Unless you count Jet Set Radio Future, and frankly you shouldn’t really as that was quite some time back, Snowboarding games are really the only sports games I play. (Racers I feel are a genre all of their own due to the variance within them, sims, rally, arcade racers etc.) So imagine my disapointment when I bought my PS3, 4 years ago and there was a distinct lack of the games available. Since then, there has been Shaun White Snowboarding, don’t bother with that one, trust me…but alas, all is forgiven as we finally welcome SSX to the table!
Yes, I’ve played previous titles, and I played SSX Tricky to death, this means I had high hopes about this release, a little too high that once the game dropped through the door, I thought I may be disappointed. I can happily report I am not, and have played so much of this game that I have decided to dedicate my first mini series to it. So let’s jump into the review, and look out for some hints and tips in the coming weeks to help you make the most of the time you spend on the peaks.
In “campaign” mode we have 9 deadly descents, the mountains you board down are mapped from real ranges using Google Earth and NASA data, which is rather cool. In each descent you experience 3 game modes, Race It (a race to the bottom of the mountain) Trick It (Highest scoring trickster takes 1st place) and Survive It, a round which I guess would be considered the boss battle, only it doesn’t contain a boss, it’s just up to you to use equipment, perks, and skills to survive harsh environments, and make it down to more stable ground, these challenges include trees, rocks and avalanches to navigate.
Explore mode allows you to explore and race/trick countless paths down various mountains, there are literally dozens and dozens of different drop points and events here.
Ridernet is a clever little feature akin to AutoLog in EA’s more recent racers. It tracks yours and your friends progress through the game by way of times and scores for various events. It’s great to login to a new challenge of beating your friends latest time or trick score in places as vastly different as Africa and the Arctic regions. RiderNet however doesn’t make up for the biggest problem I have with the title, and that’s the lack of any realtime multiplayer. So even though my friends out-trick me, I feel confident I can out race them, however the game lacks the ability to login and invite your buddy for a race down Mt.Fuji. This isn’t a massive loss, as the game really is a great one, however it’s pretty cheeky of EA I think to make this an online pass game. So if you pick up a used copy of the game, to take it online in a RiderNet sense you have to stump up £7 for the online pass on the store, but once paid you don’t actually get to play online with your friends.
If you can overlook the cheeky business side of EA, my only other gripe with the game is the difficulty, now I’m not that great at games, so for me, this is a challenge, but a great one. However I know many quite new to the franchise who find the moves hard to learn and the controls hard to master. I’m hoping this doesn’t put you off, it shouldn’t, as I believe you are rewarded for your persistance and practice.
To the good points now and there’s several…A few old faces from previous games show up, but there’s also new riders to try out, there’s lots of customisation to your characters, with mods and accessories ranging from the pretty to the essential to survive. There’s badges to collect via the completion of various challenges, and pick up a GeoTag (large snowflake) and place it down somewhere hard to find and get lots of points for your efforts.
The fact that the mountains are mapped from real data I think is also great. A game that I believe was worth the wait, it genuinely seems that they put in the effort to make this something a little special in a genre that often lacks such a thing. The best element of all though has to be the soundtrack, this is hands down one of the best and most varied soundtracks in a game of all time, I didn’t think they would better the SSX Tricky soundtrack, but this one is definitely up there with it. (There’s also the ability to add your own custom playlist of music, should the tracks not be your kind of thing.)
Overall, it was a long time coming SSX, but for being this awesome, all is forgiven.
|Gameplay||10/10||Addictive flat out fun, and that’s what gaming should be.|
|Graphics||9/10||Stunning, this is especially good considering it’s very snowy.|
|Sound||9/10||Good grindy noises.|
|Music||10/10||One of the best soundtracks in a very long time.|
|Story||8/10||There is one, it’s not amazing, but it’s a sports game, so kudos here.|
|Customisation||9/10||Great range of characters, mods, perks and accessories.|
|Trophies||8/10||Really rather challenging.|
|Multiplayer||7/10||No direct mode, but RiderNet is very cool.|
|Variety||10/10||Plenty of different locations, paths to take, and event types.|
|Value for Money||8/10||RiderNet provides constant challenge, but if snowboardings not your thing,wait till it’s cheaper.|
Total Score: 88%