SSX - Review

SSX returns to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Extreme Snowboarding

SSX on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 offers adrenaline-packed snowboarding gameplay that sees players battling nine of the world's most treacherous and diverse mountain ranges, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the solid ice ranges of Antarctica, and the deadly jagged rocks of the Alps to the volcanic tunnels of Kilimanjaro.

There are various goals to complete across a number of game modes, from being the quickest to cross the finish line to simply making it to the end of each course in one piece as Mother Nature dishes out deadly assaults. You're also challenged to beat your objectives with the greatest amount of style possible in levels designed to offer gravity defying daredevil trick opportunities at every turn - in SSX, you're a beginner if you still have both feet strapped to the board while spinning 200 feet in the air.

To come out on top, players will need to master the game's physics-driven snowboarding. There's no traditional acceleration or braking, just the speed you build up and regulate through physical interactions with the environment, although pulling off combinations of tricks rewards you with a handy boost function.

Pull off tricks and combos in SSX at GAME

Hit The Slopes

World Tour mode is a solo campaign set across nine mountain ranges, each featuring three different peaks and roughly five to seven events. It's dressed up as a story-driven offering - it has a wafer-thin plot, in which you're challenged to put an old member of your snowboarding crew in his place by conquering each peak and slope - but largely acts as a tutorial for the main event, Explore.

Explore mode lets players soak up every inch of the massive game world in over 100 challenges, and allows you compete in asynchronous competitions against online rivals, setting fastest times on race events, posting highest scores in trick ones, and descending as far down the mountain as you can in survival ones.

The game might not offer traditional head-to-head online races (although if you're competing on a track at the same time as a friend you'll also be able to see their ghost in real-time), but the excellent use of jazzed-up leaderboard systems drives a sense of constant competition. Like the best social networking platforms, the game learns what you enjoy playing and pokes you whenever your records get beaten, offering you a non-stop flow of new challenges without ever having to return to the main menu.

Deadly Descent in SSX on PS3 and Xbox 360

Survival of the fittest

SSX also introduces 'Deadly Descent' events for the first time in the long-running series. Offering some truly epic cinematic set pieces, these challenge you to make it to the end of a run while surviving brutal natural hazards such as avalanches and rock slides. They deliver plenty of nail-biting, varied gameplay as you carve your way around dangerous icy chasms with a pickaxe, bid to overcome the freezing Antarctic cold by staying in direct sunlight, and don a special jumpsuit which adds surface area to your body to enable a significant increase in lift as you glide over gaping chasms.

Getting the most out of SSX requires a combination of skill, instinct and timing that can initially be tricky to master, but once you get the hang of things it makes for some of the most fluid, fast and satisfying gameplay available in any genre. We've been eagerly anticipating a new game in the SSX series since 2007's SSX Blur on Wii, and this long-awaited series reboot doesn't disappoint.

GAME's Verdict

The Good:

  • Fluid, exhilarating gameplay.
  • Some inspired Deadly Descents.
  • Addictive online, social networking features.

The Bad:

  • No split-screen play.
  • There's a steep(ish) learning curve to overcome.
  • We had to wait so long for a new SSX.
SKU: Reviews-165706
Release Date: 14/03/2012