Review by Arock66

"SSX is the epitome of next generation sports gaming on the PS2."

On the cold, foggy morning of October 26th, 2000, the videogame industry changed forever. It was on this day that Sony's long awaited Playstation 2 finally launched. Along with the launch of the Playstation 2 came along the first line of the next generation games. These were the pioneers of the next generation of videogame consoles. Among these launch games was a little game by the name of Snowboarding SuperCross, or SSX for short. SSX took gamers thru an unbelievable ride with over-the-top jumps and tricks through some of the most unique courses ever seen in a snowboarding game.

Right from the moment you turn your PS2 on and start playing SSX, you'll notice that this isn't your average snowboarding game. This game has style. The attention to detail is noticed from the first moment you turn the game on, all the way to the time you turn your PS2 off. EA decided to create a snowboarding game from scratch. They decided to use fresh ideas, and incorporate them into the gameplay in ways that were previously unthought-of. These new innovations are what make SSX so much fun to play and are the reason that SSX was the best launch game for the PS2.

You are allowed to choose between 2 different race modes; World Circuit and Single Race. When you first start out, there are only 4 available characters to choose, only a few variety of boards to use, and only 2 types of clothing to wear. To unlock other characters, boards, clothes, and race venues, you must play on the World Circuit mode. This is based on a series of “heats” or races that you must qualify into in order to unlock the secret characters and such. In total, there are 8 different characters, 4 types of clothing per character, over 10 different boards, and over 8 different courses to play on. This means you'll have plenty to unlock, which will add to the re-playability of the game.

The mode that SSX is really known for is its Trick mode. This mode is played on the same courses as on the Race Mode, however minor changes are made to the tracks. The most obvious change between Trick mode and Race mode is that there are no computer opponents playing against you. Trick mode is you versus the score board. Basically just rack up as many points as you can in the limited amount of time. There are also special bonus snowflakes placed throughout the courses to give you score bonuses and to multiply your trick point total.

By completing the modes in the World Circuit, you will unlock player attributes for your character. These can be used to increase the skills of your snowboarder. You can build your character up to become more than twice as fast as when you originally chose your character. This means that you'll be able to do more tricks for every jump and hill that you go over. This adds lots of variety to the game and courses. You won't be doing the same tricks over every hill, as was previously the case in past snowboarding games.

The biggest change that SSX implemented was the Speed Boost bar. This is a bar on the right side of the screen that displays how much “Speed Boost” your character has at any moment. Speed Boost is acquired by completing tricks. So, when you successfully complete a jump without falling, you are rewarded with Speed Boost. Speed Boost is used to give you more height to your jumps, more speed while racing, and more stability from other races trying to knock you over. Basically, Tricks = Boost = Speed = Winning. The more complex your tricks are, the more boost you are rewarded. This is a subtle, yet amazingly deep, game-changing innovation. In previous snowboarding games, the fewer tricks you did, the faster you got to the finish line. This is the complete opposite of SSX. If you don't do tricks in SSX, you will not win any races.

The second biggest change SSX has over previous snowboarding games is the implementation of sound and music into the gameplay. The music will actually change in real-time depending on how well you are doing on the course. If you are falling a lot and you have low Speed Boost, the music will be mostly drums and bass. The more jumps you start completing, the more the music will begin change. When your Speed Boost is full, the music will have all the instruments playing and will almost feel like your character is one with the music. When you hit big air, the music will fade away, and you'll only hear the soft quiet whistle of the gentle breeze of air flowing past you. Once you land, the music will jump back in on beat. It really makes you feel as if you're in control of the music.

The controls are pretty intuitive and shouldn't take too long to get used too. Fans of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series should feel right at home with SSX. Every single button on the controller is used for some purpose. The four shoulder buttons are used as grabs in the air, the digital and analog controller pads are used for movement, and the others are used to jumping and speed boosting. After your first run down the training course, the controls are already second nature for you.

SSX defined the way future snowboarding games will be judged. With its seamless integration of sound and music into the gameplay to the innovative trick boost, SSX changed the way people think about extreme sport games. SSX became the epitome of next generation sports gaming on the PS2, eclipsed only by its 2 sequels.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/07/04

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