Review by Pure_Gamer

Reviewed: 10/28/03

Renders SSX Tricky obsolete

Wow. From the moment I turned on my PS2 that's the only thing that went through my mind. Wow. SSX 3 is everything a sequel should be; the same thing you already love, but changed around so much that it seems brand new.

Undoubtedly, The biggest change is the new organization of the levels. The ''pick a track you want to race on'' system from SSX and SSX Tricky as been replaced with one large mountain with three peaks. Players start on the lowest peak in a freeride mode. From here they can ride up to main events (the equivalent of the tracks from the previous games), new BIG Challenges (odd little tasks like ''pop 3 balloons, Tony Hawk fans will feel at home with these challenges), or just ride down the slope. The game streams information from the disk so after the initial load time, you're free of pauses. Now my first impression on this system was ''alright, clever way to pick what you want to do, but in the end this just replaces the old menus.'' That impression was shattered when I did the first peak race. In the peak race, you start at the top of the peak you are on and ride down to the bottom, going through each race course along the way.

After that there is the new combo system. Now you can create long strings of combos simply by starting a new trick 5 seconds after landing the previous one. To help you pull this off, board presses have been added. Board Presses are the snowboarding equivalent of manuals (done by pushing the right analog stick up or down), the rider pushes hard on one side of the board and makes the other side come up off the ground. Unlike in the Tony Hawk games, combos don't apply multipliers, instead a portion of the trick's worth is added to a ''combo pool.'' (The amount of points added depends on how many tricks have been done so far. The first trick of a combo adds half it's value to the combo pool, but the 50th adds more than the trick's normal value). Combos add a big new level of gameplay and frustration. (once you've lost a 200+ combo, you'll know what I mean).

The other major changes are handplants (press circle when you go up to a rail), Ubertricks on rails (done exactly as you might imagine), a redone combat system that uses the shoulder buttons instead of the right analog stick (and lets you block, a very welcome addition), And differing levels up Ubertricks. (Do 4 basic Ubertricks to unlock Super Ubertricks. Do 5 of these to have temporary unlimited boost). Freestyle courses now come in 2 new flavors, Big Air is a very short track designed to rack up points very quickly and Superpipe puts you on a giant halfpipe and lets you go crazy.

So how does this all work out in the end? Marvelously, but I do have some compliants. First, the framerate. SSX was designed for the PS2. In my opinion, SSX has no business on other consoles. I'm not trying to be ''Hey! PS2 ROXX!!!!!1!1, ALL THE OTHER SYSTEMS SUCK!!'', I'm actually more of a Game Cube fan than anything else, but anyone who played Tricky on the PS2 and then on any other system knows what I'm talking about. The controls weren't meant for anything but the PS2, and that same problem carries over to SSX 3. Think about it, the Game Cube controller doesn't have enough buttons and the Xbox? Try hitting L1, L2, R1, R2, and Square vs. hitting L, R, B, Y, X. I rest my case. Anyway, since the game is only playable on the PS2, it should run perfectly on the PS2. If there are too many things going on at once and it's making things bog down, make less things going on at once. Second, I like the DVD-esque content of Tricky, and would have much preferred as much of it as possible instead of previews of other EA games. Third, online play is only 1 on 1. And finally, the game starts you off with minimal instruction. I think EA figured everyone that played this would be familar with SSX coming in.

I think that's about all I have to say about this game. Go buy it, even if you think you're tired of this whole SSX thing, this one will renew your love of the game.

Rating: 9

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