By EA SPORTS , EA Canada Released: 2 Mar 12
Also on: Xbox 360
EA Canada's follow up to SSX Tricky is fast, sexy and just as likely to annoy off ol' Newton as ever before. With its 'trendy' soundtrack and menagerie of connected features, however, it's fair to say that it's relevant for 2012's audience, too.
The revised version of the trick system from SSX Tricky is instantly familiar. Tricking fills a gauge along the bottom of the screen, eventually bringing up the word 'Tricky' once full, dropping in the Pretty Lights remix of Run DMC's classic track and making your tricks Über in the process. Every time you pull off one of these signature moves, you'll turn one letter in the word yellow, eventually working your way up to Super Tricky moves, where each character showcases their most preposterous displays of acrobatics.
A World Tour mode forms the spine of the game, where Team SSX jaunt about the globe in search of the world's nine most deadly descents. From the Alps, to the Himalayas, to Alaska, players can carve their way down real mountains for the first time in the series. EA Canada has even had a stab at a story. Former SSX star and floppy-haired d-bag Griff Simmons has gone rogue; determined to beat Team SSX to these deadly descents and talking a lot of smack in the process. Clearly it's up to you to put him in his place.
After completing enough race, trick and survival events at each mountain range, the deadly descent itself finally becomes available. The ultimate goal is to make it down this treacherous run in one piece, unlocking the next mountain range in the process. Each of the nine deadly descents plays host to a specific hazard. In Siberia, for example, it's ice, and you're encouraged to equip an ice axe to ensure your descent is a safe one. Undoubtedly the most interesting piece of equipment you can equip is the wingsuit, which allows your boarder to glide across gaping chasms that might otherwise be impossible to traverse.
World Tour is just one facet of the SSX experience, of course. RiderNet brings a whole host of social and competitive functionality to SSX. You've got challenges, recommendations and the option to race your friends' ghosts - in short, it's superb.
Perhaps the most innovative feature SSX has to offer, however, is the option to leave your mark on the slopes in the form of Geo Tags. By placing these abstract collectibles in hard to reach places about the mountain, you can earn extra credits while you're away from the game.
A special mention must go to the amazing audio work in the game. Catch some big air and the music fades out to a barely audible muffle, the distant beat of the drums the only sound to keep you company in the clouds. When you eventually hit the powder, the track kicks back in, and it's all systems go again. Hearing SSX's Harmony feature at work with your favourite songs, reacting to the very way you play the game, is a genuine joy to behold.
A combination of innovations make SSX one of the most forward thinking games in recent times. The snowboarding itself is solid, if lacking some of the skill required in previous titles, but it's everything surrounding it - RiderNet, Geo Tags and Harmony - that make the game such an involving experience. Its connected features take the genre to the logical next step, setting the benchmark for future extreme sports titles to follow. If you're even slightly competitive, SSX will drag you down its slopes with an iron grip.
Virgin Media verdict:
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