SSX3 (GameCube) Review

By James Temperton 12.11.2003

We never thought the day would come when the prospects of a game developed by EA would excite us, but somehow we have. Indeed, they are perhaps one of the most improved developers this year. Their EA BIG house are chucking out some rather attractive games and on the most part it has been their sports title that have been holding their heads high inside the industry giant. They may not have solved platformers or numerous other genres, but if it's extreme (and if SSX3 isn't, we don't know what is) they know just what to do.

Third time lucky? We think not, the SSX franchise is one of the best sports titles to grace gaming in quite some while, and can be counted up there with the very best from the world most respected developers. It showed frightening pace, wonderful tricks and inch-perfect courses along with enough gameplay to keep you entertained until the cows came home, this was and thankfully, still is, ultimate gaming.

EA have long been known for the somewhat stupid philosophy 'If it aint broke, don't fix it' and even if the game was utter rot the company would refuse to change it. However with SSX3 there are an absolute mass of new ideas and experiences speeding into the fold. Heavily emphasised in the months up to the release was the 'free-roaming' that we were promised to see all over the title and EA weren't lying. Okay, it might not be as free roaming as many might be lead to believe but credit were credits due, this game is huge.

Screenshot for SSX3 on GameCube

The main game mode is an ingenious idea, and adds something of an adventure feel to the title. Placed at the top of a very big mountain (somewhat excessively big) you have are shouted out in a booming tone by some arrogant DJ type person, who informs you of all the events going on upon the mountain a top of which you sit. Rather wonderfully, when you start to free-style down the mountain you will spot various signs and arrows pointing you in the direction of various races and challenges that you can take part in, follow the arrows and you plunge yourself into a gripping head to head. Of course, winning isn't anything, and just taking part gains you money, of course winning gets you more notes, so the emphasis is always on getting the best results in all the challenges presented. With the cash you earn you can unlock new-fangled features and after some serious work new sections of the peak will be opened up for you to enjoy.

Perhaps one of the most satisfying elements of SSX is the trick system, it is superb, and for those with the know is allows you some seriously 'big air'. Here you have some rather excessive half-pipes to keep you entertained. There is the possibility to perform some quite wonderful tricks and this part of the game will keep you entertained for an absolute age. The better you get the bigger the tricks become, until you find yourself being launched into the stratosphere, doing a few hundred flips and then thudding down onto the soft snow below.

Screenshot for SSX3 on GameCube

Graphics wise you couldn't really ask for much more, whilst this is far from inspiring to have too much more would surely jeopardise the pace of the game. Thanks to the GameCube's wonderfully trickery, EA have been able to make the snow rather...erm, snow-like. Sliding through the snow on your board you see flakes spraying up all over the place, it is a joy to watch. Turn sharply and a cloud of powder will effervesce into the atmosphere. Even when the screen is at its most frantic, with a massive backdrop, five racers, and yourself speeding down the mountain there is rarely any noticeable slowdown and it all adds to the games superb pace. As is the case with all EA titles, there are the dreaded loading times, but rather nicely they are hidden by high-quality cut-scenes, which will keep the stupid amongst the gaming masses entertained.

If your not quite attuned to the scale of this game should need no more persuading that this. On each individual peak you have to complete each race by winning out in three heats and with three races on each peak with every race taking place on just a third of the peak, and that's a lot of threes and races to contend with. With all that finished off you are presented with the final challenge, a rather large time trail down the mountain peak testing your boarding skills to the extreme.

Those of you that have ever worked their way down a real mountain on a plank of polished wood will know that it is essential to look cool whilst doing so, and EA are not about to ignore that. There is a mode that allows you to show off to the extreme and also a section that lets you kit out your character in all the latest gear so that you will be the envy of all fellow 'boarders.

Screenshot for SSX3 on GameCube

If any of you that have bought EA games in the past (and we supsect most of you have) will know that the company with the big bucks pay quite a few notes to get some quality music into their games. As we have already mentioned there is a radio station that follows you down the mountain, informing you of various events. Accompanying the DJ you have a list of over thirty songs with numerous big names included. The music chosen fits in with the style of the game wonderfully well and you'll find yourself tapping your foot as you race down the extreme slopes. Sadly, we are baffled as to why they even tried to include voice-actors, chimps would do better jobs. The voices are just plain stupid and short of replacing them with the rather generic bird and crowd roar 'noises' you'll have to put up with them.

Now we begin a slight moan, well it's actually quite a big moan. For a game that makes out it is so and so utterly expansive to have limits on the courses is rather baffling. Happily zooming down the mountain you spot a gap and make a course for it, speeding through a large invisible wall appears to tell you that you have wondered off limits, pushed back into the game, and looking rather peeved with continued to try and make the course expand, but it just wouldn't. If this is EA's idea of freedom then we not quite sure what dictionary they used. Still, to find the boundaries you have to go quite a long way, but you will quite often find yourself heading towards the edges of the slopes. The annoyance will make your blood boil.

There is a mass to do here; it just seems to go on and on. Whilst the game levels might not be quite as expansive as promised the actually lifespan of the title is really very impressive. You have outfits to unlock various awards to win, modes to unlock and all sorts of things to discover this is a quality title that will keep your brain active during the frostiest of winter nights.

Screenshot for SSX3 on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

If you don't get annoyed by the awful voice acting and try not to wonder towards any invisible walls this title is tremendous fun and more often than not utterly exhilarating. The positives far outshine any negative you will come across and this is without doubt the best snowboarding title on the GameCube. Big fun, big tricks and an even bigger game, top notch stuff from EA.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo

There are 1 members online at the moment.