Shaun White Snowboarding Updated Hands-On

Take your downhill experience to the extreme with Shaun White Snowboarding.

It was only a matter of time before the massive interactive environments common in the MMO and action gaming genres found their way into the realm of action sports. Shaun White Snowboarding, developed by Ubisoft, provides unrestricted access to entire mountains, allowing gamers to tackle the slopes in any way they choose. We had a chance to check out the cutting-edge boarding game a few weeks back in Park City, Utah, one of the four resorts included in the package.

Massive, open-ended environments and a cutting-edge graphics engine create a very immersive snowboarding experience.

The game features four of the premier snowboarding locales across the globe: Japan, Europe, Alaska, and Park City. The environments themselves are massive. Using the Assassin's Creed engine, Shaun White Snowboarding can render dynamic elements from up to 20 miles away (you can actually see the base of the mountain from the mountaintop). Objects far in the distance appear larger as you approach them, and the backgrounds never appear to be static images. Each of the in-game environments is unique in its own right, including many of the buildings and mountain layouts from the actual venues (though some obstacles, like additional rails, were added to facilitate more tricking). While navigating the numerous paths open to you can be confusing, Shaun White allows you to set markers on your map, allowing you to plan your ideal route down the slopes.

Traversing up the mountains in handled in one of two ways: using one of the various lifts scattered across the resort to start a more typical run, or taking a helicopter up to the top of the mountain. While the lifts offer you the chance to dismount early, which is cool, the helicopter ride gives you access to areas only the gutsiest boarders would ever try. In addition to hopping 100-foot-deep crevices, you will have to contend with the occasional avalanche. A meter will display your distance to the avalanche, and your cash and points resulting from tricks are magnified depending on how close you're willing to get. Starting from the top of the mountain, the helicopter drops offer approximately five minutes of continuous boarding down the mountain.

Breaking ranks from other games in the genre, Shaun White Snowboarding doesn't use preset trick animations. Instead, through usage of the analog sticks, you will be able to dynamically create all of the most common snowboarding tricks and even create your own variations. The left analog stick controls your body positioning, dictating your movement while on the ground and body contortions in the air. The right analog stick governs everything from board grabs and tweaks to spins. The more tricks you can string together without face-planting, the more cash and points you receive. While mastering the controls does involve a learning curve, the basic controls are intuitive and responsive.

Because preset animations aren't used, the game doesn't run into the clipping issues found in other action sports titles (such as executing a trick animation despite being stuck against a wall). As a result the gameplay feels more like a snowboarding simulation that an arcade-style trickfest. While the in-game physics are good, there are the occasional moments where you may raise an eyebrow or two. Although collision detection is accurate, you character's reactions from the impact are usually minor (this is probably intended to keep the game moving). Other times, your character will refuse to make a one-foot drop simply because the game never intended it.

Shaun White Snowboarding offers both single- and multiplayer gaming. The single-player storyline pits you as a young, up-and-coming snowboarder looking to leave his mark on the sport. Shawn White serves as your mentor throughout most of the game, walking you through basic controls at the start of the game and slowly scaling up to more advanced tactics as the game progresses. As you complete various challenges and win competitions, Shaun will take notice and you will eventually be able to pit your boarding skills against Shaun himself.

As there aren't preset animations, controlling balance will be critical to landing your sick tricks.

The multiplayer experience in Shaun White is another area where the game really shines. The beauty of the multiplayer mode is that it the experience looks and feels no different from the single-player game. Everything is the same, except that you're no longer the only human player on the slopes. You can invite friends to join your multiplayer mountain at any time, and various challenges are scattered around the mountains to weigh your skills against your friends. These challenges come in a variety of flavors including half-pipe competitions, point competitions, and straight races. You even have the option to wager your cash with your buddies during these challenges.

Once you have amassed a good amount of cash from tricks, challenges, and competitions, you can bring up the apparel shop at any point to swank out your character. Options include new boards, bindings, and goggles, as well as a collection of threads that ranges from the practical to the over-the-top to the downright strange.

Shaun White Snowboarding certainly looks to deliver an engaging snowboarding experience. The variety of challenges and massive, open-ended environments, an interactive and intuitive trick system, and a strong multiplayer experience should provide long-lasting appeal for action sports gamers. Shaun White Snowboarding ships November 16.

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Discussion

64 comments
kshock123
kshock123

Just bought this game and i love it

burstlimit514
burstlimit514

TOO many games comming out! This looks really awsome though. Im really curious how the assasins creed engine will work out.

spartanpride83
spartanpride83

This game looks amazing. I never thought I would ever see another snowboarding game again. This game has raised my interest and I'm really looking forward to it.

