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If you liked Cool Boarders, you'll love this!
Snowboard Supercross SSX (PS2)
Member Name: prez_wilson
Snowboard Supercross SSX (PS2)
Date: 24/06/01, updated on 24/06/01 (95 review reads)
Advantages: see text
Disadvantages: see text
Snowboard games haven't really impressed me much until the 128 bit era hit with Rippin Riders (AKA Cool Boarders Burn or Snow Surfers) on the Sega Dreamcast. Oh how I loved that game. I was by far the best snowboarding game I had ever played and the only one I'd ever gotten into seriously. Then last winter when the PS2 hit English shores came a second snowboarding game I loved. That of course was this game SSX.
SSX was perhaps the biggest PS2 launch title and that was for a good reason. The game is just plain fun. Instead of going for licensed riders, gear and courses, SSX does its own thing and does it well. I generally don't care for licensed games anyway so that's no big deal to me. Licenses often reduce the developers creativity and the sacrifice fun for realism. Im not saying every game should be unrealistic and unlicensed. I just think way too many developers rely on the license to their titles rather then focusing on fun in the games.
You get a selection 8 characters (4 selectable from the beginning) to choose from each with varying stats as well as several different boards and outfits which can be unlocked. They also have a large assortment of trick you can perform. Some are pretty tricky to do but necessary in order to gain valuable speed boost. These characters for the most part are very cool and highly likable. My favorite without a doubt is the punk rock looking girl Zoe. Others boarders include a lame looking Aussie guy called Moby, a cute Japanese girl called Kaori, A Canadian model called Elise and a cool looking Japanese guy called Hiro. EA paid alot of attention to these characters and it shows.
Im happy to say the 8 courses in SSX received equal attention. Each fictional course is set in different locations around the world and is full of detail and alternate routes. Some of these courses can take well over 5 minutes to run. There filled with all sorts of huge jumps, rails to grind and trees to slam int
o. One course even has a giant corkscrew which sort of reminded me of something out of Sonic Adventure.
There are also 2 different modes of play in SSX. The Single Event Mode and the World Circuit Mode.
Single Event as the name implies is a single race out of 4 different sub modes. First is the Race Event which is a race to the finish line against a full grid of 7 other competitors. Then there's the Showoff Event which is a trick competition. Third there's the Free Ride which is just basically a practice mode down any of the courses with no pressure from other boarders or to do tricks. Finally there's the Warm up mode which is just simply a beginners mode on a special course meant to teach you the basics of the game.
Now for the World Circuit. The World Circuit is basically the season mode in SSX and a place to unlock characters and courses in. Every mode is included in World Circuit with the exception of the Free Ride. You can also earn medals and experience points after winning a 3 race series with your selected character. The World Circuit however is more of a pain then cool. You see its a 3 race series and the computer AI is good but fair for the first 2 races. But however by the 3rd race the computer is just plain cheap and winning seems to depend on pure luck rather then skill. This is quite a pain on the longer courses which take like well over 5 minutes to run. It really sucks when your doing great the first 2 runs only to be wiped up by the rubber band AI on the 3rd. I cant believe EA did this. I just hope in the upcoming half sequel Tricky they plan on fixing this annoying flaw.
10 = Best 1 = Worst
Graphics 9: Graphics in SSX are nothing short of beautiful. Texture work is superb. There's great use in polygons with tons of track detail. Character models are incredible and animate smoothly and realistically. I also loved the trails the boards left in the snow. Sure its minor but it
just looks so darn cool in this game.
However the only problem with the graphics is the jumpy as can be frame rate. Ever play Sega Rally 2 on the Dreamcast and see how the frame rate frequently jumps between 30 to around 45 (30 - 60 in the Japanese import) frames per second. Well SSX is pretty much the same way only slightly more stable. This can get pretty annoying at times and mostly happens when the screen has either a few characters on it or you use your boost. Both are quite frequent too.
Overall though this is first generation software and it still looks impressive.
Sound 9: The sound in SSX is spectacular. The soundtrack is sort of a hip hop/techno mix and it sounds just great. The announcer rocks too. He's constantly shouting out comments and insults at you. Every character also has several different comment they shout out in the race depending on how their doing.
Overall EA did a great job on the sound.
Control 7: I know many would disagree with me but I thought the control in SSX could have used a little work. It seems really loose and your character feels a little on the light side to control. I also didn't like how when you charged for a jump it would sometimes seem to let go on you and made you screw up.
Tricks are fairly easy to do in SSX. May take you a couple hours of practice getting them down but overall their not too tough to perform. I found them a little easier to do using the digital D Pad. On the negative side of that I found alternating between the digital pad and analog stick abit of a pain. Just using one didn't seem to work too well. The analog was perfect for steering down the hill but wasn't precise enough for some tricks and the D pad was pretty much the opposite.
Overall control needs a little more work. I know this may just be me and maybe its because I suck at it but this was just how I felt on it.
Overall SSX is one of the best PS2 games out t
here and should be in every PS2 owner's collection. Its fast, fun and is likely to appeal to people who don't normally care for snowboarding games. I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 due to the cheap AI in the 3rd race one every series. I felt this hurt the game badly and took alot of the fun out of it. If I had to choose 1 snowboarding title on the PS2 to own i'd have to choose Cool Boarders 2001. Many may disagree with me on that one but I felt it was just a more solid and well put together title. The control to me was much more accurate in it as well. Still though whether you pick this or Cool Boarders up you shouldn't be disappointed.
Best Played With/Intended For: Single Player
*cool boarders will be released soon and is available to play on import or Uk demo now! SSX is out to buy now!
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