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SSX Review

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Full of cunning stunts

★★★★

Times have changed since the last ‘proper’ entry in EA’s languid snowboard saga, 2005’s SSX On Tour and for the most part they’ve changed for the better. The game is faster and slicker than ever before – it looks fantastic, and there’s a real joy in tearing down mountains, building up insane scores with even crazier board stunts. Even the soundtrack is varied enough to account for all tastes as you’re shredding through the powder.

A loose story mode, World Tour, sees Team SSX chasing rival ‘boarder Griff around the globe, with slopes based on real-world locations from Alaska to Antarctica. Smaller races introduce various perils – fallen trees, avalanches or simply pitch darkness – to overcome before sending you to tackle one of the game’s nine ‘Deadly Descents’. If you don’t fancy battling through the career though, Explore mode allows you to play through all tracks, earning in-game currency to unlock further areas, additional playable characters, customisable outfits and boards. It also boasts fantastic online options, ranking your progress against your friends’ and offering bespoke challenges as your skill progresses.

Overall, the revamped SSX is the best the series has been since the glory days of SSX Tricky – but it’s still not quite as fun. In pursuit of realism, most races have bottomless chasms or open cliffs and you’ll frequently find yourself throwing yourself into one abyss after another, leading to a frankly exasperating chain of restarting races. A handy rewind function lets you reverse out of terminal descent and try another approach to a jump, but it’s just as irritating to be penalised in both trick score and race time for using it.

Despite its notable flaws, it’s hard not to recommend SSX. The game provides the shot in the arm the series needed – an exciting, if sometimes frustrating snowboarding gem.

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