New SSX begins retail Tour

Snowboarding season starts early for the PSP, PS2, Xbox, and GameCube; shredding goes double time with inclusion of skiing.

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Electronic Arts is inviting gamers to dust off their parkas with the announcement that SSX On Tour, the latest installment of the publisher's extreme snowsports franchise, has shipped to stores. EA Canada, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, handled the development of the game, which is available for the PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube.

Good news for those who prefer to take the slopes on with two planks instead of one: SSX On Tour adds the option to strap in as an extreme skier. Whether in skis or on a snowboard, there will still be plenty of big-time aerials and massive railslides to perform as players progress from bunny-slope babe to black-diamond beast.

The bulk of the game is in the hearty single-player campaign, where gamers will take on a brand-new mountain, earning respect and improving their style as they progress. The exclusion of online multiplayer may melt some boarders' hearts, but friends can still ride together in split-screen mode.

The licensed soundtrack will help the timid push their limits with some high-octane tracks from various genres, such as LCD Soundsystem's "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills," and Jurassic Five's "Red Hot."

SSX On Tour is rated E10+ for Everyone Ten and Older and sells for $39.99 on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. Meanwhile, it's rated E for Everyone and retails for $34.99 on the PSP. Check back later today for a full review of the PS2 and Xbox versions.

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