The new SSX (360/PS3, $59.99) is in stores--the first new SSX since 2007's Blur, which was a Wii-exclusive. So what exactly is SSX? It's an over-the-top snowboarding simulation that encourages gamers to take monstrous leaps off the sides of mountains while performing death-defying tricks which sometimes resemble dance moves. Sure, it's more ridiculous than realistic, but when you're having this much, who cares, right?
Gameplay in the new game is spread across 27 massive mountains which have been topographically mapped based on satellite data gathered by the eggheads at NASA. You've got video-game approximations of real-world mountain ranges that stretch from the Canadian Rockies to Siberia. The mountains are positively huge in this game--bigger than any of the mountains seen in previous games in the series--with plenty of secrets and short-cuts to suss out and explore. Even after your 10th time down a mountain, you'll still be seeing things and finding secrets that you haven't seen before.
World Tour is the game's single-player mode. It functions as a kind of tutorial, introducing you to the game's "extreme" roster of characters like Zoe Payne, Elise Riggs, and Moby Jones. World Tour also gives you a chance to try out the analog-sticks only control scheme--left stick controls your carving; right stick determines your tricks. Example: pushing up on the right stick while in the air results in a nose-grab. The more you experiment with the analog sticks, the more tricks, spins, and moves you'll discover.
World Tour also features nine Deadly Descents, which are drops so dangerous that they require riders to wear special equipment like oxygen tanks, armor, and even a wing suit. Launching yourself off the side of a mountain then deploying the wing suit and sailing across a bottomless crevasse is the first must-experience gaming moment of 2012.
Global Events let gamers race against other boarders in a quest to achieve the best time or accumulate the highest number of trick points, depending on the criteria of the event. RiderNet, just like Need For Speed: Burnout's Autolog, is there to keep track of everything. Whenever you beat a friend's time, RiderNet lets that friend know right away. And whenever a friend beats your time, RiderNet will let you know.
The mountains are simply gorgeous, the gameplay is a blast, and with RiderNet, gamers can potentially keep on playing the new SSX for months or even years to come. Now this is the way your reboot a series. Great job, EA.