6321466
6321466

i will definitely buy it.OOOYA And also STOKED!

georgeorjose
georgeorjose

this looks like a pretty kool game, can someone give me money to go buy it and a few other games :)

Sodney
Sodney

I'm getting this on the release:)

khariss
khariss

man this game looks sweat

jogmister543
jogmister543

urr stoked looks cooler. more realistic, better contols. idk

mcmanus108
mcmanus108

i can't wait, this game looks and sounds sick, im buying it the day it comes out and playing non stop 24-7 forever, im so pumped for this game

ninjarat
ninjarat

Time to bring out an new SSX title, come on EA.

bustap949
bustap949

hopefully the soundtrack is better than PURE too. Good game btw...crappy music though.

andyb1233
andyb1233

I'm so hopin this is gonna b like a snowboardin equivalent of skate.

nitrocole
nitrocole

This games looks amazing! The multiplayer is gonna be great. And the trick controls are like skate.

Satish13
Satish13

This games looks and sounds amazing. I guess SSX has met its successor, but if EA does continue it, its gonna have the trick stick again jsut like skate which this already has. Plus this has the Advantage of open world, and real places. EA is not much of an open world game company. looking at how there are limitation in NFS and SSX. but yeah I hop its got a Player to tap into the music u have already on ur PS3.

migportes
migportes

EA should bring back their snowboarding series as well. Hopefully, this one will provide much fun!

me64
me64

i love snowboarding!!! i guess its kinda like skate, but snowboarding. i want it!

Codemonster224
Codemonster224

m not a big fan of snowboarding but after reading this it sounds awsome i cant wait 4 this to come out i really like how its an open enviroment i just cant wait it sounds great.

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

I want to know what bands are set to be in the game's soundtrack.

spungeman
spungeman

mmm cant wait... hopefull its better/different to amped, i hated that game

bustap949
bustap949

sick. Finally a decent snowboarding game since coolboarders.

Iqen
Iqen

Never been to fond of snowboarding games, except for SSX that is!!

Iqen
Iqen

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

smokefortyaday
smokefortyaday

1 big problem for this game, i would like it, but it is scheduled when i last looked for the same date as GoW2, so when am I going to buy this or have time to play it?

sillyoo
sillyoo

I don't really like snowboarding games because they are dull, shallow and repetitive, but since this is open world in single AND multi player, I now love it. Also there's the fact that it uses the Assasin's Creed engine. WOOOOOT!

niles88
niles88

getting better but still not as good as i thought it was gonna be

superdance14
superdance14

While this looks good (except for the box art), bring back SSX!

galienthealien
galienthealien

i knew some game would use the assassin's creed engine. its so freaking good. this looks interesting.

galienthealien
galienthealien

i knew some game would use the assassin's creed engine. its so freaking good. this looks interesting.

donnygorgas
donnygorgas

I've been to Park City twice in the last few years and is by far the best resort I've ever boarded. It will be interesting to see how close they can recreate the layout. At the very least they better have the bigger parks and Joneses.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

looked interesting at lasy years e3, and i am still interested in it, looks like a good game, but with so many great games this winter it's gunna tuff to choose, gods...

itwiz90
itwiz90

Uhmmmmm, it sounds interesting. I like snowboarding game (i.e. Cool Boarders and SSx). I notice there was no mention of a half-pipe competition, racing more than one person offline, two player split screen. I wondering will this be worth it. Looks like a rental to me. 8)

theaudience
theaudience

this area is definitely not Ubisoft's area of expertise but hopefully they can pull it off. still waiting for that great snowboarding game to come since 1080! amped 2 on xbox wasnt bad though.

MOB712
MOB712

@Bukkoo lol dude did you even read the article?? Not baggin on you but that exact control scheme they said the game has

bukkookkub
bukkookkub

I really hope they use a "Skate." like control system. I'm done with button pushing.

Media-Master
Media-Master

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for this one!

gamer_sammy
gamer_sammy

I can't wait till this game comes out!!!

CoreoVII
CoreoVII

I just hope everyone realize's that it's not about the Graphics, but the Gameplay!. don't be suckered in by a pretty game that you can't handle. SSX will be tough to beat.

HaVoC_DX
HaVoC_DX

ThiS iS gOnnA bE gUD ........thIs iS goNna Be tHe BesT snOwboaRdin gaMe 4 PC

spazpol
spazpol

Finally a good looking snowboard game that will rival SSX and not be a bunch of cartooned out characters. The multiplayer sounds fun if you wanna go gnar gnar int the pow back country with some buddies.

frvaca
frvaca

Wow!!! This game is a must buy!! Thanks Ubi for finally getting us a descent snowboarding game!

Percy6744
Percy6744

I cannot wait for this game. I'm going to pre order it when I go to pick up my copy of Fable 2.

_Ben99_
_Ben99_

this games has been previewed a couple of months ago in Playstaion Magazine .

Dogswithguns
Dogswithguns

Look good. it has to play just as good I hope.