Title: SSX 3
Platform: Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports BIG
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: For those who miss snowboarding games.
Price: $10/£10 (Xbox One)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
SSX is a arcade-y snowboarding series which was initially a PS2 exclusive, with each game afterwards a consistent improvement over its predecessor. Players are to perform crazy and impossible tricks in midair; the first game has players race down mountains in order to win gold medals. SSX Tricky followed in 2001, also for PS2, along with marking the franchise’s debut on Gamecube and Xbox. The game ramped up the presentation over the original with Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky” being massively featured in the game, including when performing Uber tricks (more on that later). SSX 3 first saw release in November 2003 for the PS2, Nintendo Gamecube, and Xbox. It was also the first entry where the game wasn’t as streamlined or linear as previous entries seeing as you can decide which event to tackle first in the unlocked peak.
The game features a pretty simple premise spread across a handful of modes; go down a slope and perform sick and twisted moves on your way to a high score or pole position. Players can either do races or freestyle events through the game’s three peaks. At your first start up, the first peak is unlocked, but as you progress and win events, you’ll unlock the next two peaks. Races are pretty self explanatory; make sure to nab a top three position in order to move on to the next heat. Freestyle events tasks players to beat a preset score in order to move up to the next event. After successfully winning the first two events, players will then go one-on-one with their nemesis in a race, then a freestyle event. These act as “boss events,” and will have players going from top to bottom of the peak they’re conquering. Some races can take upwards to 15 minutes to complete, win or loss.
Winning events reward players with money which can in turn be spent upgrading your character’s skills such as speed, acceleration, tricks, etc, giving players a bit of an edge in the competition, considering things get hairy on peak two. Players can also decide to buy some new cosmetic gear for their character, or go full on goofy with a balloon for a head.
Performing tricks will reward players with points, but also fill the Uber Trick meter. The meter serves two purposes: providing players with a speed boost, and also allows them to perform tricks impossible in reality, such as throwing your board around your character’s neck. Depending on the amount of air you can get, players are able to pull off multiple Uber Tricks; mind the landing, though, as Uber Tricks take a bit longer to perform. Once the meter is both filled out and all the “Uber Tricks,” letters are lit up, players can now perform even crazier moves called Super Uber. Bigger moves, bigger rewards. Pulling them off is tricky and requires a lot of air in order to avoid crashing. Or, if you feel pulling off tricks isn’t your thing, simply punch down other boards and get an instant full meter.
Even by today’s standards, SSX 3’s visuals still hold up, but obviously, don’t expect Steep-like visuals. For the time, this was an impressive visual feat, but even in 2018, it still looks decently enjoyable. Whether it be the characters or environments, there’s a nice attention to details. Facial animations can be over the top and funny, but in a good way; Psymon’s almost puking facing expression always makes me chuckle. On the sound side of things, the game feature an interesting mix of rock, electro and punk rock music which suits the action pretty well. While the Queen of the Stone Age “No One Knows,” (Unkle Remix) is by far the worst track of the bunch, Yellowcard, Thrice, and Avenged Sevenfold, among others, make up for this faux pas. My little complaint about the soundtrack is related to the Uber Trick meter; if you’re in the midst of pulling off a trick, the sound will be louder, but if you end up crashing, the sound drops and the lyrics are interrupted; it sucks ass in the middle of your favorite song.
Is SSX 3 worth your time 15 years later? Hell. YES. While by today’s standards, it might be a shallow and on the short side, players can extend their playtime by maxing out all characters and purchasing all the unlockable/available gear. Gameplay is tight, characters are entertaining, soundtrack is amazing; for $10 or £10, this is definitely a must-play.
- Still addictive 15 years later
- Gameplay holds up perfectly well
- Limited content by today’s standards
- Difficulty ramps up quick
SSX 3 is rated PEGI7+ and T for Teen. Perfect snowboarding game for everyone in the family; some optional violence.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game purchased for the purpose of this review.