X Games Pro Boarder captures the snowboarding experience like no other PlayStation game before. Sure, it has some things in common with the Cool Boarders series, but with features like real music, great graphics, intuitive control, plus tons of events and tracks, it has a lot more to offer.
You can choose to ride as any one of eight of the best snowboarders in the world including: five-time world champion Terje Jaakonsen, Tina Basich, Peter Line Todd Richards, Olympic medallist Shannon Dunn, Daniel Franck, Morgan Lafonte, and Jamie Lynn.
The game starts out with five events, half pipe, big air jump, trick course, jump/trick event, and a race. The trick course is a long course that has tons of monster jumps to launch off of as well as a good number of rails, picnic tables, and logs to rail-slide on. The idea on this course is to accumulate more points than your competitors by launching off of jumps and pulling off crazy midair tricks and maneuvers. The big air jump track is a short steep course that has a giant jump at the end of it. You have to fly off the end of this killer jump and pull off the wickedest midair move you can think of. The game allows you multiple attempts and just counts your best jump. Once you score gold in each of these events, you unlock circuit mode. In circuit mode, you must place first in each of the five events and you only get three chances to do it. It's a little rough, but once you complete the circuit mode, all your hard work is rewarded with a new mode and four new courses.The control is so easy and intuitive that it makes the game incredibly fun to play. There's an easy mode of control that lets you pull off amazing tricks and moves right off the bat. Then, when you get familiar with the controls, you can get advanced and pull off some of the more difficult maneuvers. The tricks total out at about 2000 different combinations, both real and fantasy made up by the pros.
Graphically, X Games Pro Boarder is pretty good. The animation of the snowboarders is very smooth, as are the tricks, flips, and spins that they perform. The textures used for the snow, rocks, and other terrain look incredibly realistic. But in the end, it's all about the speed of the game. The game moves at an incredible pace that really gives you the feel of rushing down a mountain on a snowboard. All of the action is seen by the typical behind-the-back camera angle as in Cool Boarders. You can switch the camera angle to a closer view, as well as a free-roaming view that allows you to catch the action from a spectator's standpoint. This view is great for the stunt courses, but for any of the racecourses it's a little confusing to control your boarder.
The music in the game is exceptionally good, with bands that ESPN has licensed for various other X Games products. Pro Boarders has real music from bands like the Foo Fighters, Lunatic Calm, NOFX, Rancid, and more. There are 12 tracks in all ranging from punk to techno. The sound effects are also pretty good. The real music really gives the game a sophisticated realistic edge that Cool Boarders never had.
Overall, X Games Pro Boarder is the best snowboarding game out for the PlayStation. The game is fun and easy to play for beginners, and it has enough depth to it to keep hard-core boarders experimenting with trick combinations for a long time.