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SSX On Tour

Platform(s): GameCube, PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Sports
Publisher: EA Sport Big
Developer: EA Sports

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PS2 Preview - 'SSX On Tour'

by Hank on Oct. 5, 2005 @ 1:16 a.m. PDT

SSX On Tour allows players to create their own boarder or skier and take them from a wannabe to a mountain rockstar. Players can get noticed in all-new shred challenges where they earn an invitation to The Tour where they'll face the best racers in the SSX cast. Fly down the all-new tracks, and master the new monster tricks for both boarding and skiing to make it to the top of The Charts.

Genre: Sports
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Games
Release Date: October 14, 2005

SSX On Tour is the fourth installment of the Snowboarding Super Cross (SSX) series, and it sure lives up to its reputation. This is the first title in the series to include skiing, so you can choose to be a skier or snowboarder, whichever is to your liking.

Graphical improvements were made on both character models and background design. The place looks like a snowboard/skiing haven, which is a little unrealistic, but it injects a sense of liveliness into the game. The slopes are more crowded with more fellow snow sport aficionados, more jumps, and plenty of random items – like flames – to give it some flair. As usual, the sound meets expectations, and I can't wait to see the entire list upon release, which should be awesome like all other EA Trax before it.

Since I haven't played SSX in a while, I can't recall the original controls, but the new control scheme is oddly familiar. Use the shoulder buttons to perform grabs, the directional pad to turn, the left analog stick is to control direction and speeding up, and the right analog stick is to pivot or perform monster tricks. As for the face buttons, the square is to get up/boost, circle for a handplant, and X is to crouch/jump.

Playing it a few times (and losing) reacquainted me with the controls, and boy, does it get fun then. Combining different button configurations, I pulled off some insane combos that I can only dream of doing in real life. I don't think I'll ever pull off a 1080 back flip or any sort of turn in real life, but in this game, I can live out this dream of being a godly snowboarder.

In the preview build, there were only two playable modes, downhill racing (which is pretty self-explanatory) and trick. In the trick mode, your player competes against fellow snowboarders or skiers and tries to outscore them with all of their possible moves. The competition is a straight downhill battle, and you have to avoid traffic and unwarranted billboards that just seem to crop up in all the wrong places. After a few runs, you'll know the course like the back of your hand, and you'll know where to jump and where not to try that three-move combo. There was no half-pipe or long jump competition in this preview build, but I'm sure it will be in the final version, along with several other mini-games.

Overall, SSX On Tour looks to be a pretty fun title that gamers of all ages can enjoy. If the preview build is any indication, this should shape up to be the next great snowboarding/skiing game.


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