SSX fans have been in for a fair old rollercoaster of a time over the last six months. But after excitement, fears, and tentative excitement tinged with fears, we can now launch into full-blown excitement. In fact we can probably giggle girlishly and do a little jig.
Why? Because we have some serious fanboy input on the game, by way of a couple of insanely exhaustive reports from EA's recent SSX Community Event. A couple of chaps by the names of Gondee and Soultron (probably not their real names) were at the event, which EA ran to show us nervy fanboys exactly what we'll be getting from 2012's new SSX. Am I happy with what I've read of their personal feelings? Damn right I'm happy. I've included some highlights over the jump, so check them out, then read the full reports I've linked to.
How it feels to play
We know that SSX's physics are getting an overhaul. And at first, amid talk of a simmier approach and following that godawful gritty trailer, that worried me. But it seems that despite having a more in-depth physics engine running things, this is still SSX. Just SSX with more depth and things to do.
Manipulating your boarder in the new SSX is no longer a simple case of launching into the air and rotating on a central axis. Nor does ground control sound like a simple blend of wide and sharp stick pulls with occasional manual tweaking. Physics, weighting, speed and different surfaces now all play a big part, apparently allowing the player to experience each track differently every time. Snow physics react to all of this, creating dynamic set-pieces where previously things were scripted to set parts of the track every time. Examples given were having to jump over mini-avalanches triggered by a hard landing, or even ducking into a crevasse for shelter as one thunders overhead.
Rails are now much more organic too, meaning that pretty much anything with a vertical edge is grindable. And if all of this sounds too much removed from the SSX of old, don't worry. Reports are that with a little practice, it all feels very authentic. Just better. Apparently the current game was compared to an old build using last-gen's SSX handling, and immediately made the old games look dated, while still feeling totally authentic.
How cool the tricks are
Again, fully authentic. A Signature Character Uber trick was demoed, and apparently looked and felt pure SSX. According to Gondee, " By the time the game comes out, I think we'll be gawking at what they produce and wonder how we could have ever thought there weren't going to be Uber tricks. I will readily admit I thought this after the debut trailer and feel sheepish now". It seems all tricks are being designed to shine with true SSX spirit.
How good the tracks are
Yes, SSX's mountains are being based upon real-world locations, but for all that talk about satellite mapping, it seems that "inspired by" is a much more accurate description. "Inspired by", and then filtered through a lens of glorious multi-coloured SSX madness, before being rattled around a washing machine a few times on a fast spin. Oh, and that washing machine is on a rollercoaster. Don't ask me where it's plugged in. I'm bailing out of this metaphor now.
But yes, you know how Kilimanjaro has a volcanic crater at the top? Well in SSX it leads to a network of lava tunnels which create paths leading in and out of the mountain itself. And while the Great Wall of China goes nowhere near the Himalayas, in SSX it does. Just so that you can grind it. Early, "first-draft" footage of unfinished tracks was shown off and Gondee went as far as describing them as "almost awe-inspiring". Want more? Oh go on then. "The ideas should lead to some of the most iconic, most memorable tracks the series has ever seen. You know I probably had a deeper memory of the tracks in each SSX game than just about anyone at the SSX 2012 Community Event, and I don't make the statement that the tracks may be the best in the series lightly"
Excited? I am excited. Vibratingly excited. Everything I've recently seen of this new SSX has felt completely right, and now that I have the glowing opinions of hardcore SSX fanboys, I couldn't be more confortable with it. Head over to Merqury City and NeoGAF for Gondee and Soultron's full, extensive accounts and a whole stack of their personal feelings. They're exciting. You'll be excited.
And big thanks to GamesRadar reader SuspendedIrrelevance for the tip on this one.
July 05, 2011