hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

E3: SSX appears to be well and truly back

6:00 AM on 06.08.2011 // Conrad Zimmerman
  @ConradZimmerman

It's been quite some time since a game worthy of the name SSX hit the market. The series had already been in a bit of a slump before the ghastly SSX Blur, a game poor enough EA didn't even acknowledge it during their behind-closed-doors presentation as being in the current console generation despite releasing on the Wii.

No longer. The SSX I played at E3 this week is bolder and more over-the-top than ever as it transforms the mountain ranges of our world into some of the most extreme snowboarding opportunities yet.

To create the mountains of SSX, EA created a software program called Mountain Man and topographical satellite data from NASA. Using these tools, they're capable of fully rendering the true topography of a mountain in a mere 28 seconds. That's just the beginning, however. "We're not using all of this NASA data to create a simulation," says Creative Director Todd Batty. "If we wanted to make a simulation, we would have been done by now. We wanted to make Burnout on snow." 

No, the real work begins after this intial rendering as the designers carve the character of SSX into the environment, tweaking our real world to offer the exaggerated snowboarding experience the series is known for. Clearly mad with power, the level designers are pulling out all the stops with hundreds of possible routes down each mountain and the freedom to explore and tackle every slope however you want. EA impressed upon the idea that if you can see it in the environment, they want you to be able to performa  trick on it. Every bump is a ramp and every sharp edge is a grind.

With all of the possibilities, navigation of this content was a concern. Inspired by Google Earth, stage selection begins with a view of the entire globe where you choose which mountain range you want to explore. Every range on Earth is represented and from there you can select an individual mountain and drop point.

The three types of gameplay comprising SSX are casually referred to as, "Race It," "Trick It," and "Survive It," and we were shown three examples to illustrate what those terms mean. The "Race It" stage, which is exactly what it sounds like, was the legendary Kilimanjaro. The designers took the famous crater at the top of the Kibo peak and did the most ridiculous thing imaginable by creating a track through it. For the "Trick It" sequence, which challenges players to perform as many massive tricks as possible, we were shown a route on Makalu in the Himilayan range, built on the Great Wall of China. Do you think there were grinds? You bet your ass there were, with long beautiful stretches to chain together some serious tricks.

The "Survive It" segment was set on Mount Denali and this gameplay mode requires a bit of explanation. When you've completed a set of race and trick runs on a mountain, you'll then tackle a "Deadly Descent," the SSX equivalent of a boss fight against the mountain itself. The goal is to make it down the mountain from top to bottom without being swallowed by it. Every snow bank and slope is assigned an impact rating, which is compared to the amount of impact created whenever you land. If your impact exceeds the rating, you'll start a snow drift which begins to chase you. As you continue to exceed impact ratings, this drift increases and soon grows without your help as the weight and movement has its own effect on impact ratings further down the slope. It's thrilling and difficult, so much so that the representative from EA playing the game had yet to complete it once during the course of the day's demonstrations.

EA also showed off a few other features, including a wind suit that will enable players to glide through the air and access new areas of the environments or just be awesome. You also have a loyal chopper pilot, who not only drops you off at the top of a run and picks you up again at the end, but can also light your way, act as a guide and occasionally provide trick opportunities by allowing you to grab on to the skids and hold before dropping back down on to the mountain.

In designing the controls, the team has chosen to offer two options. Old-school button mashers like myself will feel right at home in using the four face buttons to perform tricks. If you're more comfortable with pulling your moves with an analog stick a la Skate, that will be available as well with both schemes active at all times. I tried both and didn't see an advantage to using one over the other, though Batty suggested that the analog would offer more fine control over your moves.

I came away incredibly impressed by what I saw of SSX and it's still early. At three months away from alpha status, Todd Batty expressed some level of amazement that EA was willing to show the game at E3 at all, stating that they tend to hold back on releases still at the progress level of this one. I'm glad they did and I'm fairly certain they will be as well. SSX feels exuberant in the hands, is visually gorgeous and almost certainly the return to form fans have long cried out for.



Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Perro avatarPerro
Listening to Studio Ghibli Collection at work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WbO_LPXDo Reminds me that my dad really liked Howl's Moving Castle. He's retired military and serious most of the time but rather enjoyed its fanciful world.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Sorry for my inactivity... I've been lacking motivation and have nothing on my mind right now so i haven't blogged in a while. Still playing Grandia 2 anniversarry, getting annoyed by mount and blade warband's phantasy calradia mod and other shit...
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Donkey Kong Land 3 Any% Speedruns, right now! [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Remember Black? That PS2 era shooter from Criterion? It has a REALLY good orchestral soundtrack. I'm gonna throw that in my MGSV iDroid. Why not.
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Can't sleep cast: Donkey Kong Land Any% [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
ooktar avatarooktar
Defeated a sniper in MGS V by dropping supplies on his head. 10/10.
Nat Monney avatarNat Monney
I'm with 3 other guys and we're about to release a mobile game we started almost 3 years ago. What should we do ? [youtube]https://youtu.be/5EGPUBZCGwo[/youtube]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys I'm on a train what should I do?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Traded in a bunch of old Star Trek novels and other books at a used bookstore. Made $10 and got Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls" album along with it. They made me take the William Shatner novels back. Smart clerks.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube]https://youtu.be/XJkZX0rKElY[/youtube]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Also I will be reviewing freedom wars. I didnt make it to the end. I will not be kind to it. There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Yeah....been there before.
techsupport avatartechsupport
MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Grim Fandango......some real good sruff here. As soon as I complete it (vita version, of course) will probably see about a write up. Not perfect, but theres some good stuff here. Glad it got brought back from obsolescence hell.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
*sigh* If only Disqus had a "block/ignore user" option :/
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Must. Use. This. Blog. More. But. School.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just started playing Hyrule Warriors again. Man is that game fun. A bit mindless at times granted, but fun nonetheless.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I ate vanilla ice cream and didn't put on any chocolate syrup. Now wondering if that was racist whitewashing #thanksjed.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
The cat dragged in some action figures !
[img]http://i.imgur.com/6Cu2Asg.jpg[/img] [img]http://i.imgur.com/qMFDAw3.jpg[/img] [img]http://i.imgur.com/RPUraY8.jpg[/img] [img]http://i.imgur.com/51DLqjh.jpg[/img]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
There's a Custom Soundtrack folder in MGSV. I can't think of a better thing to put there than the old episodes of podtoid I've been running through lately. I'll be fultoning guys and Holmes will be puttin' on mesh tank tops. Perfect.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -