If you can manage to keep your Wii Remote strapped to your wrist (as opposed to smashed against the wall in frustration), you'll find the rest of Blur an enjoyable ride. For one thing, the learning curve in the game is excellent (ubertricks notwithstanding). Early in the game, the races are easy, and the demands on your trick ability are minimal. However, it won't be long before you're regularly tackling halfpipes for 800,000 points or more at a pop. One notable exception is the slalom events, which seem abnormally difficult from the get-go and only get worse as the tournaments continue.
As has always been the case in SSX, Blur has tons of unlockables to explore, including new characters, new outfits, new tricks to learn, and new skis or snowboards to pick up. The game is also well organized. You can simply drift about on the snow, picking up challenges as you make your way down the slopes, or you can make your way to specific areas of the three peaks in the game, which will then automatically enter you into that competition. Finally, if you want instant access to the different events, you can access all of the slope events and tournaments from a menu. The game has a few too many loading screens, but getting from one event to the next is not too bad.
SSX Blur's game modes are straightforward. The single-player game features a tutorial to get you used to the controls, a quick-play option to get on the mountain quickly, and a career mode where you take control of any unlocked rider to compete in events and tournaments. Competing in these events helps to improve your character's attributes. Multiplayer consists of either split-screen competition in race or trick events, or hotseat events where players take turns in events and compare high scores.
While elements of Blur will feel familiar, namely the recycled tracks, the game's art style feels fresh. The character designs are more cartoonlike than before, which suits the Wii's aesthetic just fine. The characters are animated beautifully, and little touches, such as a character being covered with snow head to toe after a wipeout, are fun to see. Despite an overall fine sense of speed to the downhill action, there are occasional frame-rate hitches that can drag things down. In addition, it's not uncommon to get your character temporarily stuck in a corner (say, between the edge of a cliff and a rail). If you exit the playable area, the game also has a tendency to warp you to strange spots. For example, during one slalom race we entered, we went over the side of a cliff, only to be respawned far away from any of the remaining slalom flags. Worse yet, we weren't penalized for missing those flags.
Another consistent feature in the SSX series has been high-quality sound design, and that's still the case with SSX Blur. The sound of the board meeting the snow is excellent, varying between the soft swish of powder and the crackling skid of sheets of ice. The music, upbeat and slightly funky as always, is also excellent in Blur. It morphs and twists with the various successes and failures of your jaunt downhill.
It's too bad that SSX Blur's controls are so uneven, because if not for the maddeningly inconsistent ubertricks, Blur would be a sure thing. Unfortunately, there's nearly as much frustration to be derived from this inconsistency as there is pleasure from the other quality features in the game. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and pick up the game if you're a longtime SSX fan or a Wii owner looking to get your snow sports on; it just means that you should know what you're getting into beforehand.