SSX © EA Sports

When a game comes out and everything gets compared to it, that means you created a standard. For the past year, every extreme sports game has been compared to Tony Hawk Pro Skater, which is an unfair comparison to snowboarding games since they should be compared to other games similar in its genre like Coolboarders & 1080. While SSX has many comparisons to Tony Hawk, in the snowboarding genre, it defines the new standard in snowboarding.

If there was a reason to own a PS2 game, this would be it. SSX should be the poster game that pushes people into buying a PS2 (if one can be found). EA Sports has brought us a winner. But if you're asking why this game is so good, I'll try to explain it. If you one of the millions who has played Tony Hawk, and took the best qualities like its extremely deep replayability, a ton of tricks & maneuvers, and its essence of pure unsupervised fun, and instead on concrete, you play on ice, that would be SSX. Making a game like the master doesn't mean it it's a bad game.

When you start playing, you can start off with a choice of four different players, and one track. You can compete in two different events, Show-off, where you hot dog to gain points, or in a race mode where you have to finish in the top three in three different races. In order to unlock different tracks, better boards & different players, you have to put a serious investment of time. Once you do manage to complete an event on the track in the world circuit mode, you get to unlock more and more of the game. It even keeps track of all the possible "tricks" that you can do in the game in a scrapbook, and even tells you how to pull off the tricks by showing the button combination.

If this is the graphics Sony was hyping about what I was expecting to see, this takes great advantage of it. While its not difficult to simulate snow & ice, in the game it seems so real, I could almost taste it. The boarders move like the real life counterparts, and the tracks are nicely detailed. In the game there are tons of obstacles that can make it much more fun. The actual tracks are designed to give you some serious air. While they are not realistic, this are designed to hit your brain cortex that brings feelings of excitement, and make you want to scream "Sweeeeeeeet!" Even before Tony, a successful game has to have a good soundtrack. SSX uses a blend of rap & techno. If you're familiar with the techno genre, you just might even recognize some of the artists. To put some personality into the game, each player has a large amount of phrases depending on your actions.

When you hit the slopes, it's best you take the time to learn how to pull off the tricks or how to gain speed in race mode while playing in the single events. You can race in freeride to be able to explore the track and discover the shortcuts. Once you get a feel for the game, comes the best part, pulling off the tricks. When you start, you only have limited amount of tricks you can pull off. Depending on the player, there are hundreds of different tricks that can be pulled off. Taking the time to learn every tricks is mind-blowing fun. While it takes a lot of practice, as you'll usually need to do a four-button combination to pull some of the best tricks, and if you have enough air you can do multiple tricks. As you go deeper into the game you can go completely airborne and do a ridiculous amount of combinations.

While this game is addictive, it also asks for a major investment of time. This is the type of game that once you get hooked, you'll be playing for weeks, or even months. While it only has seven tracks total, this game is difficult from the get go and will take lot of practice and training to gain enough points in showoff mode or learn all the shortcuts go to the fastest way to race on different tracks. Even after putting several weeks into the game, I've hardly put a dent in unlocking all the possibilities, and will still feverishly continue trying instead of giving up. Each player that you choice has its own abilities and tricks, so you can unlock the abilities if you play with each one, further adding more replayablity instead of just trying to boast up one person.

Of course with most games, there are faults, and after putting some major time into SSX, all I could find were some nitpicky issues. When racing in the single events, it's nice that you can just restart at any time, yet you can't restart after you begun in the game in World Circuit Mode. This was probably put in so there would be any cheating, but allowing me to retry again without the need to quit the game, then restart would of been a lot easier. When playing you'll see that there are graphic & collision detection bugs, where my surfer will magically go through a chain-linked fences and walls at times. Lastly, on some tracks there seems to be too many obstacles on the track that becomes a hinder as I'll get stuck in certain spots. You can luckily get out of these jams by pressing select.

If there is one must-own game for the PS2, SSX would be it. Even at its price tag of $50, this is one game that is worth the cost, and worth the $300 for the PS2. Only the king of extreme sports in Tony Hawk can match the extreme intensity that SSX delivers. But since we have to wait awhile for Tony to come to PS2, this is the game to own if you're the lucky few to own a PS2 now. There is no other snowboarding game that even remotely comes close in comparison.




G. L.

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Quick Summary:
You'll say "Sweeet" to your PS2






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