Working Title 1.20.12: Working Outlook: SSX
Posted by Jordan Williams on 01.20.2012
SSX is back! While I am happy that it's back it does look like it's going to run into some problems on its way to getting back into the game space. Is the Outlook for SSX 6 good or is the series on its way to disappear again?
Welcome to the #1 Column to think that Dead Island is FUCKING BORING, Working Title! Welcome to the first Working Title of 2012…despite this being the third time I've appeared in like six different columns so far. For those of you that might be new to the site I have been instructed to explain to the new readers (Ha) what the hell Working Title is.
Hi there new guy, How ya doin? How's your mom? That's nice. Did you stumble over here from the wrestling zone? How about that MMA Zone? You didn't? Awesome! Anyway this is Working Title. A ‘column' where I cuss a lot and pretty much talk about random video game stuff for the next 6 or so pages in MS Word. That's pretty much it. Shit, to be honest half of the time I don't even know what this column is ABOUT when I start typing it. It just sort of…formulates as I go. This means I usually pad the first part of the column with some sort of retrospective feature that allows me to drum up some thoughts of what the rest of the column will be.
Dead Island So starting my "Games I never played in 2011" leg of the Backlog I decided to finally give Dead Island a try. In case you missed it in the very first line of the column I'll say it again. THIS GAME IS BORING. I am about 10 hours into the game with Sam B and while I have yet to play with a full four person posse I can say that maaaan this shit is still boring. I don't know if it's the complete lack of ambience or just the fact that the combat feels like the retarded bastard child of Skyrim's melee combat with a dash of Zeno Clash…and not the good parts of it at all. I am going to give the game another chance because I didn't like Left 4 Dead that much when I FIRST played it but eventually loved the hell out of it once I got a decent group to play with. But right now I am bored out of my fucking mind…which I never thought I'd say about a game that lets me run around and beat zombies to death with a boat oar.
Battlefield 3 Holy fuck the FAMAS is broken. That's pretty much all I have to report. Last week was spent trying to level up the Assault/Medic class and vehicles. I will say that leveling up the Jet is fucking lame. Hell, leveling up all of the air vehicles is lame. You need to level up to get the IR Flares…but as soon as you fly up you get forcibly penetrated by every Tracking RPG on the ground. Sucks even more because finding someone who can actually FLY any of the vehicles on the console versions of BF3 is so rare that you can't even side gunner that well. Meanwhile on PC everyone is a pro.
Urban Dead Urban Dead is strange. I will got like months without playing it…but then when I get back into it I get into it HARD. For those that don't know Urban Dead is a browser-based Zombie RPG where everyone is a character. That means every survivor, NPC, and zombie is a person who is playing the game. You play the role of either a survivor or a zombie. While it might not seem like a lot of the surface the community for the game is fucking HUGE and there are some great ass tactics involved. Just go ahead and Google "Urban Dead + Mall" and read up on some of the history.
And that is pretty much what I've been playing. You know what I want to be playing? SSX. The new SSX. Why? Because SSX is fucking awesome and you should like it and if you don't than while I respect your opinion I also hope that you stub your toe on the heaviest coffee table you own. But you know what? While I am happy they are bringing the SSX Series back with SSX (which will be referred to henceforth as SSX6 (SSX, Tricky, 3, On Tour, Blur) I am still sort of…iffy. You see the last two SSX Games really haven't been that great and there is still a TON that can go wrong with this one. I guess what I am trying to say is it's time for a good ole "What could go wrong?" column.
Working Outlook: SSX 5
So a few years ago EA revealed that they were bringing back the SSX series with a brand new reboot title. The first time we ever saw the game was at that years Spike VGAs…and the response was less than stellar.
At first it looked like they had taken the super colorful and wacky SSX series and turned it into this grim and dark series affair. Less than 24 hours after the trailer went life the game was being referred to as "Call of Duty: Modern Snowfare" and the community that SSX did have was NOT pleased.
