Published on Friday, 15 May 2015
Written by Georgina
The new SSX 3 snowboarding game mocks silly things like physics and makes for an entertaining game, save for a few hang ups.
SSX3 is the 3rd installment of EA Sports BIG’s snowboarding series. It was released on Gamecube, X-box and Playstation 2. While each system has its benefits and draw backs, the game’s mechanics remain the same across the board.
The Gamecube’s version has better load times then the others but the controller is not as well adapted to the game as the other systems. The X-box has somewhat similar controller issues but makes up for it with having the best grafics out of the three. Playstation 2, the system the game was originally designed for, not only sports the best controller for the game but also has EA exclusive online support. The online capability, by far, makes the PS2 the best choice for multiple system owners.
The gameplay is relatively straight forward. You do tricks to get boost (a depleteable speed increase) to go faster. The more tricks you do, the more boost you get and in turn, the bigger the tricks you can pull off. There are three levels of tricks you can pull off. Normal, uber, and super uber. The higher level the trick, the more insane (and unrealistic) it gets. The higher level tricks are worth more points and the only way to pull them off is by doing the lower level tricks frist1.
Tricks play both into racing and freestyle modes. Freestyle is a competition to get the most points based on how many tricks you can pull off in a given amount of time. The race events pit you against five other racers in a down hill blitz where pulling off tricks will add boost, allowing you to go faster.
The game is based off of one huge mountain with three different peaks (each a different difficulty). To get to each race, you have to cruise around to the starting gate on your board. The mountain is interconnected which is showcased by huge time trial races from the very top of the peak to the bottom. The final race will take around half an hour to complete.
Between each race section on the mountain are collectable snowflakes worth money. These allow you to go to the lodge on each peak and buy different clothing, boards, and attributes for your rider. The money based system is new to the series and works well due to the mass of unlockable items to buy.
Also new to the series special uber grinds (crazy looking tricks you can do while rail sliding), hand plants, and nose/tail presses. The hand plant system is buggy at best. If your rider is anywhere near a rail or billboard to plant off when you press the “hand plant” button, your rider will immediately loose all forward momentum and magically float to the rail to perform the plant. It is childishly easy to pull of and almost guarantees getting on any rail you may have missed.
On a positive note, the tail and nose press feature is a better done feature and adds a whole new element of game play. This allows gives the ability to link tricks together forming combos (just like the manual in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series). The combo system isn’t as developed as it is in other games but it does add another welcomed degree of challenge to the game.
Something else new in SSX 3 are the “BIG Challenges”. These are challenges that you can take when free riding around the mountain. The challenge usually consists of a task such as “knock down all the dummies” or “collect all of the (fill in the blank)”. They are pretty unimaginative and play out like they were a definite after thought in the game development. The only purpose they really serve is extra game content to wade through to unlock new characters or items.
What really bugged me about this game was the overly “x-tream in your face attitude” that every rider seemed to have. With in ten minutes of playing, I actually had to turn off the speech in the game just so I could avoid throwing my controller through the TV out of raging spite and annoyance of my “2 hip 4 you” rider. The dialogue does little more then get on your nerves and is better played with it shut off.
The sound track, however, is a different story. The music to this game is very complementary. With artists such as Fatboy Slim, The Faint, and Chemical Brothers the games music has a flow to it and is easy to play to. The music is all tied together by a relatively non annoying DJ which really surprised me. In fact, this is the first in game speaker in the series that didn’t sound like a washed up rapper reading a “dope” script written by a thirteen year old.
The last and final gripe about this game is the blatant product placement. The game is heavily sponsored by the Honda Element (ugly box on wheels) and DNL (7ups new overly caffeinated sugar water). It seems that every billboard in the game is dedicated to either one of these products. They have no purpose being there in the game except for the fact that the buyers of this game are the “target demographic” for these products. They add nothing to the game play in any way shape or form. Being constantly bombarded with adds while playing really does detract from the whole experience of the game. If I am going to kick down $50 for a game, I don’t need it to be soiled with adds. This ranks right up there with spam commercials in movies.
The bottom line here is that SSX 3 is the best game in the series. Innovative single mountain feature, tons of unlockables, and a very well done online system gives this game plenty of replay value. The game play itself doesn’t differ that much from SSX and Tricky (the two games). If you loved the first two or are looking to get into this series, you can’t go wrong with SSX 3.
Overall grade: B