My Time on the Slopes With SSX

I recently came back from 2 hour hands-on event at EA Redwood Shores where I was lucky enough to spend some time with the new SSX. For those interested, I'd like to share some early impressions of one my most highly anticipated games of 2012.

Some Background

Loving the snow.

I love snowboarding. I love the SSX franchise. I've played every game in the franchise with the exception of Blur and the NGage game they released. IMHO, the crown jewel in the franchise is SSX3. They took what they learned from Tricky and merged it with the feeling of being a part of a living mountain community.

Personally, I felt that SSX On Tour was a departure from what made SSX3 so great. The control scheme wasn't great, the frame rate suffered (on the PS2 at least), and the tracks and mountain weren't all that interesting. It had a very disjointed feel and it seemed like a different team had gotten their hands on it and tried to make a game they thought would be edgier and more punk (and thus more marketable?). This comes across in the HUD/Menu Design/Box Art/Music/UberTricks and needless to say, I was disappointed.

It has taken almost 7 years for EA to reboot and rethink the direction of the SSX franchise.... and I have been eating up every trailer, image and interview Todd Batty and team have been leaking. That said, I was ecstatic when Ryan invited me to head out with him and Vinny to get my hands on their latest build. Below are some initial thoughts and reactions from my brief experience (~2 hours) with the game.

Control and Feel

There were two control schemes implemented in the build I played: 'Classic' and 'New'. I've been playing a fair amount of SSX3/Tricky on the PS2 lately, so I almost immediately switched to the 'Classic' controls. While there are a few new gameplay mechanics to contend with (launching your wingsuit, using the rewind feature, etc.), the controls should feel right at home to any SSX vet.

Dougs was crushing it.

Having said that, the 'feel' of the controls is much less precise than previous games. It could have been that I was playing with a leveled down character or boards that didn't carve as well as gear you get later in the game, but the turning felt very touchy (like you almost had to feather your way around turns) and boosting seemed to knock me off my line in some cases. Conor Dougan, the producer who was showing us the game didn't seem to have any issues with it. So I assume this is something a player would get used to given some time with the game.

Gameplay

In our interview, Conor intimated that they were trying to make the game act and respond like it was 'Burnout on snow' -- and the gameplay definitely reflects this. In SSX3 and Tricky, you could press back on the analog stick and come to a complete stop on the mountain. This game by contrast, feels like it is relentlessly propelling you down each run. It is a constant sensory overload of motion blur and HUD elements as you boost your way to the next feature. It's this constant feeling of teetering on the edge of control that adds an element of tension to the gameplay -- and makes the lines that Conor was attempting in the quicklook seem that much more impressive. I'm still a fan of the control and precision provided in SSX3, but can understand the modernization of the gameplay in this regard. Special notes are broken out below:

You're locked in to these rails.
  • Rails: First of all, you cannot fall off of a rail. Once you lock on to one, there isn't a balance mechanic and you can trick/spin to your hearts content. The jury is still out on this - on one hand, it seems a bit cheap. However, given the faster, bulldozing gameplay, it actually makes sense. Also to note, rails seem to have a little gravity to them -- meaning they seem easier to lock on to if you're coming off a huge air and are in even the remote vicinity of a rail.
  • Combos: Full disclosure: I've never been into building huge combos. My ideal run in SSX3 is starting at Peak 3 and linking a super clean run to the bottom of the mountain - if a few combos happen in the process, so be it. This game feels a more like Tony Hawk - you are linking jumps to rails to berm hits back to jumps and it is just insane! Conor explains the combo system in more detail in the quicklook (at about 16:20).
  • Tricks: The tricks look great. The Ubers are supremely animated and those familiar with the series will find them very natural to perform. One thing to note is that the animation for the Ubers seems to finish up mid-animation just before you land (even if you didn't have enough time to pull the trick) to keep you from bailing. This mechanic seems like an attempt to keep your character on their feet to keep the momentum of the game rolling at a high clip.
  • Rewind: Rewind is a new feature implemented this go around. Instead of being able to tap the 'select or back' button to reset your character in the middle of the run if you get into trouble, you can now pres and hold the rewind button to get yourself out of sticky situations. There are of course penalties for using the rewind feature but its a great new addition that will save that massive combo you've been so diligently building or that huge gap jump you mistimed.
  • Butters: Butters haven't been removed completely, but they have been neutered. You used to be able to pull the right analog stick in almost any direction to start a butter and move it around its axis to go from say a tail butter to a nose butter. It appears that you can now only tail press or nose press. Not a huge deal, but it doesn't look quite as cool having Mac butter 540 on a fat rail.
  • Jumping: It seems like ollies carry much further and are much higher in this game than they have been in the past. It also seems like you are jumping off of everything! Whereas in SSX3, you needed about a second to absorb a landing when sticking a huge air, this game seems like you are bounding from jump to jump almost like a trampoline. I'd venture to say that about 40% of the game is spent in the air.

