PS3 Reviews: SSX Review

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SSX Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

8.9

Gameplay:

 

8.4

Sound:

 

8.8

Control:

 

8.5

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Online Gameplay:

 

8.7

Overall Rating:       8.6

 

 

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

EA Canada

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Sports

High-flying insanity. SSX is the epitome of this phrase, from top to bottom; in this case, from the top of the unbelievably steep and dangerous mountain slope to the bottom, where any normal human would be thankful to be alive. But little about this reboot is “normal” and therein lies its addictive style. There’s no doubt that this is SSX through and through, with an emphasis on smooth, death-defying tricks and gorgeous environments that continually force you to reevaluate your approach.

The game really does look great. The effects from your constant carving are meticulously designed – the snow visuals are excellent – and each distinct backdrop is breathtaking. You’ll go just about everywhere, from the craggy cliffs of Patagonia to the iconic Great Wall of China, and each location puts this title’s high production values on display. Everything is colorful and sharp, and I only wish I could’ve had more time to focus on the scenery…I was usually flying by it at light speed, so I couldn’t afford to stop and meditate on the view.

EA Canada kicks things into high gear with a great soundtrack that will satisfy both your speakers and your eager ears. We require a music selection that matches the off-the-charts style and flair of the action, and we get just that. We’ve got stuff from The Qemists, Run-DMC (“It’s Tricky” plays whenever you increase your combo), The Naked and Famous, and Noisia, which means that the available tracks are both diverse and extremely fitting. The audio effects sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but that’s okay. All in all, SSX looks and sounds fantastic.

Believe it or not, there is a story behind this new effort. We’re not talking about a lot of character development and dialogue, of course, but it’s there: basically, team SSX is out to rip through the nine Deadly Descents. But a former team member, Griff, says he’ll beat you to the punch, so it’s a race to see who can carve the most snow in the most dangerous locations on earth. And why is it so damn dangerous? Not just because it’s always steep, but because there are all sorts of environmental factors to consider. Ever grind an Alaskan pipeline…?

As mentioned above, there are just so many awesome locations and each of the intricately designed tracks are oodles of fun. There’s always something to see, and you will occasionally receive new equipment to deal with fresh obstacles, such as an ice pick for extra grabbing ability and an oxygen mask when you’re up super high on Mt. Everest. And don’t get me started on that wingsuit! The best part is that every course boasts branching paths, which offer multiple opportunities to best your opponent(s). For example, the correct path can be crucial when involved in a straight-up race.

And because there’s a combination of speed and tricks, you won’t always be focusing on one or the other. However, as you might expect, the crowd-pleasing aspect of SSX has always been – and continues to be – the outlandish mid-air tricks that dazzle the eyes and boggle the mind. After you land your first set of combos, you’ll realize that this game is just dripping with special style, and you’ll be dying to get back to the top of another mountain. Pulling off trick after trick is a satisfying and not overly challenging endeavor.

You can opt to use either the right analog stick or the face buttons to execute your maniacal mid-air stunts, and the key is keep your combo high throughout. Doing so allows you to hit Tricky level and eventually Uber-Tricky, which can be quite difficult but success results in a gigantic score. If you’re a long-time fan of the franchise, you can also select the classic controls, but I don’t think they withstand the test of time. The new controls just seem more responsive and intuitive. Overall, the entire process of going downhill is a fluid, entertaining experience.

The only problem is that after a while, the game starts to get a little unforgiving. Firstly, few races can be won in your first few attempts, as you really need to memorize the courses. That’d be fine if it wasn’t for the perfect AI, which means you really can’t be taking too many risks. Secondly, that flawless AI kicks in big time during later trick-based events as well, which can be even harder to overcome. However, the die-hard fans are probably expecting a certain level of difficulty, and anticipate a fair amount of practice time.

But the action never stops and the ceaseless pulse-pounding stunts will keep you playing. Plus, the new Survive It courses are all about intense, hectic, edge-of-your-seat gameplay; that wingsuit is used quite often on such courses, and you’ll even have to outrun avalanches and brave tremendously hostile terrain. When you’ve had your fill of the single-player fun, you can participate in multiplayer Global Events, a continually updated series of events that will test you and your friends. Furthermore, RiderNet will keep track of your progress and give people a chance to top your best performances, which in turn gives you incentive to improve.

The only significant downside is that there is no traditional multiplayer, which feels like a definite lagging. There’s no split-screen option, which would’ve been great for the old-school arcade fans, and would’ve made this game more of a party title. I mean, why eliminate split-screen from this one? That doesn’t make much sense to me. Still, the combination of RiderNet and the Global Events greatly expand the game’s longevity, and given the increasing difficulty of the single-player events, you could really spend a ton of hours with SSX. If you get hooked...

As I said at the start, it’s just high-flying insanity to the max. The control is reliable and responsive, the courses are expertly designed, there’s great variety in both the locales and the events, the satisfaction level is crazy high, and the production values are equally high. Yes, it gets unforgiving (and frustrating), there’s no standard split-screen option (still a bizarre omission), and the AI makes almost zero errors, but above all else, there’s no mistaking the entertainment factor. It’s not only evident, it’s oozing from the damn screen.

