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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Extreme Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Montreal

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

February 27, 2007

 

 

- “Maestro” controls work better than one might expect to orchestrate uber tricks

- Somewhat cel-shaded, pastel-colored visuals will impress

 

 

- Levels not much different from any others in previous SSX iteration

- The easily frustrated gamer will be just that early on trying to adapt the unique “maestro” controls to translate into success on the slopes

 

 

Review: SSX On Tour (PS2)

Review: SSX Tricky (XB)

Review: Tony Hawk's Project 8 (360)

 

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SSX Blur

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Much like flying down a snow-covered mountain on a pair of skis or snowboard, experiencing something new and innovative in gaming for the very first time is always exhilarating. SSX Blur, a Wii exclusive, isn’t much different in its overall design and gameplay than earlier versions of the snowboarding and skiing franchise, including last year’s SSX On Tour.

 

ssx blur          ssx blur

 

But the truly novel motion-based control setup of SSX Blur, utilizing both the Wii Nunchuk and Wiimote simultaneously in a creative fashion will turn you into a snowboarding and skiing maestro. You’ll soon be orchestrating an extreme sporting adventure with the defining gameplay of the over-the-top SSX franchise: flying through frosty aerial tricks over snowcapped hills with signature uber tricks.

 

Unfortunately, before you can really enjoy that glacial sensation of mountainside gratification, you’ll have to spend time learning the precision touch it takes to successfully grasp (with two hands) the control schematic. At first, SSX Blur’s controls are completely confusing, as guiding your snowboarder/skier with the

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Nunchuk while concurrently waving the Wiimote around, similarly to an orchestra’s maestro directing beautifully harmonious music, will require training when it’s time to pull an aerial uber trick.

 

These uber tricks are the very heart of SSX Blur’s move system, and to perform them, you’ll first have to collect the uber trick icons that are lying throughout the many stages of SSX

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Blur in the “free-ski” mode that allows you to select your gaming options and what event you’ll next compete in.

 

To pull off the uber truck moves, you need to wave your Wiimote in a pattern (such as a Zorro “Z”) consistent to a corresponding uber trick. Other icons throughout the levels act as score multipliers, especially necessary when you’re taking on a score challenge. The more uber trick icons you collect, the more uber tricks available to you, the more opportunity you have to garner higher scores and win races. Twisting and twirling in a physics-defying manner is the trademark of SSX titles and totally classifies this EA Big extreme gaming series as the penultimate in snowboarding/skiing gaming. As a whole, SSX Blur is utterly amazing in its use of the Wii’s distinguishing controllers.

 

Music has always been a big part of any EA Big game, and SSX Blur’s no exception. The music interacts with your gameplay, so as long as you’re pulling off tricks and sliding down the mountain without bailing out or crashing, the song keeps on grooving with your moving, giving you increased speed and air for your jumps. However, SSX Blur’s tunes can get annoying if you happen to hit a rough stretch of stumbling and bumbling, because it will constantly rewind back to the beginning of the song.

 

ssx blur          ssx blur

 

Returning are familiar SSX characters from previous games, with Mac, Allegra and Kaori among others, if you happen to remember any of theses characters in the first place. (I honestly couldn’t.) There are three peaks that contain 12 tracks, with the signature big jumps and huge ramps that SSX has always had. There’s nothing to really differentiate the peaks and tracks of SSX Blur from other SSX games, but as always they provide plenty of opportunity for extreme snowboarding/skiing entertainment.

 

It’s not just the controls that will eventually impress gamers. Despite being a Wii-only game, SSX Blur sports some mighty high-flying graphics that wouldn’t totally be out of place on Xbox 360 or PS3. That’s not to say that SSX Blur provides eye candy on par with Gears of War or MotoStorm, but its somewhat cel-shaded, pastel-colored visuals are very well rendered and along with some breathtaking turbulence-left-in-your-wake speed effects leave an absolutely cool eye-catching impression.

 

SSX Blur is a icy blast of refreshingly cool gaming, as you shred down snowy slopes with a Wii Nunchuk in one hand and a Wiimote in the other, watching the wintry scenery blur right by at an extreme speed.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(April 2, 2007)

 

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