Reunions can be bittersweet, especially when they’ve been a long time coming. You find out that things aren’t exactly as you remembered them, and that there have definitely been some changes in the time you’ve been apart. Aside from hardcore fans and those prone to bouts of irrational nostalgia, there wasn’t a lot of clamouring for a new SSX title. Extreme sports aren’t the hot property they once were, and it’s been a while, since we last saw a successful snowboarding game.
The good news is that the new SSX is still about snowboarding. You don’t get off your board and walk around, or get into any of those other emergent gameplay diversions that a lot of the games now just love to throw at you. It’s snowboarding pure and simple; with the addition of RPG-esque customization for your boarder.
The game takes a cue from SSX3, which came with a solitary (although massive) mountain with various drops, or events, on it. This template has been expanded to include nine different real world ranges from across the planet with each of them home to a handful of well (and not so well) known peaks, and which in turn host a range of drops, each of a different event type. These events are usually either trick events or race events, or variations on the two, but you’ll also find survival events in the form on deadly descents and avalanche runs.
Can't touch this
There are three modes to choose from on the deceptively sparse main menu. The World Tour is the obligatory single player mode that acts as little more than a tutorial for what comes after it. Explore mode, on the other hand, goes over the same ranges and mountains, but jam-packs 150-odd drops into it. That’s a lot of content to go through, and they’re also free from the awful attempt at story and cutscenes that will have you rolling your eyes, as you play through the World Tour.
Global Events, the last option, is SSX’s requisite multiplayer suite. Note that SSX has no real-time multiplayer, but instead has you competing against your friend’s times or against ghosts, or against challenges that are generated from the playthroughs of the otherwise random user base. This works as brilliantly as it did in Criterion’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and allows players who are usually intimidated by traditional competitive multiplayer to enjoy the game at their own pace.
Races and trick events are more or less self-explanatory, with tricks building up boost that you can use to elevate off ramps, if you’re tricking or zip past opponents if you’re racing. And boy does the racing feel great! There’s a magnificent sense of speed to careening down mountains on a plank of synthetic. The trick system is also well balanced in its difficulty. Enterprising players should be able to put together chains of intricate tricks, with the game letting you perform single or double handed grabs on all four corners of your board, spins using the right stick, as well as tweak your basic tricks using the shoulder buttons.
Not too late to call it off?
Updated 21 May, 2013, 5:27 pm IST
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