Review by jubrany

"A good snowboarding game"

I went out and bought this game on launch day without even trying it out after hearing all the good press on it. In my opinion, SSX snowboarding is a pretty good launch title but does not deserve the title of ''best PS2 launch title'' in my book (RR5 all the way). It does a lot of things excellently, but I do have some gripes with it. Okay, on to the ratings.

--Graphics-- 8
Above average graphics for a launch title and arguably the best graphics for any launch title (TTT is the best graphically IMO). There are no annoying ''jaggies'' and the character models and their movements are really cool. The frame rate does bother me though, since the game cannot keep a steady frame rate. There are moments when its truly running at 60 fps but mostly this is not the case and does hinder the experience for me.

--Sound-- 10
Hands down, the best sound on any boarding game. There are voice overs for the characters and the announcer, all of which are upbeat and funny. The sound of your board carving the snow is sweet too.

--Music-- 8
The music fits the mood of the game perfectly and is totaly wacky. You got to hear it for yourself.

--Controls-- 8
The game uses all the buttons on the DS2 pad quite well (doesn't use the pressure sensitivity on the buttons though). The tricks are not too easy and not too hard, which is a good thing, and the way they move in the air is somewhat believeable (unlike Cool Boarders 3, 4, and 2001, which are all terrible IMO.) Performing tricks is somewhat reminiscent of Cool Boarders 2 (the best PSX snowboarding game ever) which utilizes the charging method for spins and tricks; the longer you hold the stick in the direction you want to spin, the faster you spin. There is no button to swap to and from fakie position, which is a minor grievance, but a grievance nontheless. Instead, you must do a jump with a 180 (or a 540, 900, etc.) to switch between positions. The select button resets your position if you stray too far off the main route, which is very very useful.

The game centers mostly around the world circuit mode which lets you go through a series of courses (7) and also has a points mode for each course called ''Showoff''. The only other mode is single event which lets you race and do showoff on the courses you have unlocked. There is also a warmup mode for beginners that teaches the gameplay mechanics.

The problem I had with the game (that i find extremely annoying) is the world circuit mode. You must race each of the seven courses 3 times in a row (no, you cannot save until you win all three) and place in at least 3rd out of 6 riders in each race. The problem is that the first two races (quarter and semifinals) are simple and the finals are frustratingly difficult. The riders are closely packed together (to the point that you pretty much come in first or come in last). All you have to do is get pushed over by another rider and you will be passed by everyone with no real chance to catch up. This frustrated the caca out of me. You have to race two races again and again to get to retry at the finals, a total pain in the butt. Needless to say, it took me forever to get past the first course. But after you can get past the learning curve, the game is good again. You win experience pts and upgrade your character and win new boards (similar to Tony Hawk). And eventually there is an 8th course to unlock (its just for fun, you race by yourself on it).

--Replay Value-- 7
Hard to distinguish at this point since i have been busy with Ridge Racer 5, but the two player mode should keep things interesting. Too bad there is no half pipe mode. Because there is no half pipe, i am reluctant to give a high replay value score. But the tracks are fairly long (2 min) and there are several paths to take so its not that bad after all.

--Overall-- 8
A fun game with solid gameplay; it does have its annoyances, but so does every other snowboarding game ive played. Definitely worth playing at least once.

--Buy or Rent?--
It would be hard for me to say Try before you buy (seeing as how i bought it without even making sure i liked it), but if you can only have a couple launch titles, make sure you like it and rent the game. If you like snowboarding, you shouldn't be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/10/00, Updated 11/10/00

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