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February 6 2012
SSX - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
1/3/2012EA GamesEA SportsEA Canada
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
12-8$99.95
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SSX on PS3 is due out in March 2012.
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Performing one of the many tricks in SSX.

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Grinding along a rail high up in the mountains.
Originally announced as SSX: Deadly Descents with a trailer at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards many were concerned that Electronic Arts were trying to combine snowboarding with the very popular action genre. It really wasn't a great mix and fans of the franchise shouted out for a return to the franchises racing and trick roots. Fortunately the game shown at E3 2011 looked considerably less like an action title and much more like a snowboarding game with the title simply reverting back to SSX.

Over the years there have been several SSX titles released and while we loved the originals, as did so many people, the latest couple of releases haven't quite hit the mark. With a reboot of a franchise, and several years passing since SSX On Tour, we can only hope that the development team at EA Canada get things back on track for the franchise.

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Yes, SSX (2012) includes wingsuits!
So this is a snowboarding title but one of the key selling points to this new release is the use of Google Earth to map the mountain ranges around the globe to race on. While the mountains are based on real locations the developers have littered the tracks with objects such as rails and jumps to perform tricks on. Locations included in the game include Alaska, the Rockies, Patagonia, Antartica, The Swiss Alps, Africa, Himalayas, Siberia, Japan and New Zealand.

There are three styles of gameplay included in SSX including "Race It" which is, as expected, a race to the finish line while "Trick It" sees the focus on pulling the biggest tricks on the tracks while "Survive It" gameplay sees you trying to survive down the mountain - perhaps against an avalanche or similar event. There are plenty of characters in the game including Elise Riggs, Mackenzie Fraser, Kaori Nishidake, Edward Wachowski, Moby Jones, Psymon Stark, Zoe Payne, Griffin Simmons, Tane Mumea, Alexis Moreau, and Ty Thorsen. Each has their own background and history in extreme snowboarding.

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Some multiplayer SSX action.
In terms of the actual gameplay one of the big changes to this game is that it's now possible to grind along any sharp surface in the game rather than those put into levels deliberately by the development team. In terms of controls the development team is still working on the layout with two control schemes available in the game at all times - perhaps one like a FPS styled dual stick control, or an old-school analogue stick and button control as per the earlier games in the franchise. Characters will be customisable in the game as well with the gamer able to select the gear being worn, and each of the bits of gear making a difference to their abilities within the game.

Naturally the game will support multiplayer for races and leaderboards upon all the mountains in the game. From what we have seen the developers have taken plenty of inspiration from Criterion's Autolog functions in their racing games. Another interesting aspect is that while this game will include an online pass it will not lock gamers out from multiplayer if not activated, your awarded credits will simply not be activated.

Visually SSX looks quite spectacular indeed. With the developers using NASA topography data to grab details of mountain ranges around the globe the locations should look realistic, but the developers have taken liberties to add in objects to jump off and grind along. If the game retains a solid frame rate, and has the visual flare of previous games as well as the entertaining characters, then this could be one of the best seen in this generation - just as previous games were a benchmark on the PS2.

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Yet another impressive screenshot from SSX.
Sound too has always been a key element of this franchise and the developers have stated that the game will contain a version of Run-DMC's classic "It's Tricky" which pumped in the second game in this franchise on PS2. Other bands providing music in the game include Junkie XL, Danny Byrd, DJ Shadow, Nero and many more with an emphasis seeminly on electronic beats (huzzah!). If that's not your thing never fret though as the developers will allow gamers to run music from your own collection during the game.

With a release now set for March 2012 it's nice to see Electronic Arts continue to let the development teams have as much time as required to complete SSX (indeed it was recently pushed from January to March), rather than rush it out in time for Christmas. At this stage the game is shaping up very nicely indeed and we can't wait to get our hands on the final product.

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Elise is getting some massive air in SSX.
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SSX's levels are often gorgeous.