Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Tricky!

SSX released on Xbox/PS3 at the end of February, and it was the chance for me to re-live a ton of my college gaming glory.  Did it grant me this one hope?
Spoiler alert: It totally did.
The graphics and sound track make me feel like I'm back in the dorm with SSX Tricky & SSX 3 on the GameCube.  I mean, obviously the graphics are outstandingly improved on the new systems, but the general look and feel of the game is the same.  The tracks are rendered beautifully.  Avalanches, trees, rocks, ice patches...they are all so realistic.  Especially when your snowboarder crashes into them at 100 mph.  No, there is not graphic violence and blood splattering, when your rider is damaged you get a dark vignette on the screen which fades as their health rebuilds.

And the sound track, a staple of the old games, is still super fun.  It fades into the background, offering a radio-like atmosphere to your playtime, and is not annoyingly repetitive.  And, of course, when you get into Tricky mode it plays the one song that you want to hear: It's tricky to rock a rhyme to rocky a rhyme that's right on time it's triiicckyyyyyy...  Thank you, Run DMC... I can not hear your song without wanting to go super-uber.

Finding a crazy long rail and grinding down the entire face of the mountain is
definitely one of the top experiences in this game
Now here's where it gets...tricky?  Ha!  When I first started playing I felt a little overwhelmed.  The controls felt crazy, and I was discouraged thinking that it was more of a button-combo-pressing game, which I suck at.  As I went along, it got easier, and it continues to do so.  I get better and better the more I play, and doing the tricks feels more and more natural.  Perhaps if I had started with the original controls I would've been more successful, but I am playing with the new style.  Debbie had similar issues and switched to the old-style controls, which felt more natural to her, but it screwed her up to start new and go back.  In short, a warning: If you have prior SSX experience, you may want to start with the old style controls.

So the game has the look, the sound, the fun... Sounds perfect!  What could possibly be missing?  Oh, multiplayer.  Yeahhh..  There is a really fun option called RiderNet where it links up everyone playing the game and you can compete against each other in races, trick competitions, and survival events.  This is so fun!  I mean, it is totally upsetting to play a trick event and get 3 million points when the top scorer has 21 million (how?!)... but still really fun.  What's not really fun?  Being able to actually play, side by side, with a friend.  You can't just pick a run and do it together.  This was how I spent college!  This is what I looked forward to!  Shredding that fresh white powder with Debbie all over again... and that dream was taken from me.  You can, and are encouraged to via RiderNet, compete against your friends best scores on the events.  Your friend has a "ghost" that plays down the mountain as your opponent. So at least there's that.. I just want to actively play with someone.  Boo to you, game, for taking away multi-player fun.

All in all though, this game has lived up to the hype that we here at Achievos bestowed upon it.  I still have fun playing it, even when I feel like I suck at it.  And even though I got totally rage-y over some of the more difficult deadly descents (kind of the "boss battles" of this game), I still kept going back for more.  It is so fun, and so worth your money.  Get this game!  And then add me as a rival.  I shall shred your ghosts to pieces!

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