Snowboarding is very near and dear to me. I worked in the industry for over 10 years, and despite not getting the 50 days a season i used to, i still head to the mountains every chance I get. With Amped 3 being the only viable snowboard title for this generation up to this point, i was eager to get my mittens on Shuan White. It was touted as being a more realistic experience than the SSX series, and comparisons to the realism of Skate were thrown around when the game was receiving press. Consider my interest piqued.
The game delivers a hand full of mountains which you can explore at your leisure, or you can complete challenges given to you by the flying tomato himself. While its nice to be able to do all the tricks right out of the gate, and head anywhere you want, you will need to play the career aspect in order to unlock new boards (which increase player stats), or to unlock special 'focus' powers. Herein lies the problem. The career challenges are lamer than Nick Cages acting (not the bees!). 'Hey, i'm off to europe, but before i go, i need you to find me 12 euro's', informs Mr Tomato. So you're off collecting, in a snowboard game. Fun stuff. If you like tedious, boring exploration, and a GPS system that really doesn't give you much of a clue as to where your heading. On numerous occasions, i find myself riding past the euros, having to get off my board and walk in the direction of the euro, only to encounter a cliff that i can't ascend, or to find that the euro is atop some ridiculous structure that's only accessible from a certain hit on the mountain. Collecting, in a snowboarding game, lame. No problem, i take my lumps, find the miserable fucking euros, and once again run into the burton/taget branded tomato. 'Hey, thankns for the euros. I'm off to Japan, can you find me some Yen?'. No, no mr white, i can't. Get fucked. This is the lamest career mode ever.
As for the rest of the game, its ok. The controls do work, but the boards they start you off with aren't really powerful enough to take advantage of the mountains. As mentioned earlier, i am probably not going to delve back into the realm of collecting foreign currency. The game looks pretty good sitting still, but some of the trick animations, especially if you go from an air to a rail can be a bit sketchy. I also remember reading that the game would cater to all riding styles. I'm a big fan of the backcountry, and while i can ride there, there is nothing added to the gameplay to make it rewarding. There is the concept of a near miss, for people taking clean adventurous lines through trees, but the feeling of carving does not translate to the gameplay. I was hoping the trigger buttons would be for edging, recreating the feeling of picking a line and having to manage getting from edge to edge cleanly to cut up the woods, but this was not the case. Movement was still controlled by the analogue sticks, and lets just say its far from exciting.
Now here's the kicker. THE LOADING SCREEN IS MORE FUN THEN THE ACTUAL GAME. Yeah, you read that right, this is the first time i've had more fun watching the game load then actually playing it. during the load screen, you have control of your rider in an endless superpipe. the controls work perfectly for halfpipe riding, and its actually a ton of fun. the mechanics just don't translate well to riding the rest of the mountain. not sure where ubi dropped the ball on this one, but consider it dropped. Well, at least there's Stoked in a few weeks, we'll hope for the best.