SSX, Bring On The Avalanche (demo impressions)

          The demo for the newest iteration of SSX is now on PSN and XBOX Live and it is bigger and better than ever.

          SSX (2012) is the first SSX game since its Wii iteration, SSX Blur. With so few snowboarding games in the past years, SSX has come back to take the throne. Judging by the demo, they should have no problem carving up the snowboarding genre.

          To those new to the SSX franchise, be forewarned this isn’t a snowboarding sim. That is, unless it’s possible to launch hundreds of feet into the air pulling off three 1080s, with a couple flips thrown in, slamming back down onto a rail pulling off moves with one foot, or no feet on the board and finally launching into the air twirling the board in front of you and eventually landing on some fresh powder. Just typical moves for SSX. Although that may sound difficult and confusing to new players, where SSX shines is in its ability to bust out insane moves with a few simple button presses or turns of the right analog stick. This is definitely one of those, “easy to learn, difficult to master” type games.

          The trick system has been slightly revamped but veterans of the franchise can switch to the classic controls. If you haven’t played a previous game you can learn the trick system through the in-game tutorial. You have the option of using the right stick, buttons or the classic controls, for grabs. The tutorial is quite adrenaline filled in itself. You jump out of a plane and skydive to learn various tricks, from basic grabs and spins to the characters’ signature move, the tutorial gives you an arsenal of moves to tear up the mountain.

          In the demo you can play as two characters that have been with the franchise since its inception in 2001; Zoe Payne and Mackenzie “Mac” Fraser. To play as Mac you have to “refer a friend” through the main game menu. As you would expect, both characters have different stats and pull off tricks quite differently.

          The demo allows you to explore two mountains, each with its own game type. On Whitehorn Mountain you are able to play the Race It mode. This mode is all about speed. Land huge tricks to fill the boost meter and race your way down the mountain. It’s important to find the balance between busting tricks to gain speed and and focusing on finding shortcuts to beat your opponent down the mountain. The other level, Mount Wakefield, is a Trick It event. As you’d expect, this is where you bust out the biggest, sickest tricks you have up your sleeve. Chain together multipliers and fill your Tricky meter to bury the competition.

          Bombing down epic-sized mountains and pulling off moves you could only dream of is fine, but what puts the game over-the-top is the soundtrack and online integration.

          Soundtracks in extreme sports games can either make or break the game and EA Sports nailed the SSX soundtrack and the way it is implemented within the game. The breathtaking moment when you are flying through the air pulling out every trick in the book the game volume turns way down, making the risk-or-reward of trying to pull off one more rotation that much more stressful. As you land, the beat slams back down and the volume blares. The mayhem doesn’t end there, not at all. As you gain your full Tricky meter, the music morphs into dub-step, the beat just daring you to keep tricking it out even though the ground is quickly approaching. After your epic adventure, showing up your competition, there’s still someone else you want to brag to, your friends. With Ridernet this has never been easier.

          The entire SSX world is integrated into the game thanks to Ridernet. Everytime you post a high score or quicker speed, Ridernet updates it to the servers and you can instantly see where you stack up against your friends. There’s nothing like playing a level over and over, crushing your high-score, only to see your buddy just upped you by a million points. If the demo is this addicting, with just two levels and two characters, I can’t wait for the retail release.

          SSX does everything right; it’s accessible, has spot-on visuals, great variety, a killer soundtrack and online so seamlessly integrated, it’s not about how often you will come back, it’s more about if you will ever turn it off. Let’s get shredding!

SSX is coming out on Feb. 28, 2012 on PS3 and XBOX 360.

* cover art obtained from:EA’s site

*character images obtained from: EA’s main SSX site


One response to “SSX, Bring On The Avalanche (demo impressions)

  1. gonna have 2 check it out

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