The lights are on
Want to know whether or not to buy SSX? I've written 3 reviews for
you to choose from, ordered by increasing length. Read about what I
thought in as few or as many words as you like.
Two Quick Notes:
The Platform Edge:I played SSX for
360 and PS3 for this review. The PS3 has the exclusive Mount Fuji, which adds a half-dozen more runs.
The 360 has slightly more online competition, simply because more people
play online on Xbox LIVE. Since I'm so used to playing previous games
on a PS2, I personally preferred PS3, but if you own both consoles
you should buy SSX for whichever one most of your friends have.
Online Code:A code is required to earn credits for playing online. You can play without the code, but you'll want to have one because saving up for the best gear is really tough otherwise. Keep that in mind when considering a used copy.
The Short Kotaku-Style Review:
Should you play this game?
Because it may not be the perfect reboot, but it's still a hell of a lot of fun.
Always available online competitions with no waiting
No splitscreen or head-to-head online play
Fake Back-of-Box Quote:
"If snowboarding was as fun to watch as SSX is to play, it would be the most popular sport on Earth."
The GI Highlights Review:
Concept:Reboot a classic extreme sports
franchise known for being over-the-top with a new focus on realism, for better or for worse.
Graphics:Every mountain is modeled on real
terrain map data, and the snow coats them realistically as you carve
through it. Characters pop in a variety of glowing suits against the stark white and gray environment.
Sound:A highly varied licensed soundtrack remixes as you ride, interspersed with
copter pilot dialogue and one-liners from the riders. The songs fit the feel of the game, but they're not for everyone, and that's OK because you can import your own soundtrack.
Playability:The two control schemes offer a good
starting point for new players and a way for series veterans to pick
up where they left off with their skills. Difficulty varies from run to run and mode to mode.
Entertainment:SSX offers a variety of options for you
to get your kicks. I can't help feeling the end result is too
compromised though, and it makes me wish for clearer separation between the modes.
The Full Text Review:
The opening scene
of a video game has to tell the player something of what to expect.
It might be a chaotic battlefield, a sudden ambush, or whatever else
best sets things up. SSX starts off by throwing you out of a
helicopter 8000 meters above the Rockies. You've got just enough time
to learn the controls before deploying a wingsuit and gliding to the
ground. How's that for an extreme sports stunt?
If you've played
any of the previous games (except SSX Blur on the Wii) you'll feel
right at home playing SSX, but things are set up to introduce new
gamers. There are two control schemes, Standard and Classic. You're
forced to use the Standard layout at the start, and it's designed to
be more intuitive, allowing for use of either the face buttons or the
right analog stick to pull off tricks. After playing with it for a
while, I can understand why new players might find it easier and more
rewarding. My muscle memory from SSX 3 was too strong to overcome
though, so I stuck with Classic.
will remember Griff Simmons from SSX 3 or
SSX Blur. He was the youngest boarder around at 12 years old in 3, obsessed with candy and winning, but not necessarily in that
order. He's still the youngest at 19 years old in SSX, and in World
Tour mode, he's the antagonist. Years of success went
straight to his head, so he's out to single-handedly steal all the
prizes and glory for himself and demolish the sport in the process. That's why SSX veterans Zoe Payne and
Mac Fraser have teamed up with former surfer Tane Mumea to take Griff
on in a race around the world to conquer the nine Deadly Descents,
the most dangerous snowboard runs on the planet, each with a
There are three
game modes: Race It, Trick It, and Survive It. The first two are the
self-explanatory staples of previous games in the series. It's not
just my nostalgia talking when I say barreling down a mountain at
ludicrous speeds and pulling off insane Super Uber tricks is as fun
as ever! Unfortunately, the new focus on realistic settings
eliminates half-pipes. Trick events used to center on massive
interlinked half- and quarter-pipes, perfect for racking up huge scores. While
there are jumps and rails tacked on all over the new mountains, for
some reason half-pipes got left out, which seems like a missed
The realism angle
led to the addition of the most polarizing game mode, Survive It.
Some may feel that requiring certain gear to conquer a run is cheap.
Wingsuits can be fun, but they're the exception to the rule of
frustrating gadgets like oxygen masks and solar panels. Yes, in the
unlikely event that you're snowboarding down Mount Everest, you'd
probably need extra oxygen. Aren't video games supposed to be about
fun first and realism second though? The Deadly Descents usually feel
more like chores than entertainment.
Point is, the
single player World Tour mode is a mixed bag. There's definitely more
good than bad, but the Deadly Descents are the focus with the races
and trick runs stuck in between as practice. Don't play it for the
plot. (Especially not the ridiculous comic book style character
introductions.) Play it to prepare for the meat of the game, which is
found in multiplayer.
There are no
lobbies or head-to-head challenges to be found in SSX's online
multiplayer. Instead you can choose any track on the globe to drop in
and put up your best race time, trick score, or longest survival run.
The people you're playing against depend on if you're in Explore or
Global Event mode. In Explore, your records will be up against only your Xbox LIVE or PSN friends. In Global Events, every run
has a timed event ranging from the length of a half hour to a week,
and you're competing with every other SSX player online during that time. The more
players who join one event, the bigger the credit pot, and the harder it is
to get into the coveted Platinum and Diamond brackets where the
biggest payouts are.
Given the many
hours I've invested in previous games, I went into SSX with high
hopes. I'm happy to say it lives up to most of them. However, I'm left with the
feeling that in their efforts to give things a new spin, the
developers forgot what made the series so great. The whole game would benefit from more differentiation
between the modes. You should buy this game both to enjoy everything
that's done right, since there's plenty of entertainment value as-is,
and to ensure it's successful enough for a sequel so EA Canada has a
chance to correct their mistakes.
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