Review by ScrappedAeon

Reviewed: 10/28/03

The SSX series hits hardest with it's third attempt at gaming perfection.

The third game in the SSX trilogy comes forward, and is arguably THE greatest snowboarding game in existence.

Gameplay - 10

If you've played either SSX or SSX Tricky, you need no introduction to this fantastic series. For those of you who haven't played the games, you're obviously looking to see what it's all about. Well, short answer: It's snowcross. Long answer: It's the extreme. It's based around racing, doing tricks and stunts off rails and jumps. Once you fill your boost meter (or in SSX3's case, an adrenaline meter) all the way up, you can perform Uber tricks. Do enough Ubers, and you can perform Supers. Successfully doing these will warrant tons of points, and doing enough Supers will give you a full, unlimited (for a certain time) boost to rocket past your opponents and into the winner's circle.

Things are a little different than previous SSX games. There's 3 big mountains instead of a variety of levels. Don't let the small number fool you, though. On each mountain lays many different events in their own unique area) to conquer. In fact, the main focus of the single-player is, you guessed it, Conquer The Mountain. The events are quite varied, including your basic Race, Slopestyle (Show Off from the previous games), Big Air (short course, big jumps, make big points) Super Pipe (huge half pipes to gain big points), and Backcountry (similar to Untracked from the previous games). Each mountain has their own variation of these courses. There's also Lodges on each mountain to buy clothes, boards, and accessories for your racer, as well as Stat upgrades. Your racer has a M-Comm PDA, which allows you to receive messages from other racers and transport yourself to different parts of the mountain (or mountains, once you've unlocked 2 and 3).

Graphics - 9.8

Beautiful. Lighting effects are amazing and varied, with light shimmering all over the place. Some places the sun will be right in your eyes, making it hard to see and adding some difficulty. Snow effects are incredible. There's so many different types (ranging from tightly packed, waist deep, to ice and more), and in some parts of the game there's massive snowstorms (it's get so thick in one level that your character almost disappears in it all). Even when it's snowing just a little bit, it really adds a lot to the game. And lets not forget the avalanches and quakes that tear the landscape apart. The designers really went all out trying to create the best experience they could, and they succeeded - phenomenally. It's only losing points in this category cause the Xbox version just looks a tiny tiny tiny bit better.

Music - 11

Wow, what can I say. With nearly 40 different tracks of techno, rock, and rap, it's hard to say anything bad about it. Even if you're not a fan of some of the music, it all fits perfectly. Of course, it wouldn't been SSX without a ''living'' soundtrack. The music varies as to what you do in the game. Perform a big air move, the music slows down to just a mere instrumental track. Then, once you hit the ground, landing your perfect Super trick and screaming like mad (well, maybe that was just me) the music kicks back in full throttle, and you get to do it all over again. Eargasmic perfection.

Sound/Voice - 7.5

While I'm not as overly thrilled about the sound and voice portion, it's very good and there's no complaints at all. Voices fit well, and the addition of the Big radio DJ is an excellent way to really bring players into the game by telling them what's going on in the SSX world. Player taunting is varied enough where it doesn't get on your nerves. But if it does, turn it off and just stick with the music (or ambient mountain sounds, it's your choice).

Replay Value - 8.5

With multiplayer and PS2-only online play, you'll be playing this game till the next SSX game comes out, if not longer. There's also plenty of unlockables and characters to choose from. Some newly added things, like posters and trading cards don't really seem like a big deal to me, but I'm sure there's the type of person that wants to unlock everything they can. And yeah, there's bikinis to unlock for the female characters, so if you want to seem them freezing themselves to death on the slopes, you can do that too.

Overall - 10

''Extreme'' gaming perfection. It's quite similar to Tony Hawk 4's open-endedness, where you can do what you want in the level, be it free-roaming the slopes, racing, or tricking out. It's a great game to be had by sports fans, racing fans, anyone who wants a great gaming experience. Once I got my hands on the game, I couldn't put it down (literally, I killed 8 hours of my life today with this game, and I loved every minute of it). Even if you aren't sure about buying the game, give it a rental at the least. The learning curve isn't too high (at least for racing, the trick courses take some work) and it's a great to play by yourself or with a friend. Highly recommended.

Rating: 10

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