SSX On Tour
It’s been 2 years since the last SSX game from EA. Why did they skip 2004? I have no idea, but seeing the hype they’re creating for SSX On Tour they probably needed the extra 12 months to make one hell of a game that could top SSX 3. Or so they want you to think…
SSX On Tour is the fourth installment of the popular Snowboard/Skiing game from Electronic Arts. SSX was an instant success which was doubled by Tricky. SSX3 added more racing and a lot more speed to the franchise and became the best snowboarding game ever. At least, for me. Now there’s SSX On Tour where the “Tour” would be some kind of campaign that should keep you busy for a while.
After a reasonably nice intro, you get to choose between the Tour, Options and free play. The latter being the mode where you should do a quick game that can be chosen between a couple of standard ones and those you unlocked in “The Tour”.
I’m going to keep it short and simple: there’s several different types of games: races, trickjumps, trick races, etc etc etc. Everyone will find at least one type of game they’ll enjoy and in line with EA, you can change the looks of your character the way you want. Once you earn some money, you can of course go to the shop and buy new boards and clothing or even get a new hairstyle or some makeup on your face.
All very nice nice nice, but some things did bug me quite hard.
The menus for instance. They’re plain awful unless you like them to be overly chaotic and filled with drawings done by 6-year olds. Clarity is a main issue for these type of games and EA completely missed the ball with their attempt to be hipper than hip.
Some more decent descriptions on what you’re supposed to do during an “event” also would have been helpful. Since I was thinking it had to be me, I started asking other people what the idea behind certain races was. Guess what: they didn’t know either.
The ranking is nice to give you an idea on where you are overall in the game, but some more explanation on how you can progress would have been nice. Explanation on anything for that matter. You can buy new tricks, but how to do them is nowhere to be found in-game. Button-bashing to get a combination by accident doesn’t solve that problem either by the way.
Graphically, I wasn’t blown away at all. I remember the first time I saw SSX3 and I was instantly in love with the game. With SSX On Tour I kept getting irritated by the fact that there’s more corners on my character in the cut-scenes than on a rubics cube.
These cut-scenes also get boring pretty quickly, they’re always the same and tend to slow down the pace of the game. I like movies in between playing games, but not if I have to keep seeing the same things over and over again.
Don’t get me wrong though. The overall graphics of the tracks aren’t bad at all, but they just didn’t look as impressive as those from SSX3 2 years ago.
On the sound part, things are nice with a lot of hip hop tracks but again it seems like EA started cutting corners. Or did the budget run dry? There’s several tracks available, but even after playing only a few hours, you’ll get to hear the same things over and over again. Not really what you expect from a top EA title that thrives on “coolness”.
Coolness. Another word EA desperately is trying to get with SSX On Tour but sadly enough doesn’t achieve. Unless you’re a 12-year old that is. If you win a Tour event, some flashy pic appears with your character in a silly pose and the text “I’m the boss” right next to you with a black & red background filled with lightnings.
Technically, SSX On Tour isn’t a bad game, but EA misses the point in a lot of details. If I take a look at a sequel, I want to see things improve, but SSX On Tour seems only to manage to screw up several good things from SSX3 and not improve on the minor flaws it had. Too bad, this game could have been a lot more.
EA tries desperately to be cool with SSX On Tour but in their attempt, they lose all sense of what really IS cool and end up with a product that doesn’t show any improvement over SSX3 and can only be seen as cool by children before they hit puberty. If you want a great arcade snowboarding game, get SSX3