Fast forward a few months later and EA tried to assure us that the SSX we all knew and loved was still going to be in the game and that the debut trailer was not at all indicative of the final product. We finally saw what they meant at E3 that year. While it was a little bit better it still wasn't the SSX we all knew and loved…it wasn't jiving with us yet.
And then about a month ago we saw this
And at least at that point I was sold. The SSX we wanted was back. This was what SSX 4 (On Tour) should've been. This DAMN sure erases the shitty memory we had of SSX 5 (Blur) so is it possible that SSX 6 could be great? I think so. Here's the things that can go RIGHT.
What Could Go Right
Competent Online Support will be a first for the SSX series and frankly I think it's something that can only enhance the game overall. Seeing as the races in the game are crazy and usually take place between 8 racers at a time that means at least an 8 player online racing mode would be fun. Couple that with the rider log (the good parts of it anyway…) and that means for the first time there will be a stable and good online system.
Return of Actual Characters
To be completely honest…SSX On Tour wasn't that horrible of a game. In fact it was actually pretty decent when you consider how it played and how it looked. But you know what my main problem with the game was…and what seemed to be everyone else's problem?
They destroyed the characters.
SSX has always been a game about snowboarding, but it also came out in the age of the "arcadey home game" where they pumped every game that came out full of larger than life characters to go with the over the top action. SSX Tricky was the shining example of this trope because it brought out each characters individual personalities and made them an actual element and focus of the game instead of just a feature. So when On Tour all but forced the characters into the background in favor of your lifeless "create-a-boarder" it really hurt the game because it took away all of the personality the game had. So the fact that SSX 6 seems to be bringing back the characters and their distinct personalities is only a check mark in my book.
While this isn't exactly new to the series, the idea that at any time during a race the mountains can decide to avalanche and go tits up and turn the race crazy is very awesome. SSX3 and SSX On Tour had hints of this on certain races but it was never a game-wide phenomenon and I just like that they are adding a hint of danger and unpredictability to the game.
But being ambitious just isn't enough nowadays. We have seen far too many reboots and relaunches get fucked up by bad decision making that ended up costing the game dearly in the long run. Sadly, I don't think SSX 6 is free of those either.
What Could Go Wrong
I am just not sold on the Glider Suits yet. While from what I have seen it looks like they don't impact the game too much and are just used to cover long caps in jumps…but I have a feeling that they will be used as some sort of crutch that would end up hurting the game in the long run. At worst they could end up as some throw away gimmick in the game that no one cares for and uses like Skis in On Tour or…everything about SSX Blur. And if that truly ends up being the case…why bother putting the glider suits in?
Where I think that some stable online play would be great for SSX…I am not necessarily fond of Rider Log/Auto Log. My main beef with it is that it ends up turning the game into a constant dick-measuring contest and incentivizes cheesing the game to get the shortest times on the map. While it's not the BIGGEST slight I have against the game it just rubs me the wrong way that Rider Log might make the game a bit too serious versus fun. But the main problem that I will have with Rider Log is…
Lack of Fanbase
I'd be more ignorant than usual if I were to say that the rest of the world was chomping at the bit for a new SSX game like I was. The game has a following but does it have enough of a following to be successful? I'd be crazy to not have a little bit of doubt. The last SSX game was almost five years ago and it was on the WII of all things…and let's not forget the fact that it sucked ass. Big cold ass.
So the last taste of current-gen SSX we've had was on the weakest of the three current-gen consoles and it was so bad that people stuck to the LAST gen version. And when was the last time we've had a SNOWBOARD game this generation? I am thinking AMP'd 3 which was pretty much a launch title for the 360.
If SSX 6 is going to be good and find an audience it's going to have a long road ahead of it.
So what say you?
This week's Working Question is going to die in directly with the column topic this week.
What is the Outlook on SSX 6?
I personally think it's going to be good for the fans of SSX, but it won't be a revolution for the genre like Skate was.
You know what? I think I am going to run with this whole Working Outlook idea for a bit. And how about I just go ahead and do one about one of the more controversial games to come out this year…well…controversial for a certain community of gamers anyway…
Until next time, I'm Jordan Williams...and seriously guys...click the link under the banner.