depecheload's SSX (PlayStation 3) review

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A Minority Opinion

The original SSX games are some of the most beloved "extreme" sports games of their generation, lauded for their controls, level design, sense of speed and creativity.

The new SSX...well, at least it has a good soundtrack.

I'm sorry, I simply don't get the love for this game.

Neither control system works very well. For starters The "tap one button then another" mechanic is needlessly complex, what was wrong with just pressing two buttons at the same time? It's also very unresponsive, and you can barely even tell since most of the time you're spinning or flipping while doing the trick. You only know you screw it up when you see your (lack of) points after.

But that's the least of the game's control problems, because neither the standard nor classic control scheme really let you play the game like the old games. In the old games, pressing down the jump button would "lock" your character, allowing you to prewind into a jump or spin so you would rotate faster once in the air. In this new game, you can still prewind, but holding down the jump button no longer locks your character into place. So instead of having a second or two to prewind, you have half a second or less. It's a manic feeling that makes controlling spins nearly impossible.

This wouldn't matter that much if the game was at least a little bit forgiving, but it's not. SSX hates you. If you want gold in an event then you can't make mistakes. A wipeout screws up your momentum so hard that you're never retake first if you lose it, and you need to keep a combo going for the entire level in a trick event if you want to win it. Where's the fun in restarting a race because you wiped out at the last jump? The rewind feature serves no purpose, using it slows you down so much you might as well quit.

Even worse, if you do manage to string together a massive run all in one combo, it might not be enough for a gold medal. I put together a few runs that I considered to be pretty damn epic, and they didn't even get me a silver medal. I compared them to runs on YouTube and I literally can't tell what I'm doing different. When a game's scoring system is that cryptic, something is wrong.

The "deadly descent" stuff is nonsense, frustrating beyond all belief and barely worth a mention. So I'm not going to bother even talking about it. Equally pointless are the RPG elements filled with countless costumes and boards you'll never ever want to use.

If you think this game is a faithful continuation of the SSX series, go to YouTube and watch some clips from Tricky, especially the Aloha Ice Jam and the Tokyo Megaplex levels. THAT'S what SSX should be about. Fun (and very hard) levels that at the same time allow you to be a human.

They also look cool! I get it, these are based on a real mountains. Well, hey, reality is boring. Let me board through a snow covered city or a giant glacier that's melting, not off some dull, gray cliff wall. Why did they remove all that fun stuff but still frame the game around some idiotic competition with horrendous 90s-style motion comics? If you're going to go serious, go serious, don't give us the worst of both worlds.

I'm sure people are going to say that I hate this game just because I'm bad at it. Fine. Whatever. I suck at this game. But I suck at it because it's a frustrating broken mess filled with ugly, hard to navigate levels and poor control, not because it's actually hard. And I have better things to do with my life than play a game over and over again so I can figure out how to overcome its own shortcomings in order to win.

4 Comments Refresh
Posted by AndyMP

I'm not sure I understand your criticism. First off, you are comparing it directly to previous incarnations - even referencing Youtube videos - but this isn't the same game. If it was, EA would be criticised for throwing out the same product but with shiny new graphics.

"Fun (and very hard) levels that at the same time allow you to be a human" implies that you like the realism yet "reality is boring" - so again, I'm not sure whether your point of view is that too realistic is good or bad.

You're more than entitled to dislike it, but to call it "broken" is wrong without describing how it's broken. Having levels that are hard to navigate because there isn't just one set path through them doesn't make a game broken.

Posted by depecheload

@AndyMP said:

I'm not sure I understand your criticism. First off, you are comparing it directly to previous incarnations - even referencing Youtube videos - but this isn't the same game. If it was, EA would be criticised for throwing out the same product but with shiny new graphics.

"Fun (and very hard) levels that at the same time allow you to be a human" implies that you like the realism yet "reality is boring" - so again, I'm not sure whether your point of view is that too realistic is good or bad.

You're more than entitled to dislike it, but to call it "broken" is wrong without describing how it's broken. Having levels that are hard to navigate because there isn't just one set path through them doesn't make a game broken.

Re: each of your points....

1. I want a game similar to the old games. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

2. That doesn't imply I want realism, that implies I want a fair challenge. I don't know how you came to that conclusion. A game can be fair AND unreal...kind of like the old SSX games.

3. I think I just described how it was broken. I stand by it.

Posted by Xpgamer7

I don't quite agree with your review, as I was fine with the controls after a few moments, and the fact that the courses are based on real mountains is a disconnect from the actual ones themselves. They took the mountains as bases and redesigned them to work as tracks. If anything the only problem you should have with that is preferring more unreal locations in general.

It is hard and unforgiving, almost Midnight Club like. But that doesn't diminish the actual play at least to me.

On the other hand I find your steadfast points great. finding the worst parts of a game makes people think about how it works. Most bad reviews aren't even reviews, but yours takes the points and forms opinions over them. It shows what you want, how you felt and what you think. And that's great.

Posted by drac96

I understand most of your arguments, except for one about the controls. How can you not tell if you're flipping or spinning? If you hold the control stick up you're going to flip, if you hold it to the side you're going to spin. There's nothing complex about it.

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