E3 2011: SSX Preview (360/PS3)
Posted by Mark Salmela on 06.11.2011
Hands on: 411ís Mark Salmela goes hands-on with the new SSX game. Itís time to rock-around to rock-around.
SSX had a huge following back on the PlayStation 2. SSX Tricky is considered to be one of, if not the best snowboarding game ever. Fans have been clamoring for a new SSX game for years, and EA is finally giving them one. When SSX was finally revealed it had a more serious look to it, and fans all over the world exploded with rage claiming that EA was going to ruin the franchise that they love. The fans wanted crazy, over the top races with insane, death-defying jumps. Well I'm proud to say that I played SSX and it's awesome. Fans of the series will love the new SSX.
The new SSX will have 3 types of modes. There's Trick it, which will be very familiar to the old school SSX fans, Race it, which should be pretty self-explanatory, and survive it. Survive it is a brand new experience that will act as the equivalent of a boss battle in SSX. SSX will feature numerous mountains from all over the world which have been scanned using satellites from NASA. There will be several different drop points from each mountain and yes, you can stand on the top of Mt. Everest if you want to. The mountains are not perfect recreations, as EA will be doing several tweaks to each mountain to make them more fun to ride and race.
There are two different control schemes to SSX that you can switch between at any time without going into the menu. If you're an old school SSX fan you can perform moves using the face buttons on the controller just as you always have. But if you've become accustom to games like Skate where tricks are performed using the right analog stick well you're in luck because those controls are present as well. To be honest I thought I would have using the right analog stick to perform moves. I thought I would be a purist and use only the face buttons. Well I'd be dammed if I didn't find myself using the right analog stick more often. Using the right analog stick still has the same problems as the Skate games where if you want to perform a specific trick it's easier to use the face buttons but fro times where I just wanted to go wild I found myself using the right analog sticks and flicking the right analog stick in all sorts of directions for crazy and insane combos. It'll be interesting to see which style most gamers use. One thing that's important to note is that the development team has not settled on a control scheme for grinding. In the demo I played you used the R2 button to grind on snow, which I was not a fan of. The development team assured me this was not final and they're likely going to have grinding occur naturally without pressing any button. If you see a surface and ride on it you'll start grinding.
The mode I got to play was Trick it. In Trick it your goal is to rack up as large of a score as possible using grinds and tricks performed mid-air. You can combo moves together and get bonuses for smooth landings. The physics are arcade style on purpose in SSX so you can catch huge air and perform ridiculous and impossible stunts. You know, the stuff that makes the game awesome. Landing large combos has the ability to actually change the environment mid-race allowing for steeper jumps and places to get more air. It's very cool to see the terrain change right in front of you as you land a sick combo.
While I didn't get to play the other two modes I did get to see them played by the development team. Race it is your traditional race down a mountain against other opponents. It's all about gaining speed and momentum. Like Trick it there's branching paths and there's room for exploration. The majority of the story mode will feature Trick it competitions and Race it competitions.
The final gameplay mode is Survive it. As I mentioned Survive it acts as the equivalent of a boss battle in the game. Each major mountain will have one Survive it race where the goal is to race down a mountain while encountering a natural element. The Survive it level I got to see was the element of snow where a giant avalanche was pouring down the mountain as you had to race and perform tricks to stay ahead of the avalanche. Getting caught in the avalanche was instant death and failure of the level. The goal is obviously to survive and escape. Survive it is extremely early in its development but was really cool to see.
SSX isn't coming out until early next year but fans of the series will love SSX. If you've ever enjoyed a snowboarding game be sure to check this one out.