6351163Mount Fuji is a PS3-exclusive environment in SSX.None
A few deadly descents require you to make active use of new equipment; the coolest example is Patagonia's Fitz Roy, where you need to employ a wingsuit to glide through the windy air and over some chasms. Some of the deadly descents work better than others; the freezing cold of the shadows on Antarctica's Mount Slaughter is a thrilling threat to avoid, while the constant encroachment of tunnel vision brought on by oxygen deprivation on Mt. Everest is more of an annoyance. But on the whole, these challenging runs are a great way to close out your time in each region in the World Tour, and they're a great place for multiplayer competition as well.
The World Tour is a good way to familiarize yourself with the environments and mechanics of SSX, but the action really heats up in the robust multiplayer modes. The Explore mode lets you aim for medal targets and compete against times and scores set by friends on any of the dozens of runs around the game's globe. The performances of your friends here show up as ghosts, and the ghosts leave glowing trails in their wakes, which look cool and are quite useful. If a rival of yours charts a particularly speedy and efficient path through a run, for instance, you can see the route he or she took. Deadly descent events here challenge you and your friends to see who can travel the farthest; when you make it to the bottom of a run, you're sent right back up to the top via helicopter to continue racking up distance.
The other multiplayer option is Global Events, which are competitions that have set time limits; they might last for a day or a week, and tens of thousands of players can compete in them. Depending on how your performance stacks up against other entrants, you're placed in a bracket--diamond, platinum, gold, and so on--and the higher your bracket, the more credits you earn when the event comes to a close. SSX constantly keeps you updated on pertinent happenings in both the Explore and Global Events modes, informing you when a friend shatters your time in a certain race or when your performance no longer qualifies for a certain bracket. And it makes it easy to jump right back to one of those events to try to improve your performance.
Benchmark ghosts let you see how you're doing on a Global Event race run at every step of the way.
Additionally, whether you're in Explore or Global Events, you can plant geotags in any spot you can reach, and they can be collected by other players. You want to make these as difficult to nab as possible, because the longer a geotag you plant goes uncollected, the more credits you earn. You might be inspired to approach a run completely differently than you otherwise would in the hopes of planting a geotag in a hard-to-reach spot or of grabbing one you can see but can't immediately figure out how to collect. With so many runs to conquer and so many ways to compete, it can be hard to walk away from SSX.
Still, the absence of a traditional simultaneous multiplayer mode is conspicuous. You can create a global event that's limited to just friends or friends of friends, but there's no option to create an event that places you and your friends at the starting line simultaneously. You might see your friends on the slopes in a global event, but without a coordinated start, it doesn't matter who actually crosses the finish line first; it matters who takes the least time to get there. You can always create a party and chat with friends as you hang out on the slopes, but it's still disappointing that the game doesn't have a built-in option for simultaneous social competition.
What do you do with the credits you earn for performing well across the game's various modes? Well, lots of things in the game cost credits. New gear for your characters--better boards or outfits that provide perks like a bonus to your trick multiplier--costs credits. Accessing many runs in Explore mode costs credits. Entering many global events costs credits. And it's conceivable that you might end up in a situation where you have to choose between doing some events you don't want to do to earn credits, or just shelling out actual money to acquire them. Yes, you can purchase them with cash. You're never forced to spend money, but the game may tempt you at times with a sweet new snowboard or other alluring item, and the monetization of credits makes the whole thing feel a bit tawdry.
100% pure adrenaline.
But when you're actually on the slopes, the action is so good that you can lose yourself in the moment, joyously tricking and speeding your way down some of the most majestic mountains in the world. Whether you just want to relax and carve some sweet powder in the Rockies or you prefer a grueling struggle against the terrain and the elements, SSX has you covered. It improves on its storied predecessors in every way, with outstanding tracks, intuitive controls, amazing visuals, a diverse assortment of challenges, and fantastic multiplayer options that may have you competing with your friends or the world for a long time to come.
Editor's note: This review originally misstated the total number of regions included in the game. The review has been amended accordingly. GameSpot regrets the error.