Saturday, December 30, 2000

Game Review: SSX

SSX, my first game for the PS2, SSX isn't just another "extreme" snowboarding game. It is THE extreme snowboarding game that all others will try and follow. The game is from EA sports BIG and it lives up to that name, bigger characters, bigger venues, bigger air. SSX takes an extreme sport and injects it with enough adrenaline for a cow!

The intro alone got me psyched to play the game, it had a banging song from Mix Master Mike that set the mood of the game.

The soundtrack for the entire game is good enough to listen to without the game. Another aspect of SSX is the announcer, with some wise ass comments when you wipe hard is just another way the player is drawn into the the game.

The cast of characters are a refreshing jolt to the genre, each character has their own personality and are overflowing with enthusiasm. Like the cast of Street Fighter II the cast of SSX spanns the world, Mac and Zoe represent the US, Elise is the boisterous blond bombshell from Canada, Moby "Mr" Jones rides for her majesty, Kaori and Hiro have the honor of representing Japan, Jurgen carves the powder for Germany, and JP performs for France.

SSX offers up multiple events, Warmup, Freeride, Race, and Showoff. Choose a character and play as them with their preset stats or enter the World Circuit and compete against the other 7 around the world. By winning races you earn experience points that can be used to boost the stats of your character, the for stats are speed, stability, edging and tricks. As you boost these stats your rank rises from newbie to superstar.

SSX offers up the most extreme venues in a snowboard game, they're BIG! Each venue has it's own intro song and represents one of the 8 characters. The first venue SSX throws at you is Snow Dream which is located in Japan and is home to spunky Kaori. Next is Elysium Alps in Europe, then my favorite Merqury City Melt down on the west coat which has the player carving powder thru a metropolitan winter wonderland. From there we travel to the South West to Mesablanca where the race will have you flying thru a mine shaft ala Indiana Jones! Think that was extreme? Test your skills on the Aloha Ice Jam venue, you'll be racing on a giant iceberg being towed to a tropical port! Now that's EXTREME! Pipe Dream is the final stop in the competition and the name of the game here is rail slides, the whole venue is underground and offers up never ending rails to grind some even do loops! Your reward for winning the SSX competion is the hidden venue named Untracked. The name says it all, the course is simply amazing,a mountain that you can go where ever however you like...the ultimate freeride!

This game is abosolutely beautiful and really showcases what the PS2 is capable of! For a first generation title SSX shines BIGGER and brighter with amazing lighting and snow effects, the movements is smooth and the controls are intuitive and become second nature after a few rides. The sound is great, cool music, fun announcer, and the voice acting for each character gives them individuality.