Scratches the arcade snowboarding itch
It seems that rebooting franchises has become just as popular a trend with game publishers as it is in Hollywood, with Fifa Street, Tomb Raider, Syndicate, Twisted Metal, Devil May Cry and arcade-snowboarding game SSX all making a comeback in 2012. SSX is one reboot that brings some welcome changes to the series but loses some of its character and style in the process.
It has been 5 years since the last SSX game was released, and the gameplay is largely unchanged from the older games. You will spend most of your time barrelling down a mountain at breakneck speeds in race and trick events, the biggest new additions to the game are the “Deadly Descents”. These boss battle-like events will test the player not to perform tricks or get to the bottom of the mountain the fastest, but to survive. Each descent has its own twist, be it the wingsuit which allows you to fly in mid-air and pass huge gaps, or the ice picks which help you to maintain traction on icy terrain. These events provide the most exciting moments in the game, however there aren't enough of them and I found myself getting bored of the race and trick events after a while.
SSX features over 150 drops across 10 mountains, and despite some of the tracks overlapping, there is much more to see here than in previous SSX games. As well as a lacklustre single-player campaign, there is an addictive multiplayer mode which will keep people playing SSX long after its release. The multiplayer mode, named RiderNet, allows you to compete against friends and earn credits to spend on new gear. There are also global events, in which you pay credits to enter an event with thousands of other players and earn credits based on your performance. Unfortunately there is no way to go up against other players in real-time, you are restricted to racing their ghosts.
One thing the SSX series has been known for in the past is its colourful characters and art style, these have been lost for a more realistic look and feel in the latest game. All of the tracks in the game are based on real mountain ranges, although they have been edited to make them more exciting and fun to play. Great music is another staple of the SSX franchise, and the latest game lives up to that legacy. It features a fresh mix of dubstep, drum & bass, hip hop, rock and punk which sets a great backdrop to the over-the-top action.
Introduced this time is a rewind mechanic, which I found almost useless in the race and trick events due to the harsh punishments for using it, you might as well just restart the event. I often found myself getting stuck in rocks, which can be very frustrating when it ruins a big combo. Despite its issues, the gameplay remains addictive and fun, and SSX is a strong return to a franchise that has been gone for too long.