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Nov. 11, 2001

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page



previews

SSX: Tricky

Developer
EA Canada

Publisher
EA Sports Big

Genre
Sports

Anticipation
High

The newest installment in EA BIG's masterful snowboarding series debuts on Xbox - get the lowdown on the fresh powder inside.

While the launch of the Playstation 2 late last October may be looked upon as a failure (that's being generous), one game succeeded in breaking the mold and vaulting itself into gaming supremacy. Believe it or not, it wasn't Unreal Tournament, nor was it Tekken Tag Tournament, nor would Madden 2001 be remembered as one of the greatest PS2 launch games, let alone ever.

Electronic Arts stunned the world with their SSX, a game that still gets many hours of play. Now EA looks to stun the gaming industry yet again with SSX: Tricky for Microsoft's Xbox. With refined graphics, a kick ass soundtrack, and a few star-studded appearances, SSX: Tricky should definitely be able to repeat as one of the premiere titles for the Xbox's first wave of games.

Is there really anything else that could improve this year's installment over last year's? You betcha. Change around the existing tracks, throw in a few additional tracks and a handful of new boarders, as well as a huge load of new tricks and you're set to go! This year's SSX will feature no less than six brand spankin' new boarders, such as:

  • Broderick Ford-A hip surfer dude who was born to surf the waves.
  • Edward Wachowski-The afro sporting street luger who is obviously trapped in the '70s.
  • Marisol Diez Delgado- By far the sassiest of the newcomers, Marisol is a dancer, a boarder, and of course, a flirter.
  • Psymon Stark-The most mentally unstable of the bunch, Psymon represents the small percentage of the population that uses his mental instabilities to his advantage.
  • Luther-Dwayne Grady-While Luther may be a bit chunky, he definitely packs a huge punch on the slopes.
  • Seeiah Owens-While her sense of style may be a bit "different", this east coast sistah lets her boarding speak for itself.

  • You'll notice that Hiro and Jurgen are absent this season due to off season injuries, our condolences go out to their families.

The first new tracks for the gamer to play through will be Garibaldi, British Columbia. This new course will be available at the beginning of the game and is set to provide the player with some of the most insane jumps seen in any snowboarding game. This will allow time to learn the button combinations to link tricks together.

The next new track will be located in Valdez, Alaska and will become available only after progressing through a large portion of the game. Obviously, due to its placement in the game, Valdez will offer a more challenging aspect sporting tighter turns and huge gaps to attempt to venture over, Valdez will present a challenge to even the most seasoned of the SSX crowd.

The graphics of the game will obviously be poked and prodded at by Electronic Arts in an effort to make the game's visuals as intricate as possible for use on the Xbox. Throughout, you'll notice subtle graphical nuances that just aren't possible on any other system. Intricate facial expressions will convey emotion in a way never before seen in a snowboarding game and the new physics model will provide the game with a whole new slant on the world of snowboarding.

EA Sports BIG has also gone to great lengths to include some Hollywood honchos into the fret. Those lending their voices to the game include: the sexerific Lucy Liu, the not-so sexy, but funny nonetheless, Oliver Platt, and the slightly uncouth David Arquette. Joining these headlining stars are such phenoms as Grammy winner Macy Gray, actor Billy Zane (Titanic), and Patricia Velazquez (The Mummy Returns). There is no doubt that EA had to dig deep into their pockets to include such high profile celebrities in SSX: Tricky, but from what we've seen of the game, it's all been worth it.

Another aspect of the game being overhauled is the actual gameplay. In first SSX the gameplay was based mainly around racing. Whoever, finished the course first, regardless of point total, would automatically win the race. This year's installment will be morphing those rules a bit by putting more of a focus on performing insane tricks throughout the game. SSX: Tricky will live up to its name by including a plethora of brand spankin' new tricks to be performed at your leisure. Also included with each boarder comes complete with a unique set of "uber" tricks (12 for each boarder). Should you be lucky enough to pull off five "uber" tricks in one race, then you will then be rewarded with the ability to perform your very own special move. Should you land your special move then your boarder's attributes will be maxed out for the remainder of the race.

Originally dubbed SSX: DVD, SSX: Tricky will come complete with some DVD-like extras. You'll have the ability to watch stars laying down some lines for the game, you'll get to watch Run DMC mixing the title song, and you'll also get to spend some quality time with the EA Sports BIG development team as they mastermind SSX: Tricky in all its glory. It's called supplemental material, a basic feature on DVD movies nowadays, and something that we may look forward to in the future on more games.

Much like the first SSX, music will play a large role in the fun factor. Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Macy Gray, The Plump DJ's, Aphrodite, and many more artists have already layed down some tracks for the game. Pulsing tunes will accompany you on every run, and sometimes the music will alter in accordance with your performance (cheesy rhyme unintentional). Say for instance you land your special move; a special track will begin to play signaling that you've attained your full abilities.

Features are all well and good, but it is the modes that some people have been asking about. What returns? What's changed?

The World Circuit mode will provide the player with the beef of the gameplay. In this mode you'll race fellow boarders and will eventually unlock tracks, new boarders, and new tracks. The practice mode of the game will be refined a bit from last year's model. Rather than offering a straight unadulterated downhill run, it will act as an actual practice mode should - to provide you with time to practice the tracks and the tricks. In SSX: Tricky the practice mode will point out each trick to you so that you can hone your skills so they may carry over to the World Circuit races.

Also undergoing a bit of a make over is the trick book, which is used to show the player how many tricks he/she has unlocked during the course of the game. In this year's trick book, EA Sports BIG has made audio and visual cues to point out newly unlocked tricks. This feature should be a welcome addition to those who found last years book a bit frustrating to understand and complete.

With all the new modifications to this year's SSX it seems that EA Sports BIG is attempting to create a strong foothold for the title in the minds of snowboarders everywhere. While going head-to-head with Microsoft's Amped is no easy task, SSX Tricky definitely has seniority over the Xbox newbies, but then again Amped has the upper hand with the earlier release date. Who will win the battle of the boarders? Only time will tell (time… and our reviews). SSX Tricky should slide into stores shelves this December.

Gamer X
Has liked the Arizona Diamondbacks forever... really, he has.





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