Release date: 02/3/2012, Format played: Xbox 360, Developer: EA Canada, Publisher: EA Sports, Genre: Sports.
Defy Reality. Rule the Planet. A rather grand catchphrase for a game series that has been gone for more than eight years, but it’s one that the much awaited reboot has easily fulfilled.
The SSX franchise has always provided a rush, throwing you down deadly mountain faces with nothing but a thin strip of plastic between your character and a rather grisly end, and though there is much more focus on realism in this incarnation, the rush is still there. You can almost see yourself being flung down the slopes of Mount Everest with nothing but a tank of oxygen to keep you conscious and that gets the adrenaline pumping.
This game comes equipped with everything that made the SSX games of the past so wonderful and more. There are the ridiculous slopes that provide the opportunity to pull off ridiculous tricks and speeds that make the eyes water. There are jaw dropping leaps and tricks that make you want to clap with delight. Best of all though, there are new features, like the wing-suits that allow you to take flight and pulse goggles that change the way that you see the world. It also sees the return of some of the best characters the franchise has to offer. Zoe Payne, Psymon Stark and Kaori Nishidake all make their returns, complete with mental super tricks that leave your jaw dropping. Along with returning characters there are new characters, each more than capable of going toe to toe with Psymon and co.
There are also the “Deadly Descents,” insane runs down 9 of the most recognisable mountains in the world, including Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro that will leave you gasping for breath. But the game is not just mad stunts. There’s a storyline that provides a bit of urgency to the game. The story sets up Griff Simmons as the bad guy and Team SSX’s mortal enemy. Griff and Team SSX – The best snowboarders from across the globe – are in a race to do the 9 Deadly Descents first. I know I certainly kept coming back just to make sure it wasn’t Griff who won.
If there is one thing that’s disappointed me, it’s the lack of local multiplayer. As much as I love flying down the mountain solo, there are few things better than showing your mates how it’s done (and hopefully embarrassing them in the process). It’s only a minor blip though, and I can certainly live with that. It’s been a long wait, but it was well worth it. EA has delivered an electric experience that anyone can – and probably will – enjoy.