Review by mexican nemesis

Reviewed: 11/06/03

Snowboarding has never been so deliciously evil!

Say hello to the new king of the snow hill! SSX 3 marks the third installment, of the ever popular series. With each game getting better each year, some people were wondering if SSX 3 could get the job done. Well, SSX 3 manages to not only live up to its expectations brought on by its predecessors of SSX and SSX Tricky, but it all actuality, it manages to break all barriers. With a ''One mountain, three peaks'' theme to SSX this time around, people felt that EA Big couldn't push the franchise to its limits. Well EA manages to quiet the critics and make this game a long lasting, enjoyable game that is not only one of the best snowboarding games out there, but quite frankly the best PS2 game to date.

Gameplay 10/10

As stated, SSX 3 does indeed has a setting of one huge mountain, with 3 peaks or ''stages''. EA Big does a terrific job of planning out each peak, that it seems each one is a whole new level and a whole new experience. The mountain itself is so vast and huge, that it actually takes thirty ''real time'' minutes to get from top to bottom. While many people think ''Big deal!!'' when talking about the size of mountain, EA Big proves that size really does matter. This proves true in many of SSX 3's gameplay options, such as Single Event, Multiplay, and Online, which is a new great addition to the SSX franchise. What really makes this game shine though is the ''Conquer the Mountain'' aspect.

Conquer the Mountain, is a new gameplay feature that is like a story mode. You choose from the wide variety of characters to play as, from the returning vets of SSX and SSX Tricky such as; Mac, Elise, Moby, Kaori, Zoe, and Psymon, to the new blood this year of; Allegra, Griff, Nate, and Viggo. After you choose your character, you start out at the first peak of the game and eventually rise to fame, as you try to conquer each of the peaks. During your quest, you can upgrade your attributes, buy some nice clothing and accessories for your rider, and even buy some nice tunes to listen to, along with unlocking around 1,000 customizations and rewards this game has plenty to do in the ''unlocking'' department. Also you can unlock ''cheat characters'' during your quest, and also unlock some neat stuff such as; an art gallery, trading card gallery, movie gallery, etc. You can also visit any unlocked peak during anytime with the use of your MMCOM, which acts as a nice little teleport device. Saving your game is also a breeze with the help of a ''local lodge'' you visit, with the help of your MMCOM.

The oh so loveable ''Ubers'' are back, which now can be brought and changed during Conquer the Mountain. They are still a pleasure to view and even better trying to execute them at the right time without, the player trying to mess up. Rail ubers are a new addition and also spice up the gameplay feel. You now have the option of a ''Super Uber'' scoring system which you build up through the use of continuous ubers. Also new this year is a ''recovery meter'' which, after a wipe out, determines how quick you recover. When you fill up your ''uber meter'' you can pull off a trick which will add plenty of points to your score. With this many options, SSX 3 is a great experience and feel and it's also a BIG departure from the usual snowboarding games.

Controls 10/10

In all honesty, SSX 3 was meant to be played on the PS2. The controls here is one point that proves so. Compared to the other platforms, the controls for the PS2 version of SSX 3 are simply fantastic. The casual gamer, or heck even the not so casual gamer, can pick up this game and figure out the controls in a few minutes.

While the shoulder buttons are used for doing tricks in the air,(L1,L2,R1,R2)the Square button is used for boost, when achieved through the use of tricks, and also can be used as a recovery button this year, if you continuously press it to fill your ''recovery meter''.

The ''X'' button is used as a jump button and also if held down, acts as a ''ready'' button which prepares for your high rise accent into the sky for some great tricks.

New this year are handplants, which can be pulled off with a simple push of the ''O'' button when next to something that the player can handplant on.

The D-Pad and left digital analog still move the player around. This year though, the right analog stick performs a ''board press'' when pressed forward or backward.

The select button also still acts as a ''automatic'' recovery button, when you're stuck in a hard to move place. While the controls may seem complicated, EA Big does a fine job it putting it all together to make a finally tuned control system.

Graphics 10/10

This has to be one of the gorgeous looking PS2 games to date. From the beautiful snow to the graceful look of the characters, EA Big has managed to put together a game that looks more beautiful than the first two SSX put together.

Cut scenes occur during loading, or transitional sequences, such as when moving between peaks for the first time and when being challenged by a ''peak champion''. These cut scenes are beautifully done and show off the PS2's graphical prowl ness. With this being a snowboarding game, snow is plenty in this game. From the occasional snow flurries, to the huge snow storms, this game does a beautiful job depicting the ''snowy atmosphere'' of a mountain. While talking about the mountain, one can see for periods on end during the fast-pace races and exploration. What really makes this game stand out though is its high paced action environment, which can change on you in a dime. For example in one peak, you could be trying your best and trying to catch up with the leader in a race, but then all of a sudden the ground breaks on you and you find yourself falling into a deep gap.

With all these technical aspects in SSX 3, it is one of the most beautiful games to date and is surely the best looking SSX game in the series. Thumbs up to EA Big in their effort to make SSX 3 this good in the graphics department.

Sound 10/10

This year the biggest improvement over SSX 3 is the music/sound. Gone is the hip hop feel of SSX Tricky, now SSX 3 goes deep down in its roots from the first game to bring you a ''techno/trance'' feel to it. With plenty of mainstream song remixes in this game, the music of SSX 3 doesn't disappoint. While there are some hip-hop songs in this game, rock and techno/dance, dominate this year's game. From artists Queens of the Stone Age and Red Hot Chili Peppers, to X-ecutioners and Overseer the soundtrack is upbeat and makes you go along with the flow during that fast pace race or event. Music can be also brought during your ''Conquer the Mountain'' experience.

In SSX 3, there is an option to have not only have your own playlist, from the songs that you brought, but also one where you can just listen to the songs without the DJ's voice stopping the tunes. Another great improvement in the game is the option is to turn off the music and let the ''Environment noises'' take over. This option allows you to ride music free and hear the gentle sounds of the level while being challenged to the max. Helicopters and the fan's roar of cheers, along with the the soothing sounds of the environment, help create a memorable music-less experience.

The voices in the game are top notch. Each character's voice reflects their attitude and emotions. From the adrenaline crazed Psymon to the cool and calm Elise, each character's personality shows in their voice. It's also a nice touch to hear your character spout out taunts while passing up the leader of a race, after knocking down an opponent, or when winning that gold or platinum medal.

Overall, in terms of music and sounds, there is plenty to be heard in this game and its one of those joys that has to be heard to be truly experienced.

Replay 10/10

This is hands down of the deepest SSX games to date and if not the deepest snowboarding game ever. There are many options here that could keep you playing for months on end. From the ever so fun multiplayer gameplay, to its new Online feature EA Big makes this year's addition a treat to behold. Along with the close to 1,000 unlockable rewards and customizations, and different customizations for each character, SSX 3 surpasses all of the replay value in the first two games and goes a step further and proves that the SSX 3 franchise should be taken seriously despite its arcade feel.

Overall 10/10

What is left to be said about this game? EA Big has out done itself this time. From its beautiful graphics to its long lasting replay value, SSX 3 is a game that stands out above the rest. Any fan of SSX or SSX Tricky would find this a worthy addition to their collection and even if you never heard of SSX before you owe yourself to pick this game up. This game does not disappoint and sets a model example of what a game SHOULD be.

Rating: 10

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