Latest Game Reviews

SSX Blur Review - Wii

6.5
Gameplay: 6 stars 6
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 6 stars 6
Multiplayer: 6 stars 6
Innovation: 5 stars 5
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Introduction


SSX Blur is a welcome addition to the Wii’s line-up, for a couple of reasons. First, the release of the game alongside the recent Godfather title shows how EA has taken notice of Nintendo’s new system, and this can only be a good thing. Hell, we’ve got MySims and EA Playground in the pipeline already. The other reason is that in Australia we’re still waiting on Wii games that were launch titles in other regions. I’m looking at you, Trauma Center. Frankly, we need all the games we can get.

Gameplay


The SSX franchise began its life as a snowboarding title featuring outlandish stunts, mission-based gameplay and a heavy emphasis on music. Several years later, the latest entry, Blur, fits the mould established by the previous titles, though you can choose to use skis if that’s more your style. You’ll begin on a single peak, and as you progress through the tournaments and complete different challenges, you’ll unlock new characters, boards and mountains. You’ll also be able to power up your character, boosting certain skill attributes.

Unfortunately, the mechanics of the game feel dated. As I understand it, it is a trademark of the franchise to use each peak as an ‘overworld’ of sorts, allowing you to wander the slopes and branch off into different missions as you see fit. Quite frankly, as traditional as this may be, it is tedious to have to travel every time you just want to do an objective. Thankfully, you can pause the game and select the map and pick a mission without travelling, but this is clumsy (I’ll get to that in a minute). The game tries to lure you to the standard way of locating missions by liberally scattering tokens around the peak that unlock new ‘Ubertricks’ when enough are collected. These are pointless, though, as I’ll get to in yet another minute – yep, I have lots to talk about. So basically, it would have been much nicer to just select a mission right from the get-go, before the game goes to the trouble of loading the entire environment.

This is important, because the game has frustrating loading issues. I really, really don’t like long loading times. I don’t like three or four different titles screens advertising all seventeen subsidiaries of EA that made the game. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other titles on the system, but dammit, flash a montage of snowboarding images and then let me skip it to the title screen. Once you’ve loaded through all the main menus and then loaded the peak you want to visit, you’ll then get to ride to the mission you want to accept, load a cutscene which shows you rocking up to the event, and then load the actual event itself. This gets very old, very fast. Even restarting an event – just moving your character back to the top of the slope – is laborious.

Speaking of things that are painfully slow, all ... (continued next page)