Sunday, September 18, 2011

You're No SSX

I recently acquired a free copy of Shaun White Snowboarding (thank you again, Stone).  While I did enjoy being back on the virtual board, it just doesn't compare to SSX.  I think others might like it where I did not.

My deep love for SSX comes from the land of the ridiculous.  The outrageous stunts, the impossible amounts of air, and extra tricky tricks.  Shaun White doesn't have any of those.  This game focuses on being more true to real life.  Now not all aspects of the riding are uber realistic, but far more so than EA's titles. 

Don't let my not-so-loving words totally scare you away.  There are numerous positive attributes to this game.  The graphics really add to the feel of riding, like the rush of scenery as you tear down the mountain.  And the feeling of jumping from high to low or crossing a huge gap reminds me of that great falling feeling that came with jumping off view points in Assassin's Creed 2.  For many people, the boards and clothes are all a huge part of the game.  I don't really care that much as long as I can upgrade to a fast board or one better for grinding.  But for those who love the customization, this game does not disappoint.

One thing that I super loved in Shaun White Snowboarding was the open world environment.  Players can take a helicopter to the top of the mountain and pick up challenges or races on the way down if they want.  I frequently found myself just exploring the mountains and taking the different routes and tricks all the way to the bottom.

There are varying landscapes, but none of them are quite as outrageous as SSX.  It made me miss the days of trying to jump onto the subway rails in Metro City.  I also miss the music.  The music of Shaun White was the sort of bland mix of Sublime and Blink-182 and music very similar to it.  I know that the genre of snowboarding has a very distinct culture and therefore a distinct brand of music.  But changing it up or having more radio stations with a wider variety would've been nice. 

Shaun White Snowboarding is definitely a game worth checking out.  Its an older title so buying it cheap and used should be easy.  And as much as it doesn't compare to SSX, you can still spend an entire weekend playing this game without regret.  Give a shot.

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