PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
I’ve always enjoyed a good snowboarding game though it certainly has been awhile since I’ve found myself playing one. I liked playing snowboarding games more for the racing than anything else. So when I got my hands on the new SSX title I knew I was going to enjoy the racing part of the game. I wasn’t to sure what my thoughts where going to be about having to perform tricks. I’ve never been a big fan of that or any type of extreme sports where you pull off special tricks. However, as I continued to dive into what SSX brought to the table, I found myself enjoying everything it had to offer.
About The Game
SSX is an extreme snowboarding title where nine members of team SSX take on the Deadly Descents in 9 different regions. There are 3 modes for you to choose from which includes ‘World Tour’ mode where you take on the 9 regions of the 9 deadly descents. You also have ‘Explore’ mode with a total of 150 drop locations for you to make your way down the mountain. Last, you have ‘Global Events’ which is the online mode where you choose the location and go up against the scores and times of others around the world.
As you play through ‘World Tour’ and travel to each region you will be introduced to each member of Team SSX by way of a comic book-like introduction for each character. By completing each region in ‘World Tour’ you can unlock each character that way. Or you can earn credits in game and unlock them by purchasing them with those credits. Each character has their own unique feature and you’ll learn something new about each piece of a equipment that you will need to survive a certain region. Equipment ranges from armor, a wingsuit, ice pick, special goggles and much more. Each piece of equipment is needed to survive certain locations. I must say that I did enjoy the use of the equipment, but mostly when it comes to using the wingsuit. It’s fun to play and experiment with that on any location.
As you play the game there are three types of events in each location; a racing event, a trick event and a survival event. Each of the events are a lot of fun and can be extremely challenging. Especially when you play some of the survival events – those are the ones I had the most difficult time with. It’s easy when it’s just trees to hop over, but when it comes to large gaps in the track or boarding down the side of a mountain where, if you drift just a little to far to the left or right you will fall over. There are some really challenging moments with survival mode. Those who like that type of a challenge will certainly enjoy it.
The races are the events I had the most fun with as I simple enjoy a good race when it comes to anything. One thing to note about this game, is that you can buy and upgrade gear. This will allow you to purchase faster snowboards. However, you can also purchase mods that improve on your abilities as well. So before starting an event, depending on the type of event, you can purchase these mods to help you. So for me I made sure to get as much speed as possible when it came to racing and I was able to clock some good times.
When it comes to tricks, I normally don’t care for them at all. However, with SSX I was able to full enjoy it way beyond what I was expecting to. I gave it a lot of time to learn and once I did I loved doing the event tracks. The same goes for the racing, but when it came to doing trick events, I would make sure to buy a board that was better for tricks and also purchase mods that helped with tricks as well. They did a really good job of making it easy to learn and play. The big factor in the tricks is that you keep your multiplier up. Anyone can pull off a lot of big tricks, but if you can’t do it one after the other, without crashing or needing to rewind a little ways because you messed up, you won’t be able to get a big score. Those who perform good runs without crashing or rewinding will keep there multiplier up, so when you start performing big tricks that get you a big score, the multiplier will increase that score. I must say, I had a great deal of fun with the tricks and I would think anyone would.
When it comes to playing in the Global Events, which again is the online mode, I found it to be a great deal of fun as well. The way it is set up is most interesting and creates opportunity for a lot of fun that you can keep coming back to for new challenges. There are no head to head matches in online mode, meaning you won’t be racing side by side with one of your friends. It works by choosing a location and picking the style of run you want to make, either race, trick or survival. Once you do that, there is a certain amount of time for you to play on a specific map. Meaning some of the large events that are going on will last up to more than a week while others will last only hours, or minutes, depending on the time of day that you get online. For example, you have the entire map to choose from and players from all over the world will choose events to race. So if you choose one of your favorite tracks, there will be a certain amount of time left to race it until it resets and begins again. As you choose an event, it usually costs credits for you to race that event. That goes into a pool of money for you to win. So you if finish with a medal you will earn some of that pool of money. Before you select an event it tells you how many players have raced it, how much money is in the pot and how much time is left.
I found the online aspect to be done really well even though I still would of liked to go up head to head against friends. But still, the way the online is set up makes it a lot of fun and keeps you coming back. So you don’t just set a record on your favorite map, you set it to win a pool of money until the time resets it again. Then you can jump right back in it again to win another pool of money. You will just need to hope that a lot of people like your map and play it. If you get involved in maps that hundreds of players play, the amount of money that is available to win is huge. Those events cost upwards of 100,000 credits to participate. Though it is certainly worth it if you think you can challenge and be one of the best on that track. I should also mention that once you enter the race and put money down, you can race it over and over again until you are happy. Or at least until time runs out on you, which is then, game over.
Another good thing about the online play is that it updates you each time you come back by saying “While you were away…” It will then let you know if you finished first or if someone ended up beating your time. It also shares with you how much money you did win if you did leave a race in a medal winning position. Once again, I loved the set up of the online play because it will always be something new and fresh for you to go and challenge. Who knows what type of scores you will have to go up against sometime down the road if you want to continue to master a specific event. I do think they should of had an overall all-time leader board option available, to see who did what overtime instead of just leaving it to the winners for that specific event during the time you participate in it. Still, it’s very well done and most certainly entertaining and challenging.
Game play – AI – Controls
The gameplay at first came across as very sensitive and almost to fast paced for me. Over time though I was able to adjust and found myself enjoying it a lot. There are ways of slowing yourself down as well if there comes a point where you think you are cruising at to fast of a speed. Obviously you don’t want to do that if you are participating in a race. The controls for learning the tricks may take you some time to get down but it is all very simple to learn and perform once you get an idea of what you are doing. Overall the controls and gameplay handle very well. The difficulty in the game is also fairly high, you will need to do well if you want to win gold. Though it does start you off fairly easy and gives you plenty of opportunities to win. Those who need a more difficult challenge will get that with ‘explore mode’ and certainly so with the ‘online mode.’
Sound – Graphics
Visually nothing had made me go wow but it is a crisp looking game with beautiful mountain top views for your eyes to enjoy. I think you will be to focused on what you are doing to really notice things to much. The soundtrack is pretty decent and I definitely like the music they choose for the menu’s. I think most people will like the soundtrack.
Online – Multiplayer
Online is a ton of fun and set up very well in it’s own way. I did wish they had multiplayer where I could race against friends at the same time. But once again, the way it is set up is still a lot of fun and I think a lot of people will enjoy it. I also wish they had an overall leader board for you to look at as well. Still, the game is a lot of fun for you to play online and go up against others in those events.
Enjoyment Level – Fun Factor
My enjoyment with this game was extremely high and even more than what I was originally expecting from it. As I made my way through the game and all of its offerings, I found myself becoming more and more hooked to each mode and it’s gameplay. I had a great deal of fun tricking it out as well which is something I wouldn’t have expected. I also liked going after a number of trophies, and for those of you who like trophies, there are some good ones to go for. I had a lot of fun with this game and I would expect a lot of people who enjoy snowboarding to end up having a lot of fun with this title as well.
One more thing that makes the gameplay interesting and a lot of fun is something called Geotags. These are user created collectibles that are scattered throughout the map by people who play it online. Collecting geotags will earn you some credits and the longer your geotags stay on the mountain without being collected the more credits you will earn. So it’s another interesting option for you to play with while playing the game. So if you are boarding down the mountain and accidently fall off a cliff, you might notice someone hid a geotag way at the bottom of that cliff where no one is suppose to go.