PlayStation 3

Published on February 24th, 2012 | by Evan Selleck

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SSX from EA Sports is a Breath of Fresh Mountain Air [First Look]

It’s been a long time since an SSX game came out, so EA Sports finds themselves in a tricky spot (no pun intended). After such a long absence like this, the developer runs the risk of having a populace that isn’t all that interested in the product anymore. Specifically, does the SSX name mean anything to gamers in today’s market? That’s why a demo is so important, especially in this particular case. You need to draw attention to your game, which is more or less an effort to bring a dead franchise back to life, and it needs more than demonstration videos or PR blurbs.

Luckily for EA Sports, the SSX demo speaks volumes. Simply put, this game is a lot of fun, even if you’re not someone who thinks playing a snowboarding game is all that fantastic. The ability to make huge jumps and literally soar through the sky, pulling off insane stunts for what seems like an eternity should be plenty to draw in gamers. It isn’t realistic in any style, but it isn’t supposed to be and that’s the fun. That’s the appeal.

The demo, like most demos before (and after) it, doesn’t offer much in total game play. You get to see only two mountains, and partake in only two events. The first mountain range you have access to is part of the Rockies, in the United States. It’s one of the Race it! gametypes, which has you finding the fastest line to the bottom, all the while doing tricks to boost your “TRICKY” meter, which gives you an infinite amount of boost while activated.

The second mountain range is in New Zealand, and it’s all about getting the best score while performing the most insane tricks. The Trick It! gametype is pretty straight forward, much like the racing one before it: do as many and unique tricks as you can to get the best score.

What works the best for SSX is the fact that the mountains look so different, and offer such a different playstyle from one to the next. It would have been pretty easy for EA Sports to just design the mountains pretty much all the same way, and leave it up to the player to make the most of it. Instead, they opted to use some creativity while creating the digital slopes, while also giving plenty of room for the player to navigate and explore, and create their own combinations of tricks.

As for the controls, they are almost too responsive. Using the left stick to control your boarder is quick and accurate, but at the same time it can be pretty easy to lose control and turn too sharply one way or another. The game, despite its arcade-like schematics, forces you to take a light touch with actually navigating the mountain. If you push that stick too far to the left or right, your boarder is going to show you the error of your ways.

And, I won’t lie, being able to use a wingsuit is pretty awesome, and a ridiculously cool addition to the SSX franchise. Launching out of a cave, using the wingsuit to reach a spot further out, and then continuing a trick-filled run is pretty amazing, and it’s a good way to keep up the pace.

There are a lot of features packed into SSX for when it launches February 28th, 2012, and the demo is only a brief taste, but it manages to showcase all the fun that will only get better in a week, once all of the doors are opened.

SSX by EA Sports will be available for both Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. The demo is available for both consoles now.


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