It’s Tricky, Tricky, Tricky
If you are hitting a ramp, bustin a spin, gettin “tricky” poppin for unlimited, boosting awesome, maintaining a clean line all the way to the finish, grabbing first place, then jumping in the back of a chopper piloted by a Russian nutjob to get back to the top of the mountain so you can do it all over again, all while listening to some truly, bomb tunage, you are either Sean White, or you’re playing SSX for the Xbox 360.
Do you remember the good old day’s when gaming was, well, fun? When you would play the same level on Tony Hawk, over and over again, alone, in your room, drinking Mountain Dew, wearing nothing but the same pair of underwear you had been wearing for three days, just so you could beat your old record, and brag to your friends? Well SSX is for you then my friend, giving you a taste of that old school, gaming euphoria, you have been craving for so long. The game is, simply put, rad, and with over 150 drops for you to sink you snow boots into, there is a lot of rad to be had.
Now, if you can make an argument in any way that this game is lacking (assuming you’re not micro analyzing the snot out of it), then that lacking would be in its story, in that it really doesn’t have one, and what is there only serves as a rather long tutorial to help you figure out the controls.
Basically, you are team SSX, and you’re trying to be the first to conquer all the world’s Deadly Descents, nine gnar-gnar drops that are considered the to be the worlds most difficult, and dangerous, before ex-SSX member, Griff the bag of D, beats you to it. It’s not very engaging, and I honestly couldn’t bring myself to care. When I went for the gold in SSX, I didn’t do it for the team, I did it for myself, and my own sense of accomplishment. I wanted it for me and no one else. I would however, still encourage you to play the story mode, only because in regards to showing you how to play the game, and easing you into it, it serves its purpose well.
Besides, when it comes to the brass and tax of it all, getting your adrenaline pumping a million miles a second, SSX brings the twacked like a fat, gagger of white powder. There are few things gaming related, least in recent memory, that are as satisfying as carving your way down the slopes of SSX, grabbing huge air, and stringing together a gianormas combo to amass excessive amounts of points, which is made easy by controls that are as tight as a scotsman’s purse, allowing you to use both the right control stick, and button combinations to pull off feat-after-feat of awesome. There is a slight learning curve to them, but when you get ‘em down, the controls feel both intuitive, and fluid.
Graphically speaking, the game looks really cool. What the game’s engine lacks from a technical aspect, the designers more than make up for in its art design, smooth frame rates, and beautifully laid out mountains, each sporting a unique look and style. China looks lovely as you’re grinding down the Great Wall, while Alaska sets you up with foot-after-foot of piping and grind rails for you to mess around with. Some maps are more challenging than others, and you’re not going to like them all, but there is most certainly something here for you. And if there isn’t… well, maybe the issue is you.
I would have to say though, the most impressive aspect of the game is the music, both in terms of song selection (it’s really good), and in how the music is used to enhance the gameplay. As you book it down a hill, the music is mixed, and remixed live, based on what you are doing, and how you are doing it. For example, grab a huge slice of sky off a fat jump and the game will suck the bass of out of the song, then drop it back in, just as you come smashing into the snow, or grind a rail and start spinning, and the track will start looping until you stop your spin. It’s a really cool effect, and it truly enhances the immersion factor of the game.
I guess what I am trying to tell you is this: the game is a lot of fun, and I would highly recommend it to just about anyone. With addictive gameplay, awesome music, and a jackpot of content, SSX is a wonderful throwback to the games of yesteryear.
Review by William Madden, the best looking one of the bunch