SSX 3
by EA SPORTS™ Big

Reviewer: Louis Bedigian
Review Date: 11/06/2003

SSX 3 is as good as snowboarding games come.

GZ Review Ratings:
Gameplay 9.4
Graphics 9.3
Sound 7.9
Difficulty Medium
Concept 9.0
Multi-player 8.5
Overall 9.4

Reviewer's Scoring Details

All Reviews for SSX 3

Flying down the peak, the snowboarder jumps into the air and spins around three times. He grabs the board from several locations, switching seamlessly between each move like it was a natural reflex. Crossing the finish line in record time creates an overabundance of excitement from the audience. Everyone is amazed by what this guy has done. But all you can say is, "His form was a little off."
SSX 3, the snowboarding game where reality meets fiction and fiction meets a world that has never been explored before. There are few words that can describe some of the intense moments you'll encounter in this game. One word would be surreal. You jump off a cliff and prepare to dive under a bridge. Just as you are about to reach the bridge a train comes out of nowhere and flies down the track. You couldn't hit the train, at least not in this circumstance. Yet you still feel slightly tense by what just happened. It's the coolest feeling. Games are rarely surprising enough to do that anymore.

EA took a risk with SSX 3 and it paid off. They made the basic gameplay mechanics (like riding a rail) extremely easy to pull off. The reason is not to make the game weaker, but to make it easier to get into. Then they can counter the easy mechanics with tough races to beat and even tougher high scores to achieve. I recently played Tony Hawk's Underground for a few minutes and it appears to be doing the same thing: easier mechanics, harder goals. Right now this seems like the way to go for extreme sports games.

Not too much has changed as far as the trick system goes. You can still grab the board and spin in crazy (but humanly possible) ways. Newcomer Allegra doesn't add too much to the game, but it is cool having another boarder to look at. If the name Allegra rings a bell, you might be thinking of an allergy medicine. In SSX 3, Allegra is a female boarder with a laid back attitude. She looks kind of like Avril Lavigne, with similar clothing and an unhappy look on her face.

SSX 3 is a great example of a sequel that gives gamers what they want. The new levels are unbelievably awesome! They're gorgeous to look at, and their design is pure EA; the best of the best that only these developers could make. There are multiple visible paths to take in each course, along with several hidden paths. When found, the hidden paths give you the chance to take the lead by skipping some of the lengthier parts of the course. Some are obvious, but most will only be found by searching or by luck. So good luck!

Furthering the game's realism (or should I say surrealism?) is how you navigate each peak in the game. There are three peaks, each one including races, freestyle and other challenges. You can go deeper into the game by merely completing the races, but you won't be able to beat it if you don't learn how to perform tricks well.

To go from one peak to the next, you hop into a plane, fly toward the starting point for the race (the computer controls the flying), and jump to your death! Well, not exactly. You won't die in this game. You can't, its just not that kind of game. But these risky moves are riding a bike for these pros. You jump out of the plane, land safely onto the snow and board yourself to either the race or the lodge. The lodge is where you save the game, buy new equipment, and upgrade your character's stats. Like equipment, stats cost money. Money is earned by performing tricks successfully. A half-complete trick just won't do. A piece of a combo could work as long as the piece is one whole trick. Otherwise you're out of luck.

As mentioned before, this game is very intense at times. It's also very fast (all the time), and never fails to be exciting. I've played dozens of snowboarding games over the years (I would have played hundreds but there just aren't enough to go around), and none of them can compare to the SSX series. It started out great as a PlayStation 2 launch title. It got a little better with SSX Tricky. Now the developers have polished the gameplay to the point where only some new, innovative feature could make it better.

SSX 3's graphics nearly took my breath away. The snow alone is as good as it gets on this generation. It clumps together very realistically, moving in an appropriate fashion as you push your way through. Bright colors are used to light up various parts of each course, showing off great lighting effects that are actually impressive enough to mention. There are so many little elements, so many tiny things to see that you'll end up seeing more and more each time you race through each course. This game has replay value on par with Tony Hawk so you'll definitely see each course more than once.

You don't have to be a fan of snowboarding to love this game. Its deep gameplay will turn gamers into addicts for hours. The courses are a triple A – awesome, awesome, awesome! The gameplay is really fast and is accessible to gamers of varying skill levels. This is a must-have game for anyone who loves games that are just too good to put down.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 9.4
Dizzyingly good! SSX 3 has more than I ever hoped for. The single-player modes are so deep and involving that you may never want to let your friends know you have it. If they know, they'll want to come over and play. If they don't, you can continue playing the only snowboarding game that will never make you feel bored.

The high-speed intensity of the races, and the surreal-ness of the triggered events make this the most astonishing snowboarding game of them all. Its graphics will dazzle your eyes, and its music will (sometimes) entertain your ears while the gameplay makes your brain happier than Twizzler's makes your mouth.



The gameplay is easy enough to pick up and learn to play in a matter of minutes, but hard enough to keep you below the master level for a very long time. Add this one to your Christmas list ASAP.

Graphics: 9.3
I think EA could single-handedly win every award for best-looking game this year. They've got the best-looking sports game (Madden 2004), the best-looking racer (Need For Speed Underground. Trust me – you'll be blown away), the best-looking console FPS (Medal of Honor: Rising Sun), and the best-looking extreme sports game!

Sound: 7.9
Three decent punk rock songs, some techno and some rap. The new trend in game soundtracks is to include a radio feature that's intended to mimic that of a real station. Grand Theft Auto brought this idea to everyone's attention, and thus far, they've done it the best.

SSX 3's soundtrack lacks the star power of Madden 2004. Considering how big this game could potentially be, it should have had Moby as their lead techno artist, not Fatboy Slim.

Difficulty: Medium
A few years ago this game would have probably received a hard difficulty rating. But I'm more experienced at snowboarding games now, and SSX 3 is easier to get into than the previous games. Still very tough to master though.

Concept: 9
It’s not often that a third game in a series is this good. It’s not an entirely new game, but it’s so polished that I can’t help but praise it.

Multiplayer: 8.5
You got broadband? Then go online and play against a friend! You got dial-up? Then go online and play against a friend! SSX 3 does not discriminate between Internet users. Regardless of the connection you have, you'll be able to jack in with SSX 3. (Note: AOL is supported.)

Overall: 9.4
SSX 3 is super satisfying and is extremely fun. The gameplay is as good as snowboarding games come. You won't find a better game in the genre, not on PS2, Xbox or GameCube.

You'll be surprised by how fast the game moves. This too is an advantage over the competition. Whichever console you have, or whichever console you prefer, pick a version and tell Santa to put it under your tree. Or, while you're out shopping for candles or some other gift you (hope) your aunt will like, you could treat yourself to one heck of a present: SSX 3. When the bitter cold weather comes in and makes life seem dull and boring, there's no place I'd rather be than in front of a TV with a cup of hot chocolate, a PlayStation 2 and SSX 3.


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