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Platform

 Xbox 360

Genre

Extreme Sports

Publisher

Electronic Arts

Developer

EA Canada

ESRB

E (Everyone)

Released

February 28, 2012

 

 

- Does a good job grabbing the vibe and speed of the original SSX games
- Trick system that's straightforward and awesome to watch
- Exploration of the mountains is rewarded
- The rewind feature
- Online competitions
- Ability to "skip" runs the player might be having problems with

 

 

- Should I be offended that players can use real world money to top up (in-game) SSX credits?
- Kind of wish I could import my Saints Row: The Third character (ridiculous, I know, but still...)

 

 

Review: SSX Blur (Wii)

Review: SSX (PS2)

Review: SSX Tricky (PS2)

Action Figure Review: Elise (SSX Tricky)

Action Figure Review: Moby (SSX Tricky)

Review: Skate 2 (360)

 

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SSX

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

ssx          ssx

 

In my mind, SSX became a true SSX game the first time I landed an uber trick. The remixed strains of the Beastie Boys' "It's Tricky" blasting, streams of lights streaking out from the boarder's hands, and the rippling shockwave that undulated from the landing spot. Right there, that was SSX and everything I liked about the series. That moment, even more than the semi-ridiculous tutorial plunge that does a very

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good job getting players up to speed on the controls, is what confirmed this was an SSX game and that the developers stayed true to the fun and over-the-top gameplay and physics that made the first few games stand out in my memory. Plus, I completely forgot about the original announcement trailer.

The snowboarding and

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navigating the mountains have become both more difficult and easier at the same time. It's an interesting trick.

Easier because if you screw up enough times, a player can just opt to take some experience points and cash, "finish" the course, and move on to something else (at least in the World Tour mode). More immediate though is the Rewind feature that allows those really horrible screw-ups to be undone by holding down a button. There's a price to pay for using the feature but the trade-off of points/combo multipliers is usually worth it. What other option would a player take if plummeting into a bottomless pit?
 

ssx          ssx

 

At the same time players will be rewarded for exploring the many different lines down each course, especially given that a Race line is much, much different than a Trick line. Racing is about speed; performing a series of smaller tricks to allow for strategic speed boosts is separate from Trick runs where the first one down is usually the one with the lowest point total.

There are a few features that also come in handy, like the pick-axe that allows better control on ice or the wing suit, which is, for lack of a better term, totally sweet. The wing suit is manually operated and can turn a whiff into a homerun in regard to tricks. Players will want to deploy it in specifically marked take-off zones, but because it can be activated whenever the player wants to, it further opens each run to more possibilities for tricks and shortcuts, reaching areas otherwise insurmountable.

That's the part of SSX that is definitely more difficult than previous games. To legitimately "conquer" each mountain, it takes a lot of practice, precision, and the correct load-out to do it. Bombing along a less-known line and suddenly being smacked with a jump that's marked with the wing suit icon... it just means there's some more pre-planning involved (and possible use of the rewind button).

 

ssx          ssx

 

The pick-axe and wing suit are items that are purchased with SSX credits, alongside upgrade boards and different suits. Credits are earned for completing a run -- the player doesn't even have to "win" though you do get more for winning -- but they can also be purchased with real world money to make the upgrade path as easy as taking out your credit card.

Besides the "story" Campaign where the "Deadly Descents" are tackled, there's also a free ride mode that has all the courses open, provided the player has the right gear to take them on.

The developers paid a lot of attention to the online portion aspects of SSX. While gamers don't play directly against one another (i.e. simultaneously) there's plenty of competition available, with ghost data and the like. What really should be pointed out is the Prize Pool in the Global Events category. EA holds specific "events" where a particular mode and course are highlighted with a ton of SSX credits prize money up for grabs for a specific time. Placement in the rankings for the event determine the amount of credits that will be earned. It's a great idea to have a good performance actually mean something within the context of the game besides bragging rights.

It warms my heart that SSX has finally made a full-on next-gen appearance and warmer still that it's so much fun to play. There's definitely some nostalgia playing into my opinion of SSX -- the original was one of the first games that The Armchair Empire received for review -- but even taking that out, I'd still say SSX is a damn fine title and definitely worth your time and attention.

- Aaron Simmer

(February 29, 2012)

 

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