SSX Review (PS3/360): A Non-Stop, Adrenaline Experience

March 1, 2012

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

SSX is the long-awaited reboot to the much-beloved franchise that finally makes it’s way to the current-gen consoles. Published by Electronic Arts and developed by EA Canada, does it soar to the status of “SSX Tricky” and “SSX 3” or does it fall into the same identity crisis “SSX On Tour” did?

Gameplay: 5/5

SSX was synonymous for its over-the-top, sleek style that gave you the freedom to pull off crazy tricks while shredding down a mountain at incredibly high speeds. That whole feel returns in this new installment. The franchise lost its way after SSX 3 and as a diehard fan, have waited almost 9 years for the proper sequel. I can safely say, this latest installment is the return to what made SSX the franchise it is today. While the game has locales based on actual regions, the designs of each course also have outlandish tweaks, giving it that extreme design that allows you to pull off abnormal tricks.

When players boot up the game, they will be introduced to the game’s story that they will tackle in the World Tour mode. The story consists of Team SSX taking on Griff Simmons(the character nobody liked in SSX 3, only now he’s much older) who left SSX for his own selfish reasons. Now, Griff aims to be the first person to tackle the deadly descents but Zoe won’t sit by and miss the opportunity to take SSX to a new extreme. Zoe then rounds up 8 other teammates, some old faces along with some new ones. The story isn’t the driving point of SSX but it’s neat to see EA came up with a reason behind the deadly descents concept.

In SSX, you will partake in three different style of events: Race It, Trick It and Survive It. Race It events are exactly what you would expect, get from point A to point B before the other boarders do. Unlike previous SSX installments, you will not compete in a Qualifying, Semi-Final or Final race before earning your medal. Now it’s just a single race that you have to focus on, giving it a faster pacing. Trick It events will have you pull off “Uber” and “Super Uber” tricks to no end and trying to earn the most insane combo possible. Master the trick system and you’ll be able to combo an entire run from top to bottom, and doing so is incredibly rewarding. The Survive It events are the new catch to SSX in which you will have to tackle deadly descents that have certain stipulations. You will tackle trees, gravity, thin air, ice, rocks, avalanche, cold, darkness and whiteout conditions. These events will test your skills as each hazard has you fully utilizing your specific gear that is required to survive. It is these events where you will have a “health” bar to keep watch on and if not careful, will lead to your death. You can rewind time in case you messed up but these are limited and should you actually die, you won’t be able to rewind at all. For example, in the “cold” descent, you will have to stay in the sun as much as you can to stay warm. Staying in the shade will cause your body to start freezing due to outrageous cold temperatures you’re going up against. If tackling the “gravity” event, you will use your wingsuit (which is a great new mechanic that’s a ton of fun to use) to further extend you airtime so you can clear the chasms the size of a football field. Paying attention to the heads up your helicopter pilot provides you, as well as the neon writing on the track, will further ensure your survival. The survival element actually works incredibly well, adding a whole new level of intensity and adrenaline aside from the race and trick events, while still feeling like an SSX title.

In previous installments, you would be able to upgrade your characters’ stats to make them faster and easier to use. This time, the upgrade system is slightly different in which it is replaced by an XP system. The better you play, the more XP you’ll earn to level up your character of choice. The purpose to leveling up is to be able to obtain better suits, boards and gear. While suits are mainly just for looks, certain ones will actually boost a specific stat such as boost, speed or tricks. Based on your equipment selection, you will notice your “Survival Probability” percentage on the bottom-left corner of the screen letting you know how well of a chance you have at survival. When tackling Explore events, you will be able to take on your friends’ ghost records in all the events scattered throughout 150+ drops (a few more on PS3 with the exclusive Mt. Fuji venue). New to the game is the ability to post “Geotags.” Geotags are collectibles that you can plant anywhere on any drop for players to try and find. Planting them in impossible to reach areas is the main goal as the longer it takes for someone to obtain your planted Geotag, the more income you will receive. Thanks to RiderNet, players will be notified when a friend/rival finds your Geotag or takes down your record and with the simple press of a button, take you to the event directly to try and reclaim your throne. Similar to Need for Speed’s “Autolog” system, RiderNet adds a whole new level of connection amongst your friends that will tremendously add to the replayablity.

