On a cosmetic level, the painstaking detail in making the mountain look and feel incredible is enough to give you chills. As avalanches tear apart bits of the track, there’s a sense of tension and then relief when you manage to navigate through a black-ice tunnel and then out the other end and off a ramp for an uber trick of death-defying skill. What a rush.
Even the bombastic nature of the competitions – complete with the fireworks, neon lights and DJ Atomika providing the pumping bass soundtracks – adds up to create a pure gaming experience and maintains a party atmosphere throughout.
Above: Don't worry about the tree tops, you can smash those to splinters if you hit them
The ultimate goal is to unlock the whole mountain, and after completing a few early competitions, I was desperate to get to the highest peak. This is where SSX 3 reaches new heights on two levels – in literal terms, and also in the form of the enjoyment you can suck from it.
In the back country you’ll find very little in the way of razzmatazz like bright lights and colourful explosions but up here – away from the madness – there’s a chilled out feel to SSX 3.
An area that is best when the mountain ambience is switched on and the only sounds are from the cracking ice and whipping winds. A place where you can simply float down the slopes and discover new areas of interest. It’s a tranquil place where, dare I say, you can just relax from the mad half-pipes and grind rails of the peaks below. I’ve spent a sickeningly large amount of time just drifting down the highest points and practising tricks because it just feels right.
Clearly, I’m hot for the new SSX coming out, and I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on the full game, but for now, SSX 3 will remain number one for providing me with hours of blissful gaming and also getting me into the real sport. Sadly, I’m nowhere near as good in real life, but it at least opened my eyes to something I would otherwise have dismissed.
Here's the upcoming SSX that looks amazing too...