SSX [Review]

Back for the first time.


It’s been quite some time since I’ve played a great snowboarding game.  Shawn White Snowboarding was good, but it was no SSX Tricky in my book.  Finally, EA has graced those of us not skilled enough to really snowboard with a new SSX game.  I have to be honest, whenever I think of a series getting rebooted I think the worst.  Luckily for fans, it appears EA made it a point to not muck this up.

Upon starting SSX, you’re forced into World Tour which starts you off with a quick tutorial.  There are two control schemes (standard and classic) but technically three types of controls.  With standard controls you can trick using your front facing buttons or your right analog stick, whereas classic controls are for veterans that really aren’t interested in trying out the new scheme.  When it comes to tricking, the only person that can limit you is yourself.

Spinning in different directions in addition with being able to choose what hand goes on what side of the board (if you don’t use both hands that is) give you a massive combination of different tricks to use.  You can also perform various tricks during grinds.  I did have a slight beef with grinding.  As you approach a grindable object, you will notice that you are being drawn to it.  Normally it wasn’t that big of a deal, but sometimes I wouldn’t want to grind and I would pretty much be magnetized to the bar.  Also, sometimes there are multiple grinds to choose from but the one that is closest to you would be the one you would get pulled too.  It would have been much better if they made it so you had to hold down the grind button to perform a grind.

Whether grinding or in the air, if you can pull off multiple tricks it will increase your combo count which in turn increases your score.  Doing tricks builds you boost bar and when you fill it completely, you go into Tricky mode which allows you unlimited boost for its duration as well as unlocking new tricks that give you more points.  Getting enough points in Tricky will earn you Super Tricky, which unlocks even more insane tricks that you can do as you soaring through the skies.


SSX terrain was created in conjunction with NASA mapped satellite images.  You can see this in each event as every mountain is very detailed with multiple routes, dynamic feeling snow drifts, and a unique feel not just for each separate mountain, but within different segments of each mountain.  The various routes intertwine with each other in such a way that you can do a drop quite a few times and still not touch certain parts of that drop.  Taking time to explore different routes will reward you with finding some pretty clutch shortcuts.  Along for the ride with you is your helicopter pilot that will give you info on the mountain as you descend.

There are three types of drops in SSX: Trick It, Race It, and Survive It.  Trick It is just a competition for points.  The person with the most points at the end of the drop wins.  With Race It, you just need to make it to the bottom of the drop first.  Sounds simple, but without landing big tricks on your way down you will never build up the boost you need to keep up with your competitors.  In addition, the AI during races is pretty aggressive so you will have your work cut out for you.  In Survive It there is only one goal: get to the bottom of the drop.  These drops have the harshest conditions and usually the roughest terrain; getting to the bottom is no easy feat.

Survival drops take place in World Tour on the nine Deadly Descents.  The Deadly Descents are actually what the entire World Tour is based around.  There is a story to it, but to make a long story short, you need to conquer these nine Deadly Descents before Griff (a douche who abandoned team SSX to go solo) does.  These descents are all over the world, so you will be traveling all over the place to locales like the Rockies, Antarctica,Alaska,Himalayas, and even get to carve it up in a live volcano.  Each area usually consists of three events that get you ready for that region’s Deadly Descent, and then you finally get to take it on.

Each location has its own quirks and terrain.  One area may be extra icy, while the next may have huge chasms you need to glide cross, and the next may have lots of smaller crevasses you can fall into if you’re not careful.   You also have land marks and architecture that represent each region and give it a unique looks; something that I found impressive since every mountain is blanketed in snow so it would be quite easy to look the same.  InAlaskayou may be grinding on an oil pipeline, while in theHimalayasyou may find yourself tricking off of a crashed air craft.


There are multiple riders to choose from as you unlock them throughout the World Tour.  You can customize your rider’s clothing and board.  These aren’t always cosmetic changes; some duds will give you perks, while boards have different stats based on speed, boost, and tricks.  You can also equip different gear to help you during your drop.  In terrain with trees and rocks you’ll want to put on armor, while you will want to wear an oxygen mask for thin air drops or use the wing suit for those mountains that have large chasms you want to cross.  Each piece of equipment also has its own stats that you will need to choose based on the scenario.

Some of the gear made the game more fun.  It was great jumping off a cliff, tricking through the air, and they spreading the wing suit out so you can glide your way safely down to the next segment.  At the same time, though, there were some downfalls.  The specific piece of gear I hated the most was the oxygen tank.  Honestly, I can’t even say I hated the tank; I hated the condition that made me have to use the tank.

In Thin Air, as you descend you will constantly need to trigger the oxygen tank or else you will black out.  It’s not that it’s hard, but it definitely distracted me to the point where I couldn’t trick the way I wanted too.  I also didn’t like using the Pulse Goggles during white outs.  The Pulse Google’s show you a grid of the terrain so that you can make it through the low visibility.  The problem is that I still had to be very cautious to the point that I was very conservative in tricking.  If you couldn’t tell by now, tricking is my favorite part of the game and anything that hinders it is bad news in my eyes.

World Tour was a lot of fun but the there was something missing.  There is a single objective in each event and that’s all that really matters.  In race events, your score doesn’t matter.  It may get you some extra credits at the end of a drop but that’s only if you get over a certain score or perform certain moves.  Even in trick events, as long as you get the high score, there isn’t that much incentive to blow away the competition.  This is addressed in Explore mode.


Explore mode is what you would typically expect of a game like this.  There are three times the events and each has medals that you can strive for.  It’s a challenge to get silver, but gold at times requires near perfection.  This should be more than enough of a challenge for any fan of the series.  On top of that, you will be able to see your friend’s scores and times through Ridernet.  Just like Autolog, you will be able try to take down their time which, if your friends don’t suck, should be more challenging than getting the gold.  Ghost data will also be available so you can see what lines they took.

Global Events are for those who have the balls to put their money where their mouth is.  In most cases you will use credits to enter an event.  These events are only available for limited periods of time.  Anyone who enters the event will need to put up their best score or time, and at the end of the event those at the top will get a portion of the overall pot for that event.  You can also play with your friends in real time if you like by creating a custom Global Event and sending an invite.  I would have liked to see some standard lobbies, though, so that I could board with people when friends weren’t around.

In a world of reboots, SSX does an excellent job of reviving the series.  With the exception of a few drops, I had a blast playing the game.  SSX is welcoming to new players but still has that finger cramping, challenging experience that veterans will enjoy.  Fun game play, tons of replay-ability, and an awesome soundtrack make SSX a great experience.

Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding

Executive Director

Jarret is Executive Director as well as one of the founding members of Mash Those Buttons. He plays all types of games, but tends to lean more toward FPS, Stealth, and Combat games.

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