Tracks

There are an overwhelming number of tracks in this game -- and that fact gives me a warm feeling inside. There are 9 regions, ~3 mountains per region, and multiple runs and drop points per mountain. There is definite variety between each region as they each have their own look and feel that shines through in the track design. It should be more than enough to keep even the most diehard player satisfied for months to come. Keep your fingers crossed for dlc regions.

Alternate routes do NOT seem to be a part of the new SSX.

I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3) and I didn't come across any alternate routes in any of the courses I tried.

Also worth noting are the the 'Survive It' tracks. Each region has its own survival run and they are as fun as they are challenging. Each run has a unique survival mechanic you must navigate as well as equip special gear before you attempt it. These survival mechanics range from massive crevasses you have to use your wing suit to clear to a near blind white out scenario in which you have to use pulse goggles to make your way down. Each scenario is distinct and fits well with its own specific region.

Sound

The sound in the new SSX is amazing. This was probably my favorite part of the entire experience. If you like dubstep, you'll be in hog heaven. If not, don't sweat it, there are plenty of catchy breakbeats to ride to -- we're told you can even upload your own tracks which are remixed on the fly (we didn't have the time to experience that). For a more detailed look at the sound design, check out this video.

  • Sound Design: The team at EA Canada has done it again. They took the already stellar sound design found in previous games and upped the ante. As with SSX3 and On Tour, the music drops out when you hit huge jumps and slams back down (to the beat) when you land those fatties. The music also remixes and rewinds when you hit rails and this all meshes with the gameplay so seamlessly that you hardly know its there -- you just know that you're rocking out and laying waste to the mountain!
  • Soundtrack: Again, if you like dubstep - you're stoked. The rest of us can rock to some of the other high quality break beats assembled for this game.
  • Voice Acting: I didn't quite catch any individual character voices, but there is some great voice work done by your Russian helicopter pilot sherpa. This thick ruski voice guides you down each run and provides some clever one-liners as you make your way down the mountain. Alas, DJ Atomika was nowhere to be found.

MultiPlayer

The team has done quite a bit of work on the multiplayer aspect of the game and it shows in spades. They ripped a fair amount of features from Need For Speed HP (such as the wall, challenges, etc) and added a handful of unique mechanics on top of it. The most notable of these RiderNet, yet the most interesting to me was the geotagging system, which allows users to hide (earned) geotags on any run. These tags sit and earn in-game credits until they are picked up by another rider. Conor described them as 'User Generated Collectables' and that shit is pretty f*cking brilliant.

There are so many components to the multiplayer that you're better off watching the first few minutes of the quicklook to hear Conor contextualize it.

Final Thoughts

So where does this leave us. If you're a fan of the series I believe its a must have game. We've been waiting almost 8 years for a proper sequel to SSX3 and while this might not be what you were expecting, its a fantastic package and the multiplayer challenges provides more than enough incentive for you to dive deep and get really good at the game.

As for me, my pre-order should be arriving late February, so I better find a solution for my red ringed 360 ASAP!

See you duders on the slopes :)

And check out the quicklook if you are still on the fence.

54 Comments
56 Comments
  • 56 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by coonce

I recently came back from 2 hour hands-on event at EA Redwood Shores where I was lucky enough to spend some time with the new SSX. For those interested, I'd like to share some early impressions of one my most highly anticipated games of 2012.

Some Background

Loving the snow.

