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For all intents and purposes, 2012 has been the year in which old franchises are revived for a new audience. So far, we’ve seen new entries in the Syndicate, Twisted Metal, and Kid Icarus franchises and now, the SSX franchise. Simply titled SSX, the newest entry in the series for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 stays true to its roots while giving both returning fans and new fans the next generation SSX experience they’ve been craving.

At its core, SSX is still the same game it’s always been: snowboarding down a mountain using arcade like controls in environments that, while resembling real life snowboarding locations, are made larger than life. For example, one mountain has you snowboarding through an active volcano, where you must avoid lava as you race down the mountain. SSX features nine different mountains with multiple courses in each divided into trick competitions or races; in addition, each mountain features a special Survive It course. The objective of these courses is to simply survive, as the name implies; it may be the avalanche nipping at your heels or the fact that oxygen is low. These new Survive It courses are difficult and won’t be for everyone; luckily, there are only nine of them compared to the 40 plus standard courses available. With each course featuring a multitude of secrets and hidden routes, along with difficult to achieve gold medals, you’ll be returning to SSX often.

Unlike other sports games, there is no create-a-character option in SSX. While some may be put off by this, the roster of larger than life SSX racers that fans have come to know and love are all available to play. From series favorites Mac, Kaori and Zoe to newcomers such as Tane and Alex, each character has their own statistics and personality and with such a diverse cast, there is someone for everyone.

Multiplayer in SSX further utilizes the score-based mechanics of single player and is offered in two different ways: RiderNet and Global Events. With RiderNet, everything that your friends are doing in SSX is being tracked at all times: their high scores and their fastest times are always on display. When you beat one of your friend’s high scores, or vice versa, an alert is sent out, issuing a challenge to take back the #1 spot. RiderNet introduces a new twist on multiplayer gaming and keeps the competitive spirit going without everyone needing to play the game at once; a perfect mode for those with intense gaming rivalries.

With Global Events, the second multiplayer mode, developer and publisher Electronic Arts issues challenges on a regular basis, pitting you against the rest of the SSX community. These Global Events can be completed at any time and often feature the ghosts of other players competing at the same time. Unlike RiderNet, you’re not looking to be the best on your friend’s list, but in the whole world.

Music was always an important part of the SSX series, and the new SSX delivers in spades. A diverse mix of techno pulses alongside of you as you shred each course and, as a special bonus to fans of the franchise, a remix of “It’s Tricky” from SSX Tricky is included. The graphics bring the whole package together, as the snow in SSX looks lifelike and the color palette brings each mountain to life. SSX is a joy to watch as well in addition to playing.

SSX is the total package: great single player, competitive multiplayer, excellent graphics and soundtrack and the feeling of “just one more try” as you attempt to beat a friend’s high score. SSX may not reinvent the series, but it doesn’t need to; with a core formula this good, SSX is sure to stand the test of time and become one of this generation’s classics.

 

Recommendation: Purchase

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