Not much mind you, but in the immortal words of Gob, "I've made a huge mistake".
For those that don't know/remember/blocked the experience from their mind and this will bring up some horrible repressed memories, Tony Hawk's Ride was the first Tony Hawk game that required the use of a proprietary skateboard controller and here is the beast now:
This is the second generation controller that came with Tony Hawk's Shred and based on reviews, it is actually better and more responsive than the original. Hey, for a £1 I'm sure I could get a few laughs, right? Especially with the game being only 50p. Steam sale impulse buy levels happened and here we are, so let's boot the game up. I was prepared for the game to be bad, but I wasn't prepared to be angry at itl.
Firs thing's first: Calibration. 15 seconds of the board being left alone and then 15 seconds on each sensor while Tony Hawk attempts to be funny with such lines as "Hey, look over there", what a guy. Apparently you need to do this every time you change batteries only, but I find that you need to do it if you move the board an inch towards a wall or piece of furniture, but hey, what's a few minutes of calibration every time you feel like you need to play a game? The title screen menu finally emerges and you have single player, party games and creating a skater.
Single player has road trip and exhibition modes where the only difference is the road trip is like the career mode so you can unlock things, while exhibition has exactly the same stages and modes, but doesn't unlock things. But hey, you can be pro skaters in exhibition which is also utterly pointless as skaters don't have stats, unless you want to start at Tony Hawk's butt instead of your created skater. Since exhibition mode holds nothing of value, I'll try the Road Trip mode.
Tutorials! The game takes you through the basics and I really do mean basics. It teaches you to play in casual mode, which is on rails and how to ollie, do lean tricks (roll the board while ollying) and do rotate tricks where you rotate the board as you olly. Grinding involves jumping onto rails and moving the board around while manuals are leaning the board back.
Once you go through that, you pick a city, an area and then you have a choice of modes. Rather than just be the free-form area where you have a checklist of things, you pick a task which are Speed runs, trick score attack and challenge mode, which revolves around gaps and grinds more than anything. Where's the S-K-A-T-E collecting and random things to do within a few minutes? Slight disappointment, but let's try some tricks!
Casual mode is dull where it just makes you follow a line with no control, but it offers confident mode that allows you to skate where you like, but offers some assistance with direction when ollying to grind or hit gaps. Hardcore has no assistance at all for people who "know what they're doing". I'm playing on Confident in California and then I get greeted by a real life skating douchebag named P-Rod. Not just a douchebag, but a real video with a really odd cel-shading filter. Things are REALLY going downhill now, especially appearing on a T-Mobile Sidekick which were really dead by the time the game came out.
The maps are verts or some narrow corridor. WHY?! It's bad enough when modern FPS games shove you down corridors but a skating game? I want to explore, not be hand held, but as soon as you push off, hell breaks lose. The board isn't wide enough for someone with a size 12 UK foot which means it's hard enough to control as it is, but the sensors, oh lord the sensors.
You need more space than Kinect to really use the thing because those sensors will just go off at anything that comes even close to any of the sensors. Every ollie seems to result in an Indy grab... Wait, grab? That's right, something the tutotial didn't even touch on and with good reason. if you actually try to grab the board while leaning, your fingers will be crushed when you come back down on it which is a terrible design flaw.
In spite of all this, when you get a good trick run going finishing with a manual with a fingerflip, it feels really good for brief moments until you get the horrible visuals back in your face when you've stopped concentrating on the board. Then the next time you attempt a run and the sensors go mad again. That's where the anger comes in rather than just laughing at a bad game: It has potential. If that controller worked and they designed some levels worth playing, this could have actually been enjoyable, but nope, Activision had to churn it out as quick as possible.
Party mode could also be fun, but it's the same few modes and you just take it in turns. Why is there no HORSE mode? That was an obvious slam dunk.
Shred was also 50p and being delivered soon. I'll see if that's any better, but I don't think the problems are purely software based. Still, this time I'll try seeing if getting drunk first will add to the enjoyment.
LOOK WHO CAME: