There are times when you can see the threads of what could have been. The brand new World Tour mode gives us a look at the Deadly Descent, a term that nearly became this reboot's subtitle. Here you take a trip around the globe, tricking off some of the world's best known mountains and racing against a whole host of familiar faces. The diverse locales include Alaska, the Rockies, Siberia, Africa, the Alps, the Himalayas and more. These locations have a number of peaks to explore each with their own set of drops and challenges.
These nine regions play out in a similar fashion. Here you'll be introduced to a different member of the SSX troupe. That person will then be told to earn a bunch of points in trick mode and complete a series of races. The game throws increasingly challenging missions at you until you're ultimately ready to take on the game's boss battle -- Deadly Descent.
Each of the nine Deadly Descent challenges is different. In one stage you'll be speeding down a mountain while an avalanche tries to gobble you up. In other stage you'll be navigating a series of caverns with little more than a light attached to your helmet. An early challenge has players fighting strong winds, while later levels force you to contend with rocks and ice.
Some of these de facto boss stages offer new items and gameplay mechanics. In one stage you'll be given a special suit that lets you glide through the air for a short amount of time. This plays into an especially challenging course full of suicide drops. In another stage you will be given an oxygen mask to survive the impossibly thin air. Some of these special items add to the fun and variety of SSX, while others feel gimmicky. Thankfully, once you're done with that region it's off to meet a new character and battle another natural disaster.
Playing the World Tour mode opens up a batch of new characters you can take into the game's other modes. When you're not advancing the ridiculous storyline (complete with motion comics for each snowboarder), you're exploring the ridiculous number of drops. Here you will find a near endless stream of challenges, including trick, race and survival events on practically all of the 153 drops. This is a massive undertaking to complete; thankfully you'll be able to compare your best runs against your friends.
SSX wisely steals a version of the Autolog, the innovative score tracker found in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Here you will find recommendations on where to go next and whose score to best. Much like Criterion's racer, SSX benefits greatly from having this quickly updated information at your fingertips. You'll never be at a loss for something to do when competing against your friends.
There's no reason to be worried about SSX. After a seven year hiatus, Electronic Arts has decided to retool their best extreme sports franchise. The result is a fast-paced action experience that offers an impressive collection of real life mountains to conquer. The only thing missing is a real multiplayer mode.
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!