Cool Boarders 3 is drastically different from its predecessors. And unfortunately for fans of the series, it's not the good kind of different. Sure, it looks a whole lot better and has a ton of tracks and events to try, but the bottom line is that it just isn't much fun to play.
One reason it fails is the game's new control scheme. Even after hours of trying to get used to the control, you'll still be wishing it was set up like Cool Boarders 2. The control doesn't have that precise, in-control feeling when you're executing tricks, although when using the Dual Shock, the analog stick is rather nice to use for basic boarding. The new jump meter is an unnecessary pain and ends up forcing you to play extremely mechanically. You have to press and hold the jump button down at the right moment when you're approaching a jump so the indicator is at the height of the meter when you release the button. While it may not sound too menacing, once you give it a try you'll know just how much of a pain it is.
Course quality is another factor that leads to the game's overall lameness. Sure it has 34 tracks, but they're all mostly short and narrow. The developers seem to try to compensate for this by making events like the half pipe best out of three. The new events like boardercross, slalom, and slope style are welcome additions to the game.
In addition to the bad control and weak course design, you'll miss the carefree feeling of happily boarding down the mountain. Instead, that's been replaced with Road Rash-style punching on the course. I'm usually all for fighting, but it's so out of place and so poorly implemented that it might as well not even be in the game.
The graphics are Cool Boarders 3's shining moment. The terrain, snow, and trees all look really good. The animation of the different boarders as they elegantly carve down the mountainside, pulling off moves and grabs, is all very fluid. Even the new interface and art look fairly impressive. While the sound effect for the board scraping over patches of ice in the snow is an exceptionally nice effect, the sound and music overall are fair.
Unfortunately, Cool Boarders 3 isn't the sequel we had all hoped for - changing developers for this third game really hurt the series a lot.