After what feels like an age, SSX is back. 2012’s iteration brings the amazing snowboarding franchise into the real world, but retains all the madness that defines SSX.
With 9 deadly descents – from the Whitehorn Mountain in the Rockies to New Zealand’s own runs down Tasman and Wakefield – the game lures old fans like myself and also opens up the game to new players. Its layout is simple, so doing tricks is a breeze. The crazier the better is SSX’s philosophy. You need to see it to believe it.
The wintry visuals are stunning. EA Sports have worked hard to give each of the nine areas its own unique vibe. Making your way through the career and multiplayer modes feels great, as it never seems as though you’re boarding down the same track, or even in the same region. It’s refreshing to be able to go back and find new routes and drops in tracks you’ve already played, especially when you consider how notorious snowboarding games are for repetitiveness.
To mix things up further each of the mountains’ deadly descents have their own theme, making their completion harder. New Zealand’s fog can only be penetrated using your pulse goggles, while (football field-sized) gaps in Patagonia can only be passed with a wing-suit. Of course, an oxygen tank is required to conquer Mount Everest.
The soundtrack to this game is amazing. SSX has a history of picking good tunes to go with their games and this is no different: A heavy drum and bass listing, along with indie, electronic and the legendary Run-DMC “It’s Tricky” track that all old fans of SSX will recognise from the trick mode. Having these songs play while you’re going down the mountain, doing obscene drops, and tricks that Shaun White could only dream off, adds to the unique experience only SSX can bring.
There are some regressions from the latest iteration, the most notable of which is a lack of customisation options. That said, overall this game is a must-have. It’s a game you can keep going back to. It sounds incredible and plays just as well. SSX 2012 raises the bar for snowboarding games.