The lights are on
While my own review of EA Canada's SSX borderlines of fan-boy
clamoring, I truly do feel that your review for the game shortchanges it
to quite an extent. As I was reading along, I very quickly gained the
impression that it was composed and turned in during the first several
hours of play, likely just beyond completing World Tour Mode, and
dabbling just a bit in Global Events and Explore.
One thing that
stands at the forefront of your beef with the game is it's difficulty. A
third to even one half of the review is completely negative, and almost
all of it revolves around the hazardous design of the levels and
survival mechanics. It felt as though you have missed the point in the
games design almost entirely, and became too frustrated. I am not
saying this because I am better than that - just the opposite. But, I
do wish for you to reconsider your relatively low score on the grounds
that your very complaints about the game are precisely why it excels
beyond most other games of this generation.
SSX began to fail
because of the cracks in SSX3's design, which created a faulty
foundation for the series to evolve from. It is so easy to swoon
playing SSX3 because of the amazing style and design choices along with
the library of content. Yet, the endless glitz and glam of the game
overshadow the myriad of flaws that later stalled the franchise.
tricking system was ultra exploitable. A player could find ways to
backtrack up mountains or just linger in one spot scoring more points.
The same could be said of instant teleportation, which auto corrected
the rider back on the track whenever they flew off course or hit
select. This along with a general "trick-centric" focus made racing
underwhelming...really just plain boring. All of these problems really
come together when one looks back and stares at the truly glaring issue
of SSX3: level design.
SSX3 was such a stylized and atmospheric
powerhouse that its occasionally brilliant set pieces steered players
away from just how watered down and derivative almost all of the courses
in the game were. Momentary chunks of courses were memorable, but
courses as a whole were the simple structure of "big jump, fork, grind,
big jump" with almost no consequence or course knowledge required. It
was sublime at the time because of just how fun it was to carve and
trick endlessly down a mountain, but ultimately destroyed the series
quality in the next installment. SSX On Tour made course design even
more forgiving to the point of "big jump, big jump, big jump", and
ultimately helped ruined the franchises steam.
This is all because of a heavy trick focus, as well as breaking
the series into the mainstream. It was an unforeseeable regression that
began back in SSX Tricky when EA Big decided to make the game a little
more forgiving and shift the focus away from racing and almost
completely towards tricking. No better example of this exists than
Tokyo Megaplex: a once nightmarish experience that was reduced to a
passable and simple grind fest.
The point is that SSX3 was the
crux of both the series successes as well as its failures, and I see
that the designers somehow realized this while drafting out 2012's SSX.
As a result, they peeled the entire series back to its roots. SSX 2012
is not really a sequel to SSX3 at all, but rather a direct sequel to
the original SSX or perhaps Tricky. The developers did the exact
opposite of what everyone was expecting: they designed almost the
entire game around racing. The result is a nightmarishly challenging
experience that leaves half its players completely enthralled, and the
other half cursing at their televisions.
One thing I agree with
in your review is how frustrating and ultimately frivolous the "Survive
it" mode winds up being. All of the events are annoying diversions
that wear themselves thin long before I have made it half way to a gold
medal. However, I completely disagree with you about the mechanics as a
whole. Their presence in nearly two-thirds of the games 159 drops is
exactly what makes the game excel. The survival courses themselves,
when done in "Race it" or "Trick it" mode, become masterful and require
insane amounts of skill. This is in stark contrast to the shoddy level
design of previous entries, whose courses ultimately wear thin once you
get tired of easily tricking all over the place. Instead, players are
left desperately clutching their controller as they sometimes struggle
to even break the 200,000 point mark. Much like Polyphony's Gran
Tourismo, a player is required to know every inch of the course they are
flying down, and struggle to score an extra thousand points, or shave
tenths of seconds off their racing times.
Nearly every aspect of
SSX's design punishes the player for attempting to blast through levels
or engage in "auto-pilot" style play. The new rewind system replaces
the exploitable teleports and auto-corrects, and the scoring system
forces the player to FLY down the mountain, whether they want to or
not. SSX is unapologetic in its design, and refuses to adhere to the
classic statement which destroys all franchises: "our demographic
research shows <insert excuse to water down>".
your review, I often found myself questioning how you felt about games
like Gran Tourismo, Dark Souls, or the original Castlevania. All of
these games are famous (and a little infamous) for the exact gameplay
aspects you are complaining about while you talk about SSX. Something
tells me that your opinions on those games is decidedly positive and
borderline on reverent.
My four favorite game series have been
Metal Gear, Marvel vs Capcom, Soul Calibur, and SSX for as long as I can
remember. In the past several years, I have had to watch the recent
installments of the three former franchises soar into the realm of
mediocrity for the sake of bigger profit margins, mainstream appeal,
accessible difficulty, corporate interference, and release dates. SSX
is the only one of these franchises that cared enough about its fans to
do the exact opposite, and create something truly imaginative,
challenging, and deep.
You, the voice of an A-list publication,
are inadvertently slamming the game for not licking the boots of
millionaires. I hope that my words find you and respectfully request
that you reconsider your review - not professionally, just personally.
SSX's producers and developer chose the people over the corporation in a time where franchise
after franchise is selling out in spades. It deserves a better and more
....what he said.
This post makes me facepalm. You're really stretching far here. Maybe if you defended your position like GI did in their review it'd be a little more reasonable, but you just come off as someone who happens to love a game that many found disappointing (including myself) and can only explain how he loves the game by saying it over and over again in several paragraphs...
Two negative and redudant responses in just one day?
I think I made a friend :)
Ya know, id like to first refer you to my SSX review, where you replied with a much more longwinded bashing of my opinions than the short summation applied here. I think my reply pretty much sums up how you are just being a negative nancy.
Regardless, I trust that Mr. Kollar (assuming he even reads this) knows that I come with the utmost respect to him as a journalist. Still, my issues with his review are quite valid. Hazardous level design is regarded as a strength, and not a weakness, in regards to platformers and racing games. Guess what two categories of game both define ssx?
As far as me defending my position. What more do I need to do? I discuss the regression of the series' level design which began back at tricky but, was further exacerbated in ssx3, and ultimately damaged the franchise by ssx on tour. I lead that all into the modern ssx via craftful segways and eventually conclude that the complex design elements of the game help destroy all the previous exploits and frailties that once hindered the series from becoming powerhouse in competetive gaming. This game is the quintessential definition of a both quality sequels and series evolution.
I am pretty proud of this letter, tbh. Meanwhile, your response is both perfunctory and short sighted. I do not need to constantly state the obvious by giving examples that almost anyone who plays an ssx game can immediately visualize in their head while reading. I also do not feel the need to write a thesis paper on the subject, when just a small editorial stance suffices just fine. Btw, tokyo megaplex perfectly sums up what I am talking about.
You claim how bad this game is, but here you are surfing message boards about it and reading amateur reviews about it. Something tells me you surf the gamefaqs boards about this game as well. Could your behavior scream "troll" any louder?
I love gamers like you. I bet you will buy the dlc for this game when it hits, too.