The game’s main online mode is handled through Global Events. It is here where you will partake in events that can contain up to 100,000 players competing for the total SSX credits that are in the pot. As you tackle these events, you will land a position on the bracket: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. The higher you place in the event, the more bank you will collect at the event once the timer expires. An event can last between 10 minutes to a whole week. When you boot the game up after taking a break, there will be a “While You Were Away” feature. This will notify you if you won any Global Events, whether or not your Geotags have been found, or if your ghosts have been beaten or not. It’s a great feature to implement that adds a deep, social experience that few games have done.

Graphics: 4/5

SSX was always known for its style and this installment still achieves that sleek, stylish look while giving it a more realistic approach. Every character is very carefully detailed, showcasing some nice character models and top-notch animations that are mind blowing to see in action. The mountains all have some great effects, whether it’s the snow, the ice or the extreme weather conditions, the game’s visuals further immerse you into the experience the way the originals did. The only complaint with the visuals are that there are a few texture pop-ups and some of the environment textures aren’t as detailed as others. While it’s nothing major, it was enough to make the visuals just shy of perfect.

Sound: 5/5

SSX Tricky and SSX 3 had phenomenal soundtracks that still rank up amongst the best music a game could offer. The latest installment adds another killer soundtrack that perfectly resonates the intensity and adrenaline you will be sure to have when taking on the racing and tricking events. However, the songs utilized for the survival events are what will truly immerse you into feeling like you’re actually a part of this due to its intensity. They will really get your blood pumping and your adrenaline peaked as they accompany the track design brilliantly. The team over at EA Canada also developed a new sound system called “Harmony,” which allows the songs to remix based on your play style. The system was used in SSX games in the past but there’s a neat catch here. The game has support for custom soundtracks in which it can read your music data and remix it based on your play style. This is a groundbreaking new feature that EA achieved as I forget that some of my custom tracks weren’t a part of the original soundtrack. The sound effects are crisp and clean as well, with ambient effects adding further intensity to the overall sound package. All the characters have voice over work with lines you’d expect them to say from previous games, bringing back a nostalgic element to all the fans. Overall, this is audio at its finest. Make sure you crank up the volume for an unforgettable experience.

Replay Value: 5/5

SSX is an incredibly engaging game that will easily captivate the hearts of many, while also winning back the fans of the originals. The World Tour mode will last you about 5-6 hours, but the Explore and Global Events will have you coming back for countless hours to come. Add in RiderNet’s functionality and you’re in for one of the most addictive games this generation. Despite the game not having a traditional multiplayer function, its alternative works brilliantly.

Overall Score: 19/20 = 9.5 out of 10

SSX is the pinnacle of fine gaming this generation. What made the original games shine is still intact here and is a game everyone needs to experience. SSX lost it’s way after SSX 3 and it’s safe to say it has returned to its former glory. Between the game’s well designed tracks, brilliant RiderNet functionality, great visuals, powerful soundtrack and intense survival events, this is a game that cannot be missed by fans and newcomers alike. SSX is, simply put, one of the best games this generation and an early Game of the Year contender.

PROs:

+ Intense, Perfected Gameplay

+ Amazing Soundtrack

+ Brilliant RiderNet Functionality

+ Heart-Pounding Survival Events

CONs:

– Some Uneven Texture Visuals

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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5 Comments on “SSX Review (PS3/360): A Non-Stop, Adrenaline Experience”

  1. Takash-SS Says:

    Good review, cant wait or the game. Having not played this series since the original, I really cant wait to see how much it’s changed over the last couple of years.

    Reply

    • Glacier928 Says:

      Thanks Takash-SS! Much has changed since the original game but it’s an evolution that still retains that SSX feel. I think you’ll really enjoy it!

      Reply

  2. xSTATICxSpadeZx(xbox gamertag) Says:

    SSX looks pretty awesome and im sure i will be buying it soon

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gaming Deals 4/1/12 – 4/7/12: What Should You Get this Week? | Gamers XTREME - April 1, 2012

    […] of games on sale this week as well. Those who’ve missed out on the excellent SSX (PS3/360)(my review here) can grab that for only $29.99 this week! You can also grab Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS) for $29.99, […]

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