Ea Sports Big’s debut title and PlayStation 2 launch game scored big out of the gate.
SSX (or Snowboard Supercross) is a hell of a game and one of the most critically acclaimed game to launch with the PlayStation 2.
The game is striking right from the beginning with its roided up soundtrack and dazzling color palette. Twenty two years later and the game still looks beautiful, and almost runs flawlessly. The frame rate may drop occasionally but is hardly ever an issue.
The game has three main modes: Free Ride, Single Race and World Circuit. The latter is obviously the bread and butter of the game. Featuring six different extreme venues and four racers (four more are unlock-able). As you progress with your character of choice (each rider has different strengths and styles i.e. Freestyle is good at tricks and an Alpine rider is very fast, excelling at racing) you earn more experience points to add to their attributes as you place in the top three of either a race at a venue or a trick competition.
The game is fast paced and easy to get a hang of. The trick system should be praised, as I find it easier than early Tony Hawk titles (around the same time) and much easier then Cool Boarders. Each rider feels a little different – mainly when doing tricks. They could have probably made a bigger feel difference between Elise (5’11 130 lbs) and Kaori (5’ 100 lbs). That’s a pretty damn big difference in a sport that heavily relies on physics.
When racing – you have to go through a quarter final, semi and final – racing the same track three times with the difficulty increasing considerably each time. My only pet peeve with the game itself is when you reach the Final and get your ass handed to you and don’t place in the top three – there is no way for you to try the Final again without racing the Quarter and Semi again and to me, especially on the second track Elysium Dream (which runs at nearly six minutes a race.) It can be cruel coming so close after a half an hour and losing and having to start from fresh considering you have to at least finish in the top three of the final race to unlock the next coarse.
Other then that this game is a perfect snapshot of The X-Games obsessed Playstation generation that was just coming into its own. Extreme jumps, extreme speed and extreme fun.
Overall: 90% (GOLD)