It’s been 16 years since SSX came into our lives, and with its fast paced game play and emphasis on style it brought with it a new breed of extreme sports games. Its sequel ‘SSX Tricky’ in 2001 pushed the style elements even further, and brought with it an everlasting love for Run DMC and characters who resemble ‘Disco Stu’. But can this new generation of SSX stand up on without relying on nostalgia?
Originally released in 2012, SSX has just arrived on the backwards compatibility list, and is available in the Vault of EA Access, so here is your chance to try this game if you’ve fully embraced this new generation and left the last generation behind.
There are three main modes within this game; ‘World Tour’, ‘Explore’, and ‘Global Events’. World Tour is your go to mode, with the others presenting chances to free roam the slopes and challenge other player’s scores respectively. World Tour challenges you to take on the nine most dangerous descents in the world and humiliating Griff, a defected member of your crew. There are a number of events warming you up before each descent, and each one presents you with an obstacle to overcome, for example trees and ice, and this keeps each location somewhat fresh. Explore and Global Events are your ‘pick up and play’ modes, but do not have the pulling power of the World Tour.
The handling is good to a degree, it’s a breeze to ride down a mountain at speed, but there is a tipping point in speed, if you’re going too fast, a nudge of the stick will send you in a spin. While this feels authentic for the sport, it’s annoying, forcing you to slow right down to regain control. Tricks are easy to pull off and don’t resort to button mashing once you know your favourite tricks combinations. I’ll admit, when I first picked this up and did my first big jump, I did crack a smile, immediately being transported to my earlier years playing this series.
A controversial feature in my eyes is the ‘rewind function’, letting you undo a mistake. This makes the game easy, to a point where going at supersonic speeds has no risk, because you can just rewind if you mess up, and there is no penalty for this. It looks cool and is helpful, but it’s all too easy to hammer RB countless times in a race if you’re having a hard time. The campaign is not long, and although the new obstacles on each course do mix it up, by the time you hit Siberia (the second deadly descent), you know what to expect, and this is to its detriment.
Although SSX is a last generation game, the graphics have held up well, during gameplay the zoomed out perspective and speed at which you head down the slopes means that details are somewhat hidden, and this contributes to the look of the game in a positive fashion, character models looks sharp during gameplay as do the environments. I haven’t noticed a single incident of ‘pop in’, which is impressive due to the speed of the game. During cut scenes however, details can be seen closer up, and there are quite a few rough edges in the environment, but characters still look sharp. It’s not the best looking game, but it holds up well within the current generation, and does not look too far out-of-place on the Xbox One.
My main gripe with this game. EA usually have a great soundtrack for their sports games, but this one got the rejects. It’s dull and without any stand out tracks. The only positive of this is that you were able to add your own playlist to the game with your own music, which is a great addition to any game, however during my time attempting to add my own songs, I was unable to find a way, although I’m sure there is an answer somewhere on the internet to that problem. Diegetic sound on the slopes is good and immerses you, but the characters constantly chatter, which gets old real quick. Also Run DMC are nowhere to be found except the soundbites when you fill your trick meter, which was highly disappointing.
I played SSX Tricky for countless hour, this won’t be repeated for this game. It’s fun, but only in very short bursts, and the campaign, despite a levelling system struggles to hold your attention.
Mechanically sound, and at times a very fun game, SSX gets old quickly. To its credit it does not rely on nostalgia, but I think it really should have. If you have EA Access and want a good few hours out of a game, then I would recommend it as it is fun for a while, and very different to the games currently on the Xbox One, but it is not worth your money.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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