8.5 Overall Score

Tons of drops, varied terrain. Ghosts.

Gimmicky gear. Illogical story.

Written by on March 19, 2012 in [, , , , , , , , ]

SSX fans have waited a long time for the franchise to return to consoles. SSX 3 was the last, and only, Xbox game for the series, but the SSX team has been around for a while now. With some fresh powder, new locations, and some old friends, SSX is out to prove that they are once again the flagship for all games related to snowboarding. Does the reboot of the SSX hold up? Or should it have been left behind in pleasant nostalgia?

There are three basic game play modes for SSX. World Tour; Explore; and Global. Basically the meat and potatoes of the game. World Tour starts off with you taking command of Team SSX as Zoe Payne. Griff Simmons has left the team to seek fame and fortune, more than what he already has, and is embarking on a journey to conquer the nine deadly descents in the world. These nine peaks take you from the Rocky Mountains to the Himalayas with a lot of stops in between. Zoe is assembling the best snowboarders in the world to beat Griff at his own game and shred the nine deadly descents before him. On her recruiting mission, Zoe takes on each of the riders at their specialty sites, such as Antartica and the Swiss Alps. If they perform well, they’re invited to join the team. There’s one problem with the logic used for recruiting them. To join the team, Zoe has to beat them. This isn’t presented like they won’t join the team if Zoe beats them, but rather Zoe won’t let them join unless she beats them. Faulty logic here, it seems.

Putting that aside, the story line is kind of bogged down by the concept that Zoe has to gather NINE other riders to accomplish what Griff is doing on his own. Sounds to me that Griff is still the big winner here as he’s still doing it himself. But hey, it’s not like the high flying, g-force defying tricks and speed are the height of realism here anyway, so we’ll let that pass.

Essentially, in World Tour, you run through several peaks in the area to get primed for a run at that location’s deadly descent. If you pass, you unlock more areas and move on. Well, sort of. If you fail too many times, the game lets you move on anyway. Wait. What?

Moving on.

The Explore mode is basically exactly what it sounds like. You revisit all of the sites and can run all over the mountains to build up scores, race times, collect snowflakes (also referred to as GeoTags), and GeoTags that other players leave littered all over the place. GeoTags have a ‘credit” value, which you can use to unlock various runs, gear, boards, mods, and outfits. All to make it a better place to run through. Also, your friend’s best times are available here to try to beat in the Explore mode. While the GeoTags can be left behind by anybody playing the game, Explore only allows you to challenge your friend’s best times/point totals as well as default high scores with the AI. You can also earn (and buy) GeoTags to leave around. The point is to leave a tag in some difficult place to find, and if nobody comes across it within 24 hours, you earn the highest value of credits possible for that tag. Tags have varying point totals, and you earn the highest points possible for finding one left behind by someone else the lesser amount of time it’s been waiting there.

Snowflakes are similar and have a credit value as well, but these are the “collectibles” placed all over the world by the developers. About 600 of them to find in total. Good luck. At least there isn’t an achievement for finding all of them, just roughly one third, or that many GeoTags as well.

Overall, in Explore you can tinker with your gear, mods and boards to find the right combination to make the most points possible and beat your friend’s challenges and lay down your own.

After that, we move on to the Global mode. This is the SSX version of multiplayer, except there are no lobbies or wait times, or live people to race against. Some don’t like it. I love this. I can race against times set by other players of the game that are set apart in “brackets.” Get a good enough time, and you move into a medal based bracket: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.” After the event itself ends (they’re timed), you are awarded credits based on where you finished. You can get bumped out of a higher bracket or out of qualifying all together if enough people beat your best time. But, if there is still time left, you can go back and try to better your score/time and re-qualify.

Overall, the game’s controls are pretty easy to learn, a little more difficult to master. After the tutorial, I felt pretty good about the move sets until I actually jumped into my first run, then I became somewhat of a jumbled mess. Crashing, repeating tricks and generally doing poorly. If it’s been a while since you put in a snowboarding game, or if this is your first time, the learning curve takes a little time to get used to. After that, the game is a blast barreling down peak after peak after peak. Yes, sometimes the environments start to look the same, but it’s all covered in snow, which usually looks the same no matter where you go.

Ultimately, the game is fun, and has the right amount of challenge to it that makes you go, “just one more run, I can beat this guy!” If a game is doing that, then it’s doing something right.


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Author: Erik Johnsen View all posts by
A married gamer that spends time editing many of the articles you read right here at The Married Gamers. Erik sometimes reviews Xbox One games and writes articles, but spends his available free time from work or hanging out with his family hunting achievements for a higher gamerscore.

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