I love snowboarding. I love the SSX franchise. I've played every game in the franchise with the exception of Blur and the NGage game they released. IMHO, the crown jewel in the franchise is SSX3. They took what they learned from Tricky and merged it with the feeling of being a part of a living mountain community.

Personally, I felt that SSX On Tour was a departure from what made SSX3 so great. The control scheme wasn't great, the frame rate suffered (on the PS2 at least), and the tracks and mountain weren't all that interesting. It had a very disjointed feel and it seemed like a different team had gotten their hands on it and tried to make a game they thought would be edgier and more punk (and thus more marketable?). This comes across in the HUD/Menu Design/Box Art/Music/UberTricks and needless to say, I was disappointed.

It has taken almost 7 years for EA to reboot and rethink the direction of the SSX franchise.... and I have been eating up every trailer, image and interview Todd Batty and team have been leaking. That said, I was ecstatic when Ryan invited me to head out with him and Vinny to get my hands on their latest build. Below are some initial thoughts and reactions from my brief experience (~2 hours) with the game.

Control and Feel

There were two control schemes implemented in the build I played: 'Classic' and 'New'. I've been playing a fair amount of SSX3/Tricky on the PS2 lately, so I almost immediately switched to the 'Classic' controls. While there are a few new gameplay mechanics to contend with (launching your wingsuit, using the rewind feature, etc.), the controls should feel right at home to any SSX vet.

Dougs was crushing it.

Having said that, the 'feel' of the controls is much less precise than previous games. It could have been that I was playing with a leveled down character or boards that didn't carve as well as gear you get later in the game, but the turning felt very touchy (like you almost had to feather your way around turns) and boosting seemed to knock me off my line in some cases. Conor Dougan, the producer who was showing us the game didn't seem to have any issues with it. So I assume this is something a player would get used to given some time with the game.

Gameplay

In our interview, Conor intimated that they were trying to make the game act and respond like it was 'Burnout on snow' -- and the gameplay definitely reflects this. In SSX3 and Tricky, you could press back on the analog stick and come to a complete stop on the mountain. This game by contrast, feels like it is relentlessly propelling you down each run. It is a constant sensory overload of motion blur and HUD elements as you boost your way to the next feature. It's this constant feeling of teetering on the edge of control that adds an element of tension to the gameplay -- and makes the lines that Conor was attempting in the quicklook seem that much more impressive. I'm still a fan of the control and precision provided in SSX3, but can understand the modernization of the gameplay in this regard. Special notes are broken out below:

You're locked in to these rails.
  • Rails: First of all, you cannot fall off of a rail. Once you lock on to one, there isn't a balance mechanic and you can trick/spin to your hearts content. The jury is still out on this - on one hand, it seems a bit cheap. However, given the faster, bulldozing gameplay, it actually makes sense. Also to note, rails seem to have a little gravity to them -- meaning they seem easier to lock on to if you're coming off a huge air and are in even the remote vicinity of a rail.
  • Combos: Full disclosure: I've never been into building huge combos. My ideal run in SSX3 is starting at Peak 3 and linking a super clean run to the bottom of the mountain - if a few combos happen in the process, so be it. This game feels a more like Tony Hawk - you are linking jumps to rails to berm hits back to jumps and it is just insane! Conor explains the combo system in more detail in the quicklook (at about 16:20).
  • Tricks: The tricks look great. The Ubers are supremely animated and those familiar with the series will find them very natural to perform. One thing to note is that the animation for the Ubers seems to finish up mid-animation just before you land (even if you didn't have enough time to pull the trick) to keep you from bailing. This mechanic seems like an attempt to keep your character on their feet to keep the momentum of the game rolling at a high clip.
  • Rewind: Rewind is a new feature implemented this go around. Instead of being able to tap the 'select or back' button to reset your character in the middle of the run if you get into trouble, you can now pres and hold the rewind button to get yourself out of sticky situations. There are of course penalties for using the rewind feature but its a great new addition that will save that massive combo you've been so diligently building or that huge gap jump you mistimed.
  • Butters: Butters haven't been removed completely, but they have been neutered. You used to be able to pull the right analog stick in almost any direction to start a butter and move it around its axis to go from say a tail butter to a nose butter. It appears that you can now only tail press or nose press. Not a huge deal, but it doesn't look quite as cool having Mac butter 540 on a fat rail.
  • Jumping: It seems like ollies carry much further and are much higher in this game than they have been in the past. It also seems like you are jumping off of everything! Whereas in SSX3, you needed about a second to absorb a landing when sticking a huge air, this game seems like you are bounding from jump to jump almost like a trampoline. I'd venture to say that about 40% of the game is spent in the air.

