Review by FN1004

Reviewed: 12/28/03

Cold slopes. One hot game.

People thought that was it when SSX came out at the release of the PS2. Games just couldn't get any better. Then along comes Tony Hawk 3. Since then, it has been a clash of the titans, as Neversoft and EA Big battle it out for the best extreme sports title. Now, with SSX 3, EA shows what it's really made of.

Since the first in the series, SSX has become a whole new game. With the first title, EA made a slew of riders, a slew of tracks, and two types of play. And EA said ''It is good.'' Then, they released SSX Tricky. They made new riders, hired a Hollywood cast of voice-actors, and added Uber tricks. And EA said ''It is good.'' But then they said ''Let's make it better.'' Thus SSX 3 is born. Every single aspect of the game was changed; the characters, modes, courses, graphics, style, and ultimately the whole style of the game itself. And guess what - it is good.

SYNOPSIS: This is the third Snowboard Super-Cross competition. The SSX riders are sent to a huge mountain, with three peaks, marking beginner, intermediate, and expert difficulties. As the game starts (with an AWESOME cutscene, I may add), you are thrown onto the top of the first peak, with signs to guide your way to each event. And this isn't just race and freestyle, folks - the Freestyle category has been broken down into Big Air competitions (self explanatory), Slope Style (like traditional Showoff mode), and Super Pipe (a giant half-pipe). In addition to Race and Showoff, Freeride also comes into play. But no longer is it useless - events known as ''Big Challenges'' occur here. These challenges are goals, similar to Tony Hawk 4 and T.H.U.G., where players find the start of the goal and are prompted to complete a certain task. Completion of these and any other race or freestyle events will earn you cash, which you can use to purchase accessories for your rider or higher stats.

Graphics: 10 The graphics have totally been revamped, and push the PS2 to its limits. Character models are extremely detailed, as you can see in the loading segments, where the camera is just feet away from the character. Courses are more varied and colorful, particle effects are amazing, and the overall look of the game is just sleeker.

Sound: 10 With the sound budget that EA Big used on voice actors last time around, they have now applied it to have a killer soundtrack. Now, we get Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fatboy Slim, The X-ecutioners, and N.E.R.D., just to name a few. The whole sound portion of the game is presented in a radio station format, called Radio Big, a station devoted to nothing else but SSX. You not only get music, but also updates on the SSX competition, such as weather reports, rider reports, and gossip. This keeps the game steady, as the radio never gets boring. If you have ADD and are bored by this, then take a break from it, make a playlist if you like or listen to ambient nature sounds. Fun.

Playability: 10 The playability of SSX never was confusing in any way, nor did it ever get old. The only updates here come from the huge mountain style, new Super Ubers, and rails. The rails are actually easy to get onto now, unlike the beginning, where you'd be lucky to get on one, let alone balance. The Super Ubers are crazier than ever, and now they can be performed on rails. Also, a combo system has been implemented, giving a time limit after each trick for you to trick again and keep the combo string running. In order to keep this possible, you can now do nose & tail slides, like the manuals in THPS. Every move can be seamlessly linked to score mad points. Just like in the past, you still get boost, but it goes down fast if you use the SELECT button to reset position, like I'm sure many of you do. (Cheaters!)

Appeal: 10 This series has been with the PS2 since the beginning, and now it's on every platform, and it's online, so this game is pretty well known already.

Overall: 10 SSX was good, and Tricky was better, but EA Big went above and beyond to make this the extreme sports game of the year, and loads of eye candy and wasted hours with controller in hand can vouch for that.

Rent or buy? Buy, definitely. However, the difficulty gets really hard really fast, so play the original SSX if you haven't already to get warmed up.

Rating: 10

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