Review by jimmytheexploder

Reviewed: 12/17/03

Forget 1080....SSX 3 rules the mountain

When SSX and SSX: Tricky were released in the last few years, people were amazed at the creativity, the tight controls, the beautiful graphics, and a style that could not be matched by any other snowboarding game. They were deemed some of the best snowboarding games off all time. But there were a few naysayers who believed that it was only the best boarding game because there was no real competition when it was released. But now, as we see SSX 3 being released alongside 1080: Avalanche and Amped 2, the answer is clear: SSX 3 is the defining snowboarding title. Period.

Gameplay: 10

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' While this phrase may hold true to other franchises that are in dire need of repair, EA Big threw this out the window. They have totally revamped the career mode system, which results in the player rarely seeing a menu throughout the game, which creates a nice, fast pace to gameplay. Instead of selecting your race type and the venue at the beginning of the match, your player is pitted against all other contestants in the SSX 3 circuit on three different peaks. While you may balk that there is only three, these peaks are HUGE. Indescribably huge. And best of all, they take samples out of all the best levels from the previous SSX titles. You can race in the twisting bowels of a bustling metropolis to the furious wrath of Mother Nature in the midst of an avalanche. There is also a few new game modes, which include Big Air, Slope Style, Race (duh) and Super Pipe. But back to the meat of the gameplay. The best part is, there is no end of as race that drags you back to a menu. You board down a mountain, where different events are held all over the peak. If you want to enter a certain race, you just turn at a junction and you automatically enter. This type of freedom gives a greater feeling of control for the player, and a more enjoyable experience on my part. If you want to, you don't have to enter an event at all. You can simply free ride down all the peaks in SSX 3.

There is also a new variation to trick system. Taking a leaf out of Tony Hawk's book, you can now create combos. When you land a trick, a time counts down. If you can pull off another trick during that time, you create a multiplier, which will increase your score. You can join your tricks by using the new Tail/Nose-press maneuver, which is done by holding Up or Down.

Last, but certainly not least, is the amount of things you can buy. From your winnings from various events, you can purchase hundreds of articles of clothes for your boarder, new songs to listen to on the radio, different boards to equip, and new tricks. You can customize you boarder like never before from SSX 3. Also, a welcome idea is the lack of trick books to get clothing. This seemed very derarative when I was playing the previous SSX titles, and it slowed down the game considerably. But now, clothing can be earned through you success in the game.

My only gripe with the gameplay is that sometimes when your going down the hill at high speeds it is really difficult to catch a rail. It's hard to align yourself at the right angle, and a misjudgement results in bouncing off of the rail and losing speed and points, especially when you have a combo going.

Controls 9/10

The controls are identical to the previous SSX titles. Different combinations of the shoulder buttons are used to grab, Square is to tweak. There are a few additions, including the Tail and Nose Press. You can also hold down L2 and R2 to defend yourself from punches from other players. It is pretty much the same as before, with the D-Pad/Left Joystick to steer, X to jump, directions to spin/flip. They are very responsive, and they are definitely best suited for the gameplay.

Graphics 10/10

Wow. That was my only thought after Mac jumped off of a huge ravine, did a 1080 Misty Tailgrab through the dense fog, and landed perfectly in soft powder below. SSX 3 has made the next big jump in graphical achievements, and they have not missed a single detail. Hair and loose clothing blow in the wind when boarding. Snow sprays outwards following a harsh landing. And despite the off-the-wall tricks, falls are more realistic then before. And it is all portrayed with a sensible amount of realism and graphical precision. Character models movements when turning and spinning were also very surprising. Their leg and arm movements when in mid-air reacted accordingly, and made me feel more into the game then ever before.

Sound 10/10

Sound is definitely as category that improved drastically in some areas. Not actual sounds of the snowboarding action or the voice talent, but the music. Now you can choose your own tracks to play, or you can listen to a local radio, which informs you of different events which take place on the mountain. This creates a feeling of competition, and it is another way of immersing you in the game.

Rating: 10

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