Big SSX Hands-On

Big SSX looks like it could be the defining arcade-style snowboarding racer.

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I recently got to play a bit of EA's latest Snowboarding creation, Big SSX (previously known as Snowboarding Super X). Big SSX looks like it could be the defining arcade-style snowboarding racer.

Big SSX is a supercross game - more snowboard racing than freestyle riding. While there are tricks in the game, the primary focus is racing. Each track allows you incredible amounts of freedom, as you can simply go anywhere. If there's a path you can see, you can ride it. In addition to finding the best route down the track, you'll want to perform tricks over jumps and other obstacles. The trick system works a lot like most other snowboarding games - you'll have to hold down a direction button prior to jumping to charge up your rotation. Performing a trick gives you a boost you can use to briefly increase your speed, so the key to winning the race is a careful combination of tricks and racing.

Big SSX looks incredible. The graphics are clean, detailed, and colorful. The visuals themselves actually remind me a lot of TrickStyle, except that they're a lot nicer looking. The sound is one of the coolest aspects of the game. The track has several musical components that fade in and out depending on how you're doing. So you could be plowing along in third place listening to drums and a bassline, and then when you make your move to take second, a wailing guitar jumps into the song. The music really goads you along, which makes the racing more intense.

One particular moment in Big SSX stands out as my favorite. I was behind a good bit, and somehow I fell off the raised platform I was racing on. I fell, but I managed to twist sideways and ended up traveling down this sewer. There were obstacles and huge spinning fans in my way, but once I got past those I ended up shooting out two good places in front of where I entered. To me it was an excellent example of just how many ways you can do things in Big SSX.

Big SSX is on course for the US PS2 launch, and it looks like it'll be released in Japan well before it comes out here. We'll have more information for you then.

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