Games of E3

The Escapist Staff | 10 Jun 2011 22:00
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It can be tricky to live up to the SSX name, which has connotations of absurd stunts a high speeds while yelling at your friends. Many may ask if, with the advent of more physically-realistic games such as Skate, SSX will forget what once made it great. The Escapist's Sara Brown responds with an emphatic no (they haven't forgotten, that is.)

Read Sara's full preview of SSX here. The game will be available January, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Sara Brown:
Our host showed us the great Kilimanjaro, mentioning off-hand that during the design phase he discovered was actually a volcano. The level began with himself and his two AI opponents launching themselves from separate points at the mouth and tunneling inside. The details of the mountains were revised with an abundance of creative liberty to create ramps and tunnels for tricks and speed. The off-rails openness was emphasized by the detours and the missed jumps, making very clear how vast the playable environments were. Deciding against splines in the level creation makes it possible to grind each and every single sharp line you see. Anywhere.

Boarding down this beast of a slope gave the demonstrator ample space to show off the tricks. Physical limitations were eschewed in favor of excessive arcade-like feats of impossibility. The trick meter filled up quickly and the tricks doubled in ridiculous awesomeness. Also, when your trick meter is full, if you stomp a landing you deform your environment, slowing down any poor sap who sought to follow you. The level ended with fan-favorite Kaori flying off a ramp and into a hovering helicopter. Extreme indeed.

With a thank you and a smile we were ushered into the hands-on portion of the demo. Here, we were given a chance to play in Tricky mode, racing to the bottom while garnering bonuses for speed and trickery. We were reminded that at pre-alpha the controls were still being modified, but I liked 'em. For those of you that appreciate the immersive control option that Skate added to the genre with the analog rotation control, you can do that. Direction and grab tricks are performed using directional manipulations of both analog sticks. For those of us that miss the face button controls of the extreme sports titles of yore, you can do that too. Though somewhat glitchy at this stage of development, playing SSX felt like the perfect marriage between the way things used to be and the way things are becoming. It'll be available in January.

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