Review by peterenshaw
Could have been so good...
The first two games in the Tricky series were gold. Playability was top-notch, and it looked and sounded fantastic. This installment makes a hugely promising start, but then runs into a massive flaw which, for me, totally ruined the game.
As you know, instead of having separate tracks as such, this game has one big mountain divided into three peaks, which are ordered according to level of difficulty, with peak 1 being the easiest.
I picked my character, and got into the game. I won some races and set some high scores in the showoff (here called "slope style"), upgraded and decked out my character, and had a lot of fun doing it. Finally I got access to peak 2, and that is where everything went pear shaped.
The first race on peak 2 is a one-on-one race against another character. The other character will depend on who you choose as your own character. I tend to use Kaori, so I had to race against Mac. This is what then happens:
The race begins. Within about three seconds, Mac is ahead of me. The end.
That's more or less how it goes. Once the computer AI character is ahead of you (which happens almost as soon as the race starts), you can expect to be in second place for 90 per cent or more of the race. The only time you will catch up with the other character is if he crashes - something he almost never does. In fact, he takes the perfect line just about every single time, and as soon as you think you're catching him, he's suddenly miles ahead of you again. If you somehow DO get into the lead, then the instant you miss the perfect line by a millionth of a millimetre, he will pass you. Every single time.
This race therefore violates my own personal rule - I call it the Boss Fight Rule - which says that if you have to try more than five times to clear any given part of a game, then the playability is no good. I raced against, and lost to, Mac ten times running, and then I realised that it was no longer worth playing this game. This is too bad, because the initial stages are great and a worthy addition to the series. But life is too short to continually try and beat an AI which never makes mistakes.
If you can overlook this, then by all means get hold of the game.
Product Release: SSX 3 (US, 10/20/03)
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