The return of SSX has many fans including myself pumped of a revival which has been waiting for the franchises ascension upon the PlayStation 3’s debut of 2007. As an arcade, non-realistic snowboarding game it exemplifies super-decked out tricks of crazy hang time, long duration of grinding on rails, knocking down your opponents using the analog stick, and unlocking better boards to improving the perks of speed and tricks. With SSX’s roots going deep beyond ten years with a great predecessor in SSX Tricky, does SSX Deadly Descents return prove to be triumphant or a downhill avalanche of pain?
The premise of SSX Deadly Descents is this – a former member of the SSX squad Griff has left the team to rise as the best snowboarder of the globe. SSX now has to assemble a team of 9 of the best riders around the globe to topple Griff’s ascension.
In order to assemble the SSX team, you have to play the World Tour mode. In this mode you will play all of the 9 members of SSX individually to level them up. Each rider earns experience points through events that are completed whether its racing, accumulating skill points whether by tricks or grinding on rails and trees, and surviving a deadly descent mountain.
The game starts off with a training tutorial for one of the first game modes called World Tour. You basically go through a learning curve on how to complete tricks using the action buttons. In the bottom center of the screen there is a bold word called Tricky. The goal is to fill as much meter by completing various tricks. Once you’re capable to fill the entire word it becomes super tricky that your rider receives unlimited boost for certain amount of time and can also be cancelled if your rider face plants on the course. There have been new features added that is the wing-suit which allow you to glide down the slope of a mountain for a short period if you don’t want to cover much ground with air tricks and the ability to do tricks with grinding on rails which was impressive. Lastly, you are given the option to rewind if mess up on a jump and somehow bury your character on a rock but this became frustrating since I’m used to the trigger button of that feature as trick button. The pace of the rewind button tended to slow down the gameplay and felt it useless as a feature and wished it was optional to implement in the controls.
The customization adds a great element to adjusting your rider fits your style. You can choose various attributes of speed, boost and tricks to upgrade. Upgrading speed results to your character’s acceleration, upgrading boost results to increasing your characters speed while boosting and decreases the amount of boost meter while activated and upgrading tricks results to the speed of the trick performed and earning super tricky at a faster pace. You can be equip your rider with armour which provides protection on the amount of damage your rider can take before falling.
The levels blatantly looked at times similar with different add-ons of trees or large canvases to make a tremendous jump. However my patience ran out with the difficulty of a mountain I could not advance to accumulate skill points for one of the character’s levels. The mountain required the use of a wing-suit and perfecting dramatic aerial jumps that was impossible to achieve after 5 attempts of my time.
Dramatic aerial finish
The online play wasn’t exactly what I had in my mind. There are two ways to play it; you can join one of three modes of racing, skill points or survival mode without partaking in any credits or you can bet your credits in a pot that were earned throughout the characters`campaigns. I decided to start off in a race against online opponents which was going to be the core of this game. Yet I felt a letdown to what I witnessed. I was practically racing against ghosts trying to beat a time trial.
The anticipation of this fun, arcade style game didn’t exactly pan out as a fun, arcade game. The controls were unfitting to gain a comfort level. The feature of the rewind button baffles my mind to slowing down the pace of game. The completion to advance levels became a roadblock because the difficulty factor was so prominent that the fun element of SSX was just missing. If I had a suggestion for the next sequel game to SSX, that would be go back to the roots of SSX Tricky when everything was simplified. The controls were easy to grasp, the levels were diverse allowing to race in cities and the ability to do split-screen with a friend. Or better yet bring back SSX Tricky with an HD visual and incorporate proper online play where I can visually see my opponents.