SSX Blur Wii Review - 03/07/2007

The summer's here and it's hot and humid, cool off with some snowboarding fun courtesy of EA.

It makes a change to mention it in a review, but this game is a real showcase for the graphical abilities on the Wii - the snow landscapes and player models are all crisp and well animated, the sun glare effects and the accumulation of snow on your player after a tumble certainly show that when pushed, the Wii can look very nice. Sound however is poor, the soundtrack is minimal and tends to be disjointed due to the music being interrupted every time you crash, sound effects are fairly good however, it's a shame you cant rip songs from a memory card like Excite truck really.

The SSX brand keeps on coming and this time it's exclusive to Wii with a really complex motion sensing control set up. When Nintendo announced the Wii, the advanced controllers were supposed to make games feel intuitive, natural even, and SSX goes some way to getting that feeling right - the nunchuck controls movement, both with the stick and by moving left and right, quite often you find your whole body moving. Tricks and flips and snow ball throwing are all mapped to the remote, there are so many different moves and button combos that it can all get a bit confusing at times, so the game takes a while to get into - it's certainly not for a Wii novice, once you have played a few sessions the controls feel great and you start to pull off the Uber moves with ease. These Uber moves are available after filling up a meter situated on the right hand side of the screen by completing tricks, both remote and nunchuck are used to 'draw' shapes in the air, these can be as simple as a Z, or something far more-tricky such as a heart shape.

I must admit to never liking the series until this game, I always thought the SSX games were poor relations to Nintendo's own 1080 games and I thought Amped was also superior, but the series has found a home on the Wii, and it feels very much like a 1080 game, the graphical style is very reminiscent and it has that fun time trial 'one more go' feel to it.

Rather confusingly, (well to begin with) there are no prompts to actually do anything in the game, you start on peak one and you have to find objectives down the mountain, at first I found it hard to find anything, after mucking about for far too long, I realised when you pause the game, you can skip directly to competitions - I think it's in the manual, but who reads them? And once I had my first face off against the computer, I was hooked, it's a really good fun game which is challenging but fair, and the game really picks up towards peak three, when Uber moves are really needed to finish the opposition off.

The game modes are downhill races against computer opponents - either a straight race to the finish or a 'slopestyle' race where the objective is to race and come first but by also scoring the most trick points on the way. Trick modes include matches in a half-pipe arenas and slaloms where you simply have to perform better and more tricks than your opponents in strict time limits.

You also have a standard career mode to work through, mainly the same as the standard races mentioned above, but of course costumes, characters and boards can be unlocked as you progress. The multiplayer modes add some more to the game, but are fairly short lived, it's a shame Wii-connect couldn't have been implemented - maybe next time!

Overall, this game is the best SSX to date and is recommended to snowboard racing fans, at least until the real 1080 shows up.

- Emerald