I have always been a fan of the SSX titles, ever since I have played SSX, SSX: Tricky and SSX 3 on PlayStation 2 I have been looking forward to the next installment. This arrived a few weeks ago with SSX: Deadly Descents on XBOX 360 and PS3 consoles.
As insane as ever, you are tasked to ‘conquer’ nine peaks, all of which have their own unique challenge, ranging from snowboarding in pitch black darkness inside Mount Kilimanjaro to oxygen deprivation on Mount Everest. The EA team has thrown a lot of what made SSX 3 great, such as flying through fireworks and half pipes on top of half pipes. Instead they have thrown in a slightly realistic objective; getting to the bottom of each ‘deadly descent’… alive. In order to prepare for each peak you have a combination of race and trick events.
Race events involve getting to the bottom of the peak as fast as you can. With hundreds of pathways in each race there will always be a faster way down the mountain. Balancing enough time in the air with enough time speeding on the ground with your boost gives players a unique experience as you grind across rails and use ice to gain a significant speed boost.
Trick events are also extremely challenging, combining as many jumps as you can to create the biggest combo you can. Jumping from some of the biggest ledges in the game, in tricky mode, whilst Flux Pavilion’s drop from their song I Can’t Stop blares from your sound system will be one of the greatest moments in the game.
Tricking in this game has changed from the previous versions, whilst you can still go back to the old scheme where the bumper buttons of your controller initiate your grab’s, EA games have produced a system common to one of twister, using your right analog stick to indicate what hand (or hands) you want, and where you want them.
Whilst the storyline is not quite that of Mass Effect I and II (bam), they have set it out extremely well and it set’s a good base for the game. Previous team member Griff Simmons abandoned team SSX (a mixture of fresh and old faces) to be the first to conquer each of the ‘deadly descents’. During the actual single player storyline you will not be able to be very good at either race or trick events due to the story forcing you to change characters for each peak. However once you get further into the game and finish the story line you will progress to the ‘Explore’ and ‘Multiplayer’ aspects of the game.
Explore mode gives you access to each course in the game, allowing you to set times and high scores for your friends to try and beat. Once you have finished the single player you will end up here for a while, leveling your character of choice to a maximum level of ten as well as purchasing the best equipment your hard earned credits can buy.
Fully geared? Good. You are going to need it for multiplayer, where you will enter tournaments with thousands of players worldwide, trying to get the best score and time you can, with your eventual pay out based on said score or time. Multiplayer mode is where you will spend the majority of your time proving to the world that you are in fact the greatest snowboarder in the entire world. However you will be up against people who live and breathe this game, managing to survive 100-150 runs down a particular ‘deadly descent’ with nothing but the gear (that will eventually disintegrate, leaving you with nothing) and your three precious rewinds.
Rewinds are new to the SSX scene, in previous games should you take a particularly awful turn or jump you would have had to restart the race. Rewinds now give the ability to quite literally rewind your steps. Whilst you are reversing back up the mountain other racers will not wait, zooming past you and gaining an unstoppable lead.
The graphics for this game are extremely well done, with most of the mountains being designed from their real counterparts on Earth through satellite imaging. However due to the fact that there is no real multiplayer mode, merely you posting your best time and score, you will very quickly get bored of the game. You will be back fairly soon though, grinding off the helicopter following you down the mountain listening to the perfect soundtrack whilst pulling of your ten million point combo.
TL;DR SSX gives the great feel of the previous titles, with new additions creating a game where you can wave goodbye to gravity and pull of the insane tricks that we have come to love from the series. This game has indeed kept the franchise alive and is a welcome sight for sore eyes.
Hugs & Kisses,
For more from Inner take a look at his Starcraft 2 article.