Review by Mister Sinister
A brilliant and well-polished snowboarding game - sets the bench for other titles REALLY high !!
As this was one of the earliest titles for the Sony Playstation 2, I bought it (and a fair few others since, it must be said) without even thinking. Was I wise to do so ? Or do I have much to learn ? Read on grasshopper ...
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME
This is a sports game through-and-through. You pick your snowboarder from the list on offer, including the beefcake Jurgen and the cute midgetboarder Kaori, take the tutorial to learn how to board, and then hit the slopes and try to catch some big air !!
There are a number of stages you can go through, including Mesablanca and the Tokyo Megaplex, some of which are really long, some of which are really short, but ALL of which are graphically STUNNING.
GRAPHICS - 9/10
STUNNING. Simply stunning. The action is fast-paced but there is no flickering or glitching of the graphics, the powder-effects when you are boarding are great, the icy patches LOOK like ice, the boarders all have beautiful animations on them (watch them take note of other boarders' positions and hurl abuse at them as they pass them by, or shake their fists at them if they get ridden off the track). Everywhere you look at this game, the graphics have been done with skill, and heaps of attention.
SOUND - 9/10
Again, as with the graphics, the sounds in this game are brilliant. Fine, I agree with you - in this day and age we have the right to EXPECT that the sound should be of this quality, but it's still nice to find a game which thoroughly delivers. SSX features completely individual voice-acted characters (with the exception of the race commentators, who do a number of races each), and the music is VERY enjoyable - fast paced and light-hearted, to keep the mood of the races above-manic, and the action as frantic as can be !!
CONTROLS - 10/10
I'm not kidding you, the controls in this game are spot-on. As a beginner you will spend a fair amount of your time on the ground chewing ice and breaking your teeth, but once you've learned to master a couple of decent combination moves, you will find you break open a whole new level of the game - big air combos.
When you're up in the air, tweaking your board and pulling off one more to another to another, the controls are crisp and responsive - you go that way, the board goes that way, and so on. It is one of those very rare titles where your skill with the controller really does have immediate and direct results on your performance in the game (by which I mean I'll have none of this "the computer cheats" lark that I usually let slide - if you hit the deck it's because YOU can't cut the mustard).
PLOT - 1/10
It's a set of races - there's nothing innovative about it, but if you bought a sports game for its plot you'd PROBABLY want your head examining, non ?
GAMEPLAY - 9/10
It's hilariously good fun to play - your boarder/s level-up with you in terms of your exposure to the game and expertise, and you get to unlock new boards, costumes, tricks for your trickbook and distribute points that you win after each successful race among your core attributes, making your boarder bigger and better until they become ? Kick@ss.
REPLAY VALUE - 9/10
This is a REALLY fun title to play ... and to think it's just the first in the series !! There are only a set number of slopes to board in the game, and you cannot make your own which would have been a really nice feature, but aside from that minor gripe, the replay value of the title is high (it will diminish if you buy the second and subsequent titles in the series, but if you don't have them, it will remain consistently high). Even once you've mastered your boarder and maxed-out their skills, you will still want to come back and give the competition a bit of a trouncing from time to time - it's THAT addictive.
VALUE FOR MONEY - 10/10
Given that you shouldn't have to pay the earth for a copy of this game now (particularly since there are other titles in the series), you could do FAR worse than nipping out and picking yourself up a copy - see how it all started - enjoy the fun :)
OVERALL - 9/10 (This is NOT an average)
This title boasts TONNES of gameplay, HOURS of addictive button-pushing and thumb-waggling, and a whole load of great big toothy smiles at the end of it. I wholeheartedly recommend it - it's quick and easy to get into, and once you've mastered (as I say) at least 1 or 2 tricks ? They'll be bringing you your dinner rather than making you eat at the table, or they KNOW you won't eat at all !!
MAIN GOOD POINTS
* Fast-paced action with beautifully-detailed graphics
* No sprite-glitching or clipping issues
*Stunning slopes and surrounds
MAIN BAD POINTS
* When you go off the track too far, the game teleports you back. This is a MINOR niggle, but it can disrupt play if you're trying to take what you believe to be a shortcut, and the game tells you otherwise.
* Lack of variety of animation on the spectators ? But I'm being really picky by saying that - you won't even notice until you've played the game for a few hours.
SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?
Yep, I'd definitely recommend it - you can see from the "Main Bad Points" I put down just how negligible they actually are - this game is a VERY well polished product, and should be a proud part of your collection if you're the happy owner of one.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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