Tracks

There are an overwhelming number of tracks in this game -- and that fact gives me a warm feeling inside. There are 9 regions, ~3 mountains per region, and multiple runs and drop points per mountain. There is definite variety between each region as they each have their own look and feel that shines through in the track design. It should be more than enough to keep even the most diehard player satisfied for months to come. Keep your fingers crossed for dlc regions.

Alternate routes do NOT seem to be a part of the new SSX.

I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3) and I didn't come across any alternate routes in any of the courses I tried.

Also worth noting are the the 'Survive It' tracks. Each region has its own survival run and they are as fun as they are challenging. Each run has a unique survival mechanic you must navigate as well as equip special gear before you attempt it. These survival mechanics range from massive crevasses you have to use your wing suit to clear to a near blind white out scenario in which you have to use pulse goggles to make your way down. Each scenario is distinct and fits well with its own specific region.

Sound

The sound in the new SSX is amazing. This was probably my favorite part of the entire experience. If you like dubstep, you'll be in hog heaven. If not, don't sweat it, there are plenty of catchy breakbeats to ride to -- we're told you can even upload your own tracks which are remixed on the fly (we didn't have the time to experience that). For a more detailed look at the sound design, check out this video.

  • Sound Design: The team at EA Canada has done it again. They took the already stellar sound design found in previous games and upped the ante. As with SSX3 and On Tour, the music drops out when you hit huge jumps and slams back down (to the beat) when you land those fatties. The music also remixes and rewinds when you hit rails and this all meshes with the gameplay so seamlessly that you hardly know its there -- you just know that you're rocking out and laying waste to the mountain!
  • Soundtrack: Again, if you like dubstep - you're stoked. The rest of us can rock to some of the other high quality break beats assembled for this game.
  • Voice Acting: I didn't quite catch any individual character voices, but there is some great voice work done by your Russian helicopter pilot sherpa. This thick ruski voice guides you down each run and provides some clever one-liners as you make your way down the mountain. Alas, DJ Atomika was nowhere to be found.

MultiPlayer

The team has done quite a bit of work on the multiplayer aspect of the game and it shows in spades. They ripped a fair amount of features from Need For Speed HP (such as the wall, challenges, etc) and added a handful of unique mechanics on top of it. The most notable of these RiderNet, yet the most interesting to me was the geotagging system, which allows users to hide (earned) geotags on any run. These tags sit and earn in-game credits until they are picked up by another rider. Conor described them as 'User Generated Collectables' and that shit is pretty f*cking brilliant.

There are so many components to the multiplayer that you're better off watching the first few minutes of the quicklook to hear Conor contextualize it.

Final Thoughts

So where does this leave us. If you're a fan of the series I believe its a must have game. We've been waiting almost 8 years for a proper sequel to SSX3 and while this might not be what you were expecting, its a fantastic package and the multiplayer challenges provides more than enough incentive for you to dive deep and get really good at the game.

As for me, my pre-order should be arriving late February, so I better find a solution for my red ringed 360 ASAP!

See you duders on the slopes :)

And check out the quicklook if you are still on the fence.

Posted by Cloudenvy

I really wish I could get SSX, sadly I only have money for one game. : (

Awesome write up, Coonce! the game seems awesome.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Great write up. I don't know about the focus on speed, but it looks fun and I've always enjoyed the series, so I'm sure I'll be playing this.

Moderator
Posted by Barrock

Ouch, no secret short cuts? :(

Posted by MightyDuck

Well said Coonce! The quick look sold me on the game. Looks to be a blast.

Posted by X19

I'm just looking forward to competing in races against other online players. I loved SSX3 but never got the chance to play against anyone else.

Posted by MethodMan008

Yes. Well put. So excited.

Posted by Krenor

pretty awesome, thanks for all the info

Posted by jakob187

Coonce, I've already got blue balls from SSX teasing me so goddamn hard. You are NOT making my blue balls feel any better with this information.

