Review: "SSX"'s Gratuitous Tricky Leaves Us Weak-Kneed

Review: "SSX"'s Gratuitous Tricky Leaves Us Weak-Kneed

SSX (360/PS3)

Developer: EA Canada

Publisher: EA

Release date: February 28, 2012

Price: $59.99

✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✩✩

Score: 8/10

Barreling down Mount Everest at 150 km/h. Grinding on the Great Wall of China. Hurtling blindly over pits of lava in the belly of Kilamanjaro. Free falling for 10 seconds and hitting a rail without breaking your combo. Flying through the air like a squirrel over 1,000-foot drops. These are the moments that make SSX better than real life. I wish they were real life.

Playing the latest SSX has made me sure of one thing: some things will always be fun.

Halo, Goldeneye 007 and Street Fighter will never get old. Jumping on a trampoline, being underwater and chasing your dog around will never feel boring. SSX, it seems, belongs in this group as well. That's not to say it's the same as previous entries—in fact it's quite different. It's got new controls, new equipment, new hazards, new challenges, new ways to play together, and what these days is the holy grail for game publishers: endless new challenges.

For all that, it still feels intimately familiar for fans of old school SSX, and were it not for one glaring omission, it would be practically perfect.

DEATH RACE TRICKY

Before we get to that let's talk about what it does have. There are three types of levels: race, trick and survive. In race, you race. In trick, you try to score the most points. In survive, you simply try to make it to the end; more on that later.

You'll start at "World Tour." Each of the nine members of Team SSX—some familiar, some new—tackles one of nine regions, each with numerous peaks and intersecting runs. The final challenge of each region is a survival level that requires special equipment to overcome its unique obstacles: armor for a rocky run, a headlamp for dark tunnels, an oxygen tank for high altitudes, a wingsuit for areas with dizzying drops after every other jump, etc.

After World Tour comes "Exploration" and "Global Events." The former lets you challenge any course with any rider and any equipment, provided you've purchased the right gear with the credits you earn after every run. Here you can also challenge the ghosts of your friends' best runs, which are automatically sent to your game. It's actually quite neat. But the last option—Global Events—is where things really get interesting.

Tags: ssx, ea-canada, ea, snowboarding, extreme-sports
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