The Good: Great-looking, great-sounding. Beautifully designed courses. Nailing tricks is very rewarding. Control is smooth and responsive. Various locales and events keep everything fresh. Global Events and RiderNet enhance longevity.

The Bad: Difficulty can get frustrating. AI is borderline flawless. No split-screen multiplayer.

The Ugly: “Well, it’s nice to see you’re perfect…guess I need a lot more practice.”

3/3/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (11 posts)

dillonthebunny
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 10:18:09 PM
Reply

I think with this SSX, the lack of split screen is disappointing to some, but personally I left those days where I would game with five around me over a decade ago, these days most of my friends are online, and some are from different countries, so the way this multiplayer works is good, in fact I prefer it.. no lag, no crappy lobby system, you just try and beat your friends, its great!
dont get me wrong, I wouldn't not want a physical multiplayer, but I totally understand what they did what they did.

as for AI.. yeah, I have seen a couple of characters bail, but never when they're in first place. I think if there wasnt so much to do exploring or using the global events, the AI would REALLY stick in my throat.
but although I have played the world tour, 95% my gaming has been in explore more and the global, neither modes could possibly get old either which is superb.

...as long as I stay clear of a handful of annoying tracks, and keep my custom music topped up with true SSX tunes, then I cant see this getting old for a long time

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Dancemachine55
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 10:38:59 PM
Reply

Was going to get this soon, but a lack of split-screen has reduced it to a "buy later" position, such as the $30 bargain bin.

As much as I love SSX, and I'm overjoyed to see it is getting great reviews, it's a game mostly enjoed with friends on the same couch as you. Online multiplayer is good and all, but many of my friends have 360's, and I find the PS3 controller preferable for sports games like SSX.

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___________
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 2:37:23 AM
Reply

im really enjoying it so far, as i said before only things bringing it down are the camera, controls, and upgrades system.
to call the controls twitchy would be understatement of the year!
gets so frustrating wanting to slightly adjust your trajectory and instead going flying into a tank slapper.
upgrade system is a bit useless too.
so many games do this these days, they give you so much credit and nothing to spend it on.
binary domains the same, i had so much credit i found myself blowing it on useless sh*t like more ammo.
SSX is the same, you either dont have anything to buy that would be useful, or you do but its so dam expensive you wont be able to afford it for another 20 races!
they really have a missed opportunity.
they could of made the suits and boards have massive differences, and maybe even different specials but they dont.
preorder for instance unlocked a special suit that does absolutely nothing but change the look of your character.
wow, thats really helpful!
just feels like they could of done so much more with the upgrades system.
whole game feels a little bit rushed.
not unfinished or anything like that, but it just feels like everythings not as well organized and implemented as it could be.

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Fox hounder
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 3:09:27 AM
Reply

Never played an SSX game before, definitely interested in this one though.

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SmokeyPSD
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 5:33:28 AM
Reply

Ahhhh what?!? No splitscreen? This generation developers have just lost the plot. SSX, local gaming was a HUGE component, just like that, it's gone?

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Geobaldi
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 6:54:41 AM
Reply

No split-screen is a definite turnoff as that is one reason why the originals were so great. This one is fun as well, but I still prefer SSX Tricky over any of the other games in the series.

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dillonthebunny
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 11:13:23 AM
Reply

I think maybe some here should take the rose tinted glasses off and go and play SSX, SSX Tricky, SSX3 and SSX on tour, and then come back and say that either one is better than this new installment.

I recently downloaded On Tour form the PSN, its excellent, but the control, environment, graphics and game play cannot match this gens effort.


as for split screen, times have moved on.. blame internet gaming, because now we can play each other across the world, devs are not that interested in spending the extra dev time in creating this mode. from memory only Unreal Tournament 3 went back and updated their game with a split screen, there must be other games that have done this, but I can only think of UT3.

What they might do is make a proper match making multiplayer, perhaps, but I doubt it.


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SmokeyPSD
Monday, March 05, 2012 @ 3:07:26 AM

Don't need no glasses to see what is going on.

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Nas Is Like
Sunday, March 04, 2012 @ 6:55:25 PM
Reply

I played the demo and it was very fun. The visuals are amazing and the gameplay reminds me of the SSX games from back in the day. The content seems very overwhelming though, and I totally understand what you mean by your "the ugly" part Ben. I tried so hard the other day to get top place, I ended up getting around 350,000 points when the guy in first place got 1.3 million, lol. I was shocked.

Might have to pick up this game, there's nothing like it out in the market today.

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Sir Dan
Monday, March 05, 2012 @ 8:04:44 AM
Reply

No local multiplayer? Just lost my purchase. Screw that. Why do so many developers treat us like we're a bunch of no social life shut ins? Playing with the person next to you on the couch is way more satisfying than playing online with a stranger with these kind of games.

Too bad SSX. We seemed so perfect for each other.

Next.

Last edited by Sir Dan on 3/5/2012 8:06:01 AM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 8:44:23 AM

So you only buy games with split-screen? Man you're missing out. Go out and play some football instead!

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