I just need more SSX. That's all. If it's even half as good as SSX 3, then it's 200% better than every other snowboarding game that isn't Tricky or SSX 3. lol

Posted by RetroVirus

I've never played an SSX game before, but this looks so good.

Posted by mrfluke
Posted by CountMacula

Was hoping I'd see a write up like this after that QL, great read & I'm totally stoked for this game now.

Posted by simpsonsfan

Can't wait!

Posted by sawtooth

Thanks for the write up Coonce.

I am pumped for this game.

Posted by KamikazeCaterpillar

Coonce getting mad air! I can't wait for this game.

Posted by Sweep

I agree with the sensitivity of the controls. When I played the game at Eurogamer I was sliding from left to right all over the place in an effort to stick my guy on a straight path. I assume that, as you mention, this is something that you will get used to after a few hours playing.

One thing that stuck with me from my time with the game was they do a much better job with the scale of the environments you are shooting down. It's actually making you feel like you are shooting down a fucking mountain, instead of on a narrow, linear course.

So... I guess you need a new xbox, huh?

Great blog,

Moderator
Posted by CptBedlam

"I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3)"

This makes me a little sad. I really wanted some "zen" areas for relaxed free-roaming. :(

Posted by JackSukeru

From reading that I'm not sure I'm into all the changes, but the game still seems really good so I'll just cautiously adjust my expectations a little.

Posted by Masha2932

Wow, great preview. You should do more previews Coonce, especially for games you are familiar with. It lends an informative air to your writing.

Posted by JacDG

@CptBedlam said:

"I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3)"

This makes me a little sad. I really wanted some "zen" areas for relaxed free-roaming. :(

Yes, free roaming in games like these are so great, just flowing down a huge mountain with no real goal was one of my favorite things in SSX.

Posted by rmanthorp

Awesome blog, thanks a lot for this Coonce! I love that even though you are so hyped about this game you are not afriad to critic it. Shows that excitement does not always blind fans. THAT BEING SAID I CAN'T WAIT MUCH LONGER! Ahhhhhhhhh

Moderator
Posted by Trilogy

Great job Coonce. It's kind of amazing how my interest in this game went from 0-60 in just a week or so.

Posted by Marino

I know we've talked about SSX a good bit in the past and we're on the same page in most regards. I'm glad you liked the new one overall. When I played it at PAX, it was still such an early build that I couldn't really make a definitive opinion of it.

Based on all the new info, I think the new one will be great. We can't honestly expect to get an HD carbon copy of SSX 3. In the long run, I don't think we'd really want that anyway. And I love all the social aspects of the new one. I'm probably going to get it on Xbox for the social stuff despite the PS3 version having a whole extra region (Mt. Fuji).

Maybe, if the new SSX sells well, we could get a SSX HD Collection of the old games. I can dream can't I?

Staff Online
Posted by coonce

@JacDG said:

@CptBedlam said:

"I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3)"

This makes me a little sad. I really wanted some "zen" areas for relaxed free-roaming. :(

Yes, free roaming in games like these are so great, just flowing down a huge mountain with no real goal was one of my favorite things in SSX.

I couldn't agree more. Nothing like popping the game in for a mellow 30 minute cruiser.

While you won't find a top to bottom 30 minute run in this game, there was an astounding amount of variety found in the tracks and regions they were showing. I also didn't get to see everything. I imagine I only saw about ~10% of the total ridable content in the game. So who knows, maybe there is a massively open course and I simply didn't happen to come across it.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

Solid writeup, @coonce.

I've never played an SSX before (well, briefly), but the QL convinced me to preorder the game.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Great write-up! I haven't played an SSX game since the first one for the PlayStation 2 (which I loved), but after seeing the Quick Look I'm really excited for this game. Definitely buying it!

Posted by JacDG

@coonce said:

@JacDG said:

@CptBedlam said:

"I should also mention that each track I played seem to funnel you down the mountain. Hard. I never came across an open expanse of terrain such as 'Happiness' (from SSX3)"

This makes me a little sad. I really wanted some "zen" areas for relaxed free-roaming. :(

Yes, free roaming in games like these are so great, just flowing down a huge mountain with no real goal was one of my favorite things in SSX.

