I don’t really know how to snowboard. I’ve tried it a couple times, and I can get around, but I’m not all that good at it. I was skiing before I was walking, so I tend to do better on a pair of skis. However, I love the idea of being able to snowboard, which is why games like SSX are so much fun. It doesn’t bother with any sort of realistic sim, it just lets you hit the slopes and have some fun, some great, totally idealized, not very realistic fun. In short, it’s what you think in your brain when you think about what you’d like to do when you snowboard but could never do in reality because of certain restrictions like physics, gravity, and the delicate fragility of your own body. In the world of SSX, there’s nothing holding you back.
The demo does a solid job of whetting your appetite for the full game. You get a taste of what it will offer, but not enough to truly satisfy. I’m especially stoked for the Autolog like feature of RiderNet. Finish a race and have your time posted online. Then, when other friends log on, they can choose to race against your ghost and beat your time; that’s just one example. It was a compelling feature for Need for Speed, and it think it’s a great addition for something like SSX. It allows you to compete with your friends even if they aren’t online at the moment. Fun stuff.
The rest of the game seems set to meet all our expectations. It’s fast and looks great, the sound design does a good job a capturing what it’s like to fly down a mountain covered in ice and snow, and the trick system is easy to understand but will reward those who take the time to master it. It uses a combination of buttons and directional input from the right stick. It’s all pretty easy to pick up, but I couldn’t quite remember all the various possibilities and combinations that were available during the tutorial. I pretty much did things randomly, but whatever I did, it looked cool and it was fun; exactly what I want in snowboarding game.
If you’re like me and aren’t really capable of doing anything spectacular on a snowboard, but would like at least pretend you could, well SSX may be just the game for you. It has a light, breezy attitude, plenty of mountains for you to choose from, lots of ways to compete with your friends, and it’ll make you feel like a snowboarding pro with a few flicks of the control stick. Hit the slopes with SSX on February 28th.