#oneaday Day 5: SSX – The Old and the New

Years ago, much longer than I wished it was, I loved extreme sports. I spent my afternoons at the local skate park skateboarding, and most nights found my dorm filled with friends as we tried to destroy each other’s high score on games like SSX, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, etc. Those were fun times, and are dearly missed.

SSX was a fantastic game that pushed the limits of what we’d seen graphically as of PS2’s release, and it became a massive hit in our dorm life. It didn’t really do anything that we hadn’t seen before with the Cool Boarder series, it just did everything far better.  It was a blast, and went on to spawn a remix entitled SSX Tricky. This game was whack! Seriously though, it’s complete wackiness, but in the good way. It took all the tracks of the original SSX and tossed in more ramps, rails, air and tricks than thought possible in a videogame, and it worked. I could destroy most anyone who dared touch me on the game, and reined the master of SSX Tricky in my small world of friends.

Then SSX 3 came along and absolutely blew me away with its beautiful mountains that allowed the freedom to simply ride down their beautiful slopes. It was nothing short of amazing at the time. I remember spending hours in the dark, with the surround sound in my little apartment blaring, as I boarded my way down the mountainsides.  Sometimes I’d board into venues to take on challenges, but it was mainly the freedom that appealed to me the most, and it’s a memory that’s stuck inside me for a long time now.

That was the real end to SSX for a very long time though. That is, until EA decided to pull the series out of hibernation, and revive it on PS3 with SSX (again!). I tried the demo, and needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. Too much speed, too much air, the tricks are too easy… ahhhh! Why? Why did you do this EA?!?

No, that was my evil conscious. That was indeed me. Yes, I wasn’t happy with what I was playing. I wanted SSX 4, but I felt I was getting something that wasn’t worthy. Regardless, I got the game in the mail Friday – via GameFly – and I’ve played a few hours of it over the weekend. Needless to say, it isn’t the SSX revival that I desire, but it’s still worth giving a shot for long-time fans.

While my previous thoughts from the demo still remain somewhat, there are a few new additions that I do truly enjoy, one of which being the Survival Challenges. Here you’re found screaming down the mountain on the verge of death, as you try to do anything and everything possible to not find yourself at the bottom of a rock face dead. With the smart use of the game’s announcer — also piloting a helicopter above your decent – she acts like a co-pilot and gives you advice on upcoming conditions. It’s a fun new addition to the series that I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’m not too far into the game, so maybe there are more hidden surprises for me to find and enjoy. We shall see.

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