I couldn't agree more. Nothing like popping the game in for a mellow 30 minute cruiser.

While you won't find a top to bottom 30 minute run in this game, there was an astounding amount of variety found in the tracks and regions they were showing. I also didn't get to see everything. I imagine I only saw about ~10% of the total ridable content in the game. So who knows, maybe there is a massively open course and I simply didn't happen to come across it.

I know I will be hard to please because I love this franchise so damn much, and I will miss some of the bordercross style courses, and city environments, maybe it will be added later but even if it's not, I'm sure they will do more than enough to satisfy me.

Posted by coonce

@Marino said:

We can't honestly expect to get an HD carbon copy of SSX 3. In the long run, I don't think we'd really want that anyway.

Agreed. They made some smart design decisions to modernize the gameplay. If you're a fan of the franchise, you're going to be grabbing this game regardless of any of the new changes that were made.

More than anything, I wanted to set expectations for other fans to let them know that there are few gameplay nuances that have been tweaked.

Posted by CountMacula

@coonce: How did you find the variety within the mountain ranges? I.e. I'm sure that the courses set in New Zealand look, feel and play significantly different than the courses in Patagonia, but I'm interested to see how much variety exists when you stay in one area.

Edited by malnourish

Great write up , I am a huge fan of SSX as well. Your blog post is very well written and has good pacing, I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Perhaps this point has been made before, but I feel that the skill differential in this game will come from knowledge of lines and efficient use of tricks, as opposed to the constant combo runs, more conservative landings, and crucial placement of "monster" tricks in SSX3. Did you get the same vibe from your experience?

One more question, how do you think the Online features will work if you have few friends that have this game? Is it more globally focused or does it heavily rely on friends active with SSX?

Also, if anyone is interested, there is a very high-level discussion forum for SSX that has maintained activity for years and, if I recall right, a few members have worked with EA on SSX, it's here: http://www.merqurycity.com/ssx_forum/index.php

Posted by malnourish

@CountMacula: I glimpsed Antarctica and Africa, too. Whatever they have done, it seems like it'll be interesting. And it looks like EA is giving us tons of content, where DLC will actually add to a full game rather than make a game feel more complete.

Posted by clandestine

@coonce: I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Happiness - it's actually in the game. There's an uprezzed version of it somewhere, I don't want to spoil where though. Honestly, it doesn't bear as much resemblance to the original as you might expect - the whole scale of our game is different than SSX in some key ways.

Interestingly, Happiness was one of the benchmark levels we used when we were figuring out the physics of the game.

There are some fairly wide course. I'd say the Himalayas event peak is pretty wide, but obviously it's chock full of stuff.

Posted by MikeGosot
@coonce: Would you recommend to game for persons not interested in the online stuff? I mean, it's a bummer hearing the guy at the Quick Look saying "It's an extended tutorial mode".
Posted by Blackout62

I have been told by a source of questionable repute that DJ Atomika will be in the game as part of the World Tour mode.

Posted by malnourish

@MikeGosot: The way it looked to me was that even if you breeze through world tour the gameplay itself will offer enough content to keep you satisfied, regardless of online interaction. Online things, while looking fleshed out and good in this game, are tertiary to the actual gameplay and variety of locale and equipment.

Posted by EnchantedEcho

@coonce: Awesome preview man, I think it's really awesome that Ryan and Vinny invited you down to play the game.

I played the press demo for SSX last year at Gamescom (2011) and I did feel that the controls felt very touchy at the time. Then again, the version of the game that I was playing was quite early (running at around 30FPS or lower most of the time, and none of the loot stuff or music drops when you land a trick were present). The RiderNet stuff they have done though is just so good and I cannot wait to get my hands on this game.

Posted by GolazoDan

This was an example of a Quick Look Road Show/EX working to the benefit of the developers because I'm not massively experienced in the SSX games. I think SSX Tricky was the one I played and it was one of those I played at a friend's house once in a while. I only really remembered the RUN-DMC song and thank God that's in the new game in a remixed form. However, I just preordered the game because it looks SO. DAMN. GOOD. It really ticks the same boxes for me as Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit from watching the video. Just fast-paced insanity. The RiderNet aspect is incredibly appealing as well, I've liked it in the recent Need For Speed games but this looks like the best version of it yet.

