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SSX Preview

Soon you can super uber combo in a world where triple corks are weak sauce.

Inspired by real locations and events such as snowboarding, the long awaited sequel to SSX has returned and it’s more social than ever. The sixth game in the SSX franchise focuses on teams of extreme athletes attempting to conquer the world’s most dangerous mountain ranges with their competition hot on their stalefish. By all accounts, EA Canada has returned SSX to its foundation.

Ten locations have been geotagged by EA Canada to provide a multitude of event options in this version of SSX. With a total of ten possible locations, EA Canada’s system of rendering slopes from real world locations to create playable environments will provide gamers with drops tailored to their tastes. Sure to create a few experimental nosebleeds, a hyperrealistic aesthetic renders locales including Africa, The Himalayas, New Zealand, Patagonia, Siberia and Mt. Fuji exclusively to PS3 owners.

Controls have been tweaked and refined like a 1080 swiss cheese with multiple options for whatever style of boarder that players might choose. Three options in total should cater to players of all types. The original controls have returned, where flips and spins have been mapped to the d-pad and the player can grab with rocket combinations of the four shoulder buttons. Next, the player can choose a scheme where tricks are mapped to the four face buttons. Finally, EA added an option where all controls are mapped to the right analog stick to allow faster chains of complex combos. If mastered, all of these options should prove as viable as a double rodeo chicken salad to late filet o’stalefish. Nevertheless, at least one developer suggested that he exclusively uses the third control scheme.

Flying Squirrel Wing suits are available for purchase, which are strongly recommended for certain “Survive It” runs. Without Wing suits, it will be nigh impossible to complete some of SSX’s runs. For Deadly Descents, your run restarts and compounds on itself after you survive for the first time. As you complete each descent, the following descent will get harder: your character’s armor will degrade faster and your character’s Wing suit will decrease more rapidly. 

Riders will also have to survive avalanches from bird’s eye view, looking down on rather than behind the boarder. SSX will require more than simply speed to survive these avalanches. It will take some time to get used to the inverted controls, yet surviving won’t be too difficult during your first descent. The physic-driven avalanche that shrinks and expands based on speed will hurt much more your second time down the slope. Sliding in and around the avalanche takes away max health, as well as regenerative capabilities and carving ability. 

Tricks have been amplified this time around. Once you get into Tricky, your boost ability is unlimited. Score multipliers increase with speed and flow, rewarding precision. Using almost all of the terrain, each character can make their own pipes to multiply the number of tricks in your combo. Rather than simply a Tricky meter, players can spin themselves Super Tricky if they combine enough tricks. Combos can regularly exceed 50 tricks due to the natural physics engine. And the physics engine can be rewound up to 15 seconds to improve your run.Although a point penalty will ensue, it won’t hurt as much as falling off the edge of a mountain.

Rewards for many achievements will be included for the player. Credits for various accomplishments make their return. Geotags should be placed for each character to earn credits during their down time. Although Geotags expire, the player can gain credits over the period of time where their geotag remains active and in their control. However, friends can pick up Geotags placed by their owners to add the credits to their SSX credit account. Credits accrue from character to character; they can be used on various suits, gear and boards. Each of the boards comes into the characters’ load outs while randomly generating themselves to a number said to surpass 1000 boards. 

So which characters make their return, you ask? Elise Riggs, Griff Simmons, Kaori Nishidake, Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Fraser, Moby Jones, Psymon Stark and Zoe Payne will all be available in this installment. As a pre-order bonus DLC, Eddie Wachowki can ride for you as well. With so many fan favorites making their return, only four more racers have been added to the club - Alex Moreau, Tane Mumea, Ty Thorsen and Travis Rice. Travis Rice, the only skater from our world to ever play in the SSX to this point, has been regularly jumping 110 foot gaps on film from the age of 18. Considered by Snowboarder to be the “Paul Revere” of big mountain freestyle movement, his inclusion seems to be a fantastic representation of what our snowboarding movement is all about.

Most importantly, these characters nuclear react in three different gameplay modes. This triple FF method of presenting the possible runs throughout the ten locations adds a variety to keep boarders busy for months without becoming bored. Trick It mode challenges players to achieve the highest score throughout the same run as their competitors. This mode has been tweaked, now including a terrain deformation element when players land certain tricks: shockwaves will be sent throughout the mountain, which provides an opportunity for bigger air and tricks of a higher difficulty. On the other hand, Race It mode emphasizes the best time to the finish line. Tricks can also be helpful, since boost is gained from successful combinations. Ambitiously, this mode has been refined by spreading out the drop points, so players no longer gain unfair advantages when they crash into players out of the gates.

The Survive It mode provides players with a dessert after completing all of the objectives on a mountain. These Deadly Descents recall the feeling of a boss battle on the peak of a mountain, where challengers must survive environmental hazards. Snow hooks and wing suits climax into a holy grail of hazards such as darkness in Africa, gravity in Patagonia, ice in Siberia, thin air in the Himalayas and a white out in New Zealand. Overall, the developers have included a wide variety of obstacles here as well. 

Surviving all of these obstacles and the challenges made from your friends’ successes and high scores will package the game with a plethora of content that might measure as high as the peaks in Patagonia, if you could measure intangible ideas and content in inches. All of this method madness and iguana kabobs look to glide to a perfect landing on February 28, 2012.



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