As a skier who decided to switch to snowboarding after playing the original SSX (true story), I was truly excited when EA announced they were reviving the series. I spent many hours honing my multi-trick skills on the PS2 and couldn’t wait to dust off my thumbs for some high-flying, insanely acrobatic tricks for this generation’s version. So does SSX live up to the hype and excitement of its predecessor? In short, yes and no.
SSX brings back many of the riders from the past games and the tricks are amazing to behold. I absolutely love hitting up the different mountains and trying to crush the top scores. I also love the leveling system for the riders. Each course offers points for completing tasks and busting high scores. You can use said points to purchase new boards, outfits and the newly added gear to survive certain tracks…and that’s where the frustration comes in. With this installment of SSX comes a “story mode” called “Deadly Descents”. A rider named Griff who has left the SSX team is trying to topple 9 deadly mountains and team SSX has to beat him to it. These tracks bring a complexity to the normal racing and trick tracks and honestly adds nothing more than frustration. Some are high altitude tracks where an oxygen tank is required or tracks that are “freezing” and you have to stay in the sun or you will freeze to death. Most of them feel like random luck when you finally beat them and the frustration mounts much quicker than the feeling of accomplishment when you do finally pass them. I did enjoy a couple of the Descents but overall it felt like an unnecessary addition. I’m just thankful I finally learned that throwing controllers don’t really help anything or I probably would be on my 3rd or 4th PS3 controller.
There is still plenty of enjoyment to get out of SSX apart from the descent tracks. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing and the look of this game is beautiful. I had a blast with a lot of the different mountains’ beginning tracks where gear wasn’t mandatory and it brought back great memories of the original. Unfortunately, in order to progress in SSX you have to ride plenty of tracks where gear is mandatory and random holes/freezing points/avalanches/snipers abound…ok I made that last one up, but you get the point. Overall I still enjoyed SSX enough to put some serious time into it and topple all nine descents. If you loved the older titles and can keep your controller in your hand when you accidentally launch yourself into a pit of lava (on a snowy mountain) then I recommend picking it up.