Awesome writeup

Posted by coonce

@CountMacula said:

@coonce: How did you find the variety within the mountain ranges? I.e. I'm sure that the courses set in New Zealand look, feel and play significantly different than the courses in Patagonia, but I'm interested to see how much variety exists when you stay in one area.

Again, I probably only experienced about ~5-10% of total content in the game. Having said that, each range has its own look and feel and while the peaks within a range share some similar characteristics each has enough unique elements and set pieces to keep you occupied for good long while.

Posted by coonce

@malnourish said:

Perhaps this point has been made before, but I feel that the skill differential in this game will come from knowledge of lines and efficient use of tricks, as opposed to the constant combo runs, more conservative landings, and crucial placement of "monster" tricks in SSX3. Did you get the same vibe from your experience?

Interesting point. If you watch the Quicklook, you'll hear Conor talk (~ 27:50 min into the video) about a race event and how course knowledge will play a huge role in finding the fastest line down each run. With the ability to stay locked onto rails and the forgiveness in landing Uber Tricks, it seems that this game will place a stronger emphasis on finding the fastest/trickiest line down each peak than perfectly sticking all of your tricks. And really, that's not so dissimilar from any of the other SSX games: The better you know each run, the more likely are to react to each upcoming feature.

And a great way to learn these tracks (and the best lines for each) will be through RiderNet. The 'ghosting' feature the development team has implemented is like having a dynamic strategy guide built right into the game. You can essentially tap the entire SSX community to find the best line down each run.

said:

One more question, how do you think the Online features will work if you have few friends that have this game? Is it more globally focused or does it heavily rely on friends active with SSX?

The leader boards look to be both focused at both a friend and global level. The focal point of the activity feed (wall) looks to be based on your friends who are playing the game. The rest of the online content (dropping and picking up GeoTags and rider ghosts) seems to be set at a global level. I'm sure you'll be configure all of this in your settings.

Posted by coonce

@clandestine said:

@coonce: I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Happiness - it's actually in the game. There's an uprezzed version of it somewhere, I don't want to spoil where though. Honestly, it doesn't bear as much resemblance to the original as you might expect - the whole scale of our game is different than SSX in some key ways.

Interestingly, Happiness was one of the benchmark levels we used when we were figuring out the physics of the game.

There are some fairly wide course. I'd say the Himalayas event peak is pretty wide, but obviously it's chock full of stuff.

That is great news! Happiness is my favorite run from SSX3 -- its fantastic to hear its being resurrected in this new game.

Its also quite neat to have someone from the SSX team here on our boards. I am incredibly fascinated by the development history of the SSX franchise and how the internal politics of a company as large as EA have shaped the tone and quality of each game in the series. More specifically, I'm curious as to why On-Tour was such a departure (stylistically, gameplay-wise, UI-wise and overall tone) from the rest of the games in the franchise.

If you have the time (and the inclination), I would love to hear your perspective. Either way, welcome to GiantBomb.

Posted by joshthebear
@coonce How did the controls feel in the 360? Do they translate well from a dualshock with the grabs on the shoulders? I'm curious as I'm picking it up on the 360 and worried it'll weird on an xobox controller. Thanks for the insight it sounds like its going to be awesome.
Posted by coonce

@MikeGosot said:

@coonce: Would you recommend to game for persons not interested in the online stuff? I mean, it's a bummer hearing the guy at the Quick Look saying "It's an extended tutorial mode".

Unfortunately, I did not get to play a ton of the single player campaign. From my understanding, it features some light fiction and does serve as a loose tutorial (in that it introduces you to some of the new gameplay mechanics and mountain challenges).

Personally, I'm not very big into typical online features either, but they are doing some very smart things in this space and these mechanics are so seamlessly integrated into the overall experience that you will likely gravitate to them more quickly than you anticipate.

If you really don't want to use any of the online features, there are around 10 characters (plus some unlockables (Eddie wasn't in the lineup, but has been in some trailers)) to level and more than enough content to keep you occupied for hours.

