Winter X Games Snowboarding 2
Winter X Games Snowboarding 2 images
Review of Winter X Games Snowboarding 2
Although it may seem hard to believe, Playstation 2 sequels are already starting to arrive thick and fast in your local games store. It’s barely a year since Konami Osaka delivered us their first attempt of those bizarrely dressed dudes hurtling down snowy mountainsides on little more than a miniature surfboard. Hopefully, with lessons learnt, Winter X Games Snowboarding 2 will appeal much more to the average gamer.
Graphically, Snowboarding 2 is far superior to the original game. While retaining many realistic effects, the slopes now have that ultra-smooth, rounded-off texture (similar to SSX) that looks pleasing to the eye. This is much preferred to the sharp and precise contours of the ‘real life’ venues that the first title captured. It is, after all, only a game.
Some of the additional effects, such as the sparks and flame generated by grinding board to metal, add to the overall visual splendor. Sadly others, such as snow dust kicked back from the board’s edges, can actually cause occasional slowdown… especially during the drag racing events when several riders appear on screen at the same time. The most noticeable graphical problem becomes evident in split-screen mode where inexcusable fogging is used to combat re-draw problems.
The pro riders look ultra-realistic with photographs of their real faces neatly wrapped around the head of their motion captured bodies and when they are hurtling down a mountainside it was nice to see items of clothing flapping in the breeze.
Sound effects are pretty realistic, while the musical strength depends entirely on your personal taste (do you like the Kerrang! channel?). Older gamers may appreciate the selection of brash tracks as modern bands (311) and 70’s punk groups (The Damned) were used to form the compilation.
Gameplay begins with a Tutorial session allowing the novice to work out a few moves before entering into a full-blown competition. Unfortunately this essential starting point isn’t quite as extensive as it should have been and barely skims the surface of the slick control pad handling required to tackle the main game modes.
Within X Games mode lie’s the option to simply select a specific event and guide your chosen pro through a series of arcade competitions. These include performing acrobatic feats across laden obstacle courses, 5-man drag racing, slipping through the half-pipe, big air tricking and a enjoying the freedom of a couple of free ride courses.
Snowboarder mode allows the player to create a fantasy skier and then basically run their hectic lives for them. You are shown the town where your self-named/styled character lives, using email to offer hints on the best direction to take. For example purchasing some new skiing gear would be a good start, or maybe making slight adjustments to stance or current equipment. An on-screen diary allows competition schedules to be checked, sponsorship deals looked into or you can even play lazy and skip the whole upcoming day.
Your hometown has several ski slopes as well as a training gym, shops and an airport to tour the world. Most of the action is arranged in the shopping area where competitions may be entered. Your skier is initially ranked grade C and short of cash, therefore free to enter competitions are available and are a good idea when used to further practice, while also increasing their attributes. Cash, travel passes and most importantly popularity are rewarded for success. Charisma rises by winning events, which leads onto better sponsorship and filming gigs. Its a pleasant change to see developers use the standard ski format in this way as it offers much more to the gameplay than incessant snow racing.
Now all this sounds great fun, but once again the developers have gone for realism, rather than slick handling. The learning curve remains extremely frustrating, and control of in-air rotation is sluggish, especially during the early stages of Snowboarder mode. Be warned… this game has an extremely long learning curve and only those who persevere will extract the long awaited reward in gameplay Heaven.
In summary Winter X Games Snowboarding 2 may prove to be a masterpiece to those in desperation of a true boarding simulation, but for the average ‘Jack and Jill’ this game will prove far too frustrating.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Winter X Games Snowboarding 2' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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