SSX on Tour

You experience a 'love at first sight' moment when you see SSX on Tour running.

It's a simply stunning game - a hallucinogenic trip down the sides of mountains pulling off outrageous moves that are somehow just within the bounds of plausibility (a feature from the Tony Hawk games that reached its pinnacle in THPS2 and has never been quite so perfectly replicated since).

If other games in its annual sports sequel portfolio seem to be resting on their laurels, the EA team behind SSX are pushing the envelope in every area.

Most noticeably, skiing gets a long-awaited cultural revamp with a whole host of spectacular trickery you can pull off on two planks of wood. Boarding is still there and now SSX, in effect, delivers two games in one, promising plenty of replay value in the process.

Broadly speaking, choosing to ski makes you faster while boarding enables a quicker recovery time and allows for sharper turning.

Put simply, the skiing is amazing. As the skies and the legs go flying, mid-air grabs, flips and spins look awesome, if a little perplexing.

Pulling tricks is again mostly executed with the left stick but there are a rage of new moves, the 'Monster Tricks', mapped to the right stick too.

Whichever discipline you choose, you'll notice the runs are more cluttered than ever. As you pull off sick tricks you'll have to avoid other ski-bunnies who don't take too kindly to you chopping up their powder.

A brand new physics engine means that you'll have to read the slopes to build up speed for jumps. Catching huge air never felt more satisfying.

Strangely, this tour only takes in one mountain and the title says more about the future direction of SSX than indicating any THUG-style globe-trotting.

Nonetheless, they've still packed the content in with four distinct resorts, each with 13 different runs, with several routes for each track.

Once you've unlocked the All Areas Lift Pass you'll be able to ski anywhere on the mountain and it'll take you half an hour of streamed gaming action to get to the bottom - if you don't get too distracted on the way down.

The flavour of SSX has shifted too - gone is Oakenfold, glowsticks and techno and in comes a mix of rock from the likes of The Hives.

The presentation gets a face-lift too. A skull-and-cross-bones-type insignia comes in, as does the rough and ready graphical style that populates most 'boarding magazines.

This new attitude is manifested in your ultimate aim - becoming a mountain Black Diamond run rockstar with all the glamour and 'respect' that goes with it.

SSX on Tour will be available for Xbox, PS2, Gamecube and PSP this autumn