Friday, May 18, 2012

SSX! It's pretty damn fun!

SSX: Deadly Descents is a really well-made game. It's just... fun. The gameplay is well-balanced, with a really nice slew of difficulty levels. There's an astonishing number of courses available to you, and every single one has a plethora of paths. On the other hand, some of them get kind of monotonous, and it's often difficult to tell which one to use in races where the course you pick is almost 100% of the battle.
The thing that really impresses me about SSX is the number of ways to get enjoyment out of the game. I count at least five fun ways to play it: there are race, trick, and survival events, which are all fun on their own. You can compete in global events, which are startlingly fun. Finally, you can go around collecting the geotags left all over the mountains by anyone else playing the game, and finding faraway corners to hide your own geotags in. Everything is uploaded to the network so you can compete against anyone you meet, anyone who picks up your geotags, anyone whose geotags you pick up, anyone who bests your record in a global event...

Global events are really fun - basically, you choose an event (survive, trick, or race on one of the mountains 150-some mountain slopes) and you're entered into a competition over the next few hours/days/week. As scores are collected by everyone playing in it, the total pot of credits available goes up, and everyone's sorted into fairly wide brackets. At the end, you get a payout according to how well you did. I regularly get gold and platinum brackets (second and third out of five), and it's really rewarding. Having constantly varying goals is a really nice change over single player. Also, they introduce restrictions of not using certain equipment. It's an interesting way to level the field a bit, I think. I was surprised by how fun the global events were - in a lot of these things, winning seems like an impossibly far-off goal, but the bracket system is really rewarding.

It's really god-damn fun to rocket off a mountain, do a 4000 degree rotation, break out your wingsuit, and land on a rail. Man. My hands are on fire.

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