Posted by coonce

@boshjoyer said:

@coonce How did the controls feel in the 360? Do they translate well from a dualshock with the grabs on the shoulders? I'm curious as I'm picking it up on the 360 and worried it'll weird on an xobox controller.

That's a great point.

I have played every iteration of SSX (sans Blur) on the PS2 and I believe that the game is best experienced with a DualShock controller. The shape and size of the controller make it easy to grapple and thus pull any combination of grabs while spinning. The move to the 360 controller (which is an awesome controller in its own right) took a few minutes to get used to, but felt just fine when I was in the heat of the action.

It should be noted that there is a 'new' control scheme which is the default configuration (and was the controller layout Conor used to kill it in the Quicklook). I'm curious to hear which layout you guys prefer after the game launches.

Posted by clandestine

@coonce said:

@clandestine said:

@coonce: I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Happiness - it's actually in the game. There's an uprezzed version of it somewhere, I don't want to spoil where though. Honestly, it doesn't bear as much resemblance to the original as you might expect - the whole scale of our game is different than SSX in some key ways.

Interestingly, Happiness was one of the benchmark levels we used when we were figuring out the physics of the game.

There are some fairly wide course. I'd say the Himalayas event peak is pretty wide, but obviously it's chock full of stuff.

That is great news! Happiness is my favorite run from SSX3 -- its fantastic to hear its being resurrected in this new game.

Its also quite neat to have someone from the SSX team here on our boards. I am incredibly fascinated by the development history of the SSX franchise and how the internal politics of a company as large as EA have shaped the tone and quality of each game in the series. More specifically, I'm curious as to why On-Tour was such a departure (stylistically, gameplay-wise, UI-wise and overall tone) from the rest of the games in the franchise.

If you have the time (and the inclination), I would love to hear your perspective. Either way, welcome to GiantBomb.

I can't speak too much to the earlier games. Though we have folks on the team that have worked on almost all the iterations, I wasn't one of them. This was my first SSX.

From what I've heard, I think a lot of the stuff in On-Tour was because that specific team wanted to make something that really stood out from the other iterations. They wanted to make their mark, I guess. You can see somewhat of the same thing with our game, trying to make a game that's ours as much as it is a sequel, and the delicate balance of making that fit in with what the community rightly expects from an SSX game. If you're especially curious about On-Tour I'll ask a few questions to the series veterans on staff to see what they have to say.

Thanks for the welcome to the site. I'm not usually a forum poster, but it was great to see Giant Bomb folks excited about the game. I've been a member for a couple of years now (and sold a few memberships to folks at the office) so it's really cool to see people I admire dig the game.

Posted by Xeiphyer

Cooooooonce! Just buy a PS3! Then we can play togetherrrr!

Posted by MachoFantastico

Looking forward to it, just wish it was hitting sooner. Frustrating having to wait another month :D

Posted by rmanthorp
@clandestine This is amazing to read man! I'm so happy you took the time to just talk on here you find that very rarly and even rare is when they are so moddest and willing to talk at length about everything. I'm also yet again in mad awe of Coonce how he is answering everyone questions with such depth. I am so incredibly excited for this game it's unreal. Can't wait to catch y'all on the slopes!
Moderator
Posted by isomeri

Posted by gike987

@coonce said:

@boshjoyer said:

@coonce How did the controls feel in the 360? Do they translate well from a dualshock with the grabs on the shoulders? I'm curious as I'm picking it up on the 360 and worried it'll weird on an xobox controller.

That's a great point.

I have played every iteration of SSX (sans Blur) on the PS2 and I believe that the game is best experienced with a DualShock controller. The shape and size of the controller make it easy to grapple and thus pull any combination of grabs while spinning. The move to the 360 controller (which is an awesome controller in its own right) took a few minutes to get used to, but felt just fine when I was in the heat of the action.

It should be noted that there is a 'new' control scheme which is the default configuration (and was the controller layout Conor used to kill it in the Quicklook). I'm curious to hear which layout you guys prefer after the game launches.

I have been replaying SSX 3 emulated (don't derail this thread into a discussion of the legality of emulation) on my PC with a 360 controller. I can say it took some time to get used to the triggers, but I'm now able to get platinum medals on most of the tracks. The game will probably work fine with a 360 controller.

  • 56 results
  • 1
  • 2