudges to help you and bails are more likely to happen," says the flimsy manual. There were nudges? More likely?
It's possible to ignore the speed, trick and challenge objectives and just cruise around in Free Skate mode. However, the levels are so confined and unimaginatively designed, and the control system so poor, that this is no fun at all. In this respect, RIDE takes a significant step back from the expansive playgrounds featured in some of the previous Tony Hawk games.
The other single-player mode, Exhibition, isn't worth looking twice at. You get to ride around all the same courses featured in Road Trip, except you don't have to meet point objectives and you don't get to unlock new gear. Why, then, would you bother?
Thank goodness the game features a fantastic array of engaging multiplayer modes hahaha of course not. There is one multiplayer mode. It is called Party Mode. You and up to seven other players take it in turns to have a go on the skateboard. "Battle for the highest score, the coolest combo and bragging rights!" says the manual. "Laugh at the graphics, the gameplay and other players' desperate attempts to make on-screen actions correspond with their movements!" says reality.
Once all your friends have gone home, half an hour after you boot up the game, you could try battling some other players online. Assuming there are any - RIDE has been out in the US for a couple of weeks now and yet it's a struggle to find anyone to play against. Besides, "Play against" is a bit strong. You'll see your opponents at the start of events, displayed as brightly coloured silhouettes (not actual character models, goodness no). But then either you or they will race off and you're unlikely to see them again for the rest of the course. There's no tension, you just wait for the scores to be posted up at the end. Again, why bother?
Perhaps because you're a score whore who only cares about the numbers anyway. In which case, you should be aware it's awfully easy to cheat at RIDE. I discovered I could rack up huge points by sitting on the carpet and wiggling the board around with my hands. I beat one player by 10,000 points doing this. Sorry, IKILL4FUN.
The leaderboards suggest I'm not the only hustler on Live. The person currently in first place has more than twice the score of whoever's in second. He must have found a more innovative way of cheating - bouncing the board on a trampoline, maybe, or tying it to a monkey's back then making it dance by dangling a banana on a piece of string. Or perhaps he's actually Tony Hawk, which surely demands an instant ban.
But it's not just the limited online and multiplayer options which render RIDE worth approximately one-hundredth of the asking price. Nor is it the terrible visuals. Nor the dozens of irritating little things about the presentation, like the pathetically, hilariously, excruciatingly long load times. Or the fact you have to play through all the same old levels again to unlock them for different difficulty settings. Or the way you have to get off the board, pick up the controller and press "Start" every time you get a high score, just to move on to the next screen. There is a "Start" button on the skateboard, but it doesn't work on this particular screen. Obviously.