Tony Hawk: RIDE • Page 4

Thin ice.

Or that in multiplayer you're referred to as "Player 1", "Player 2" and so on most of the time, even though you bothered to create a character and input your name. Or that there are only six locations "around the world" to unlock, three of which are in America. Or that Tony Hawk only appears in a couple of the videos, and most of the time you're greeted by 20-something Dilberts with interesting facial hair who say things like, "When it comes to street skating, it doesn't get much more realer than this."

It's also the fact that, having taken a hundred quid off you for this shuddering old mess, Activison attempts to cash in even further by smothering it in adverts. Menus aren't just menus, but mobile phone screens with giant T-Mobile icons. The backgrounds are collages of more brand logos than you thought could actually exist in the world. Environments are littered with branded posters, billboards and shopfronts. The Achievements have names like The T-Mobile Sidegrab 5.

Then there are the "Bonus Videos", which aren't really "Bonus Videos" at all but are mostly "Adverts" for brands like Quiksilver, Billabong, Vans etc. One video is labelled "Tony Hawk trick tip". It begins with Tony in a skateboard park. "The question I get asked most often is, 'How do you learn to skate? What are the basics?'" says Tony. "Well, I'm here to take you through them."

"Aha!" you think. The man himself is going to give us some real tips on real-life skating! Except the lesson ends there. The next shot is a still of the Tony Hawk Trick Tips Collectors' Edition DVD, accompanied by a link to the website where you can buy it.

4

It's no Jambo! Safari, that's for sure.

The endless advertising doesn't quite fit with the image of skateboarding as an edgy, underground urban sport, although you could argue that fell by the wayside years ago. Besides, companies have a right to make money from advertising. Eurogamer wouldn't exist without it. Activision is a business, not a charity.

And perhaps we're too cynical about the price. Maybe the board really did cost loads to develop and is jolly expensive to manufacture. It's just that's difficult to believe with regard to a company run by a man who has publicly stated he wants to "take all the fun out of making videogames", and who has established an employee incentive programme which "really rewards profit and nothing else". It's hard to imagine the next LittleBigPlanet, Fable or Professor Layton coming out of a company with that kind of philosophy.

Of course, not all games have to be fabulously whimsical or original. Nor should they be. Sometimes you just want to shoot a monster in the face, even if it's the same monster you shot in the face last year. And sometimes you want to muck about with a stupid peripheral, as evidenced by the success of Guitar Hero, SingStar and Wii Fit.

The difference is the peripherals which come with those games work, and the skateboard Activision wants a hundred quid for doesn't. It's fun for half an hour, but that's an awfully expensive 30 minutes. Don't buy RIDE unless you want to be taken for one.

4 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Tony Hawk: RIDE Ellie Gibson Thin ice. 2009-11-30T11:20:00+00:00 4 10

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