New article about the next SSXhttp://ps3.ign.com/articles/116/1161570p1.html
EA's over-the-top snowboarding franchise, SSX, has been cooling on the shelf so long that many gamers probably haven't even heard of it. They'll know it soon enough. SSX takes the thrill and danger of dropping onto a mountain and amps it up with ridiculous, gravity-defying stunts.
What will it take to master the new SSX? Skillful artistry in navigating narrow paths, a sharp eye for spotting lines that lead to massive air, and fast fingers to pull off a half-dozen tricks while soaring over expansive chasms. If that sounds cool to you, I'd tell you to buckle up, but there's no safety belt on these mountains
Usually, this would be the time for me to tell you about some of the different areas you'll see, giving the expectation that there's some small number of tracks and a handful of mountains to explore. But, at least from the mouth of the developer, it's pointless with SSX. The promise is that you can go anywhere you want on any of the mountains. And there are dozens of mountains, spread out across eighteen real-world mountain ranges. Basically, if you've heard of a snow-capped mountain, it's probably in SSX.
As someone who's played pretty much every snowboarding game that's ever been made (a sad, lonely little fact), I've never seen so much powder. Granted, it's not like I dropped in on every mountain, but I did get to see the Google Earth-inspired navigation system that takes you around the globe and then zooms in to focus on a mind-boggling number of drop points.
EA has the right mindset. Create a world so big, it's pretty hard to find a way to complain about anything else. Who else has tried this with a snowboarding game? No one. Will it succeed? That's a question to be answered many months from now. What's being shown is in a rough state and who's to say every mountain doesn't look and feel the same.
Once on the mountain, the artificial barriers that constrained your exploration in past SSX games are gone. It certainly looks like EA is creating a landscape to find the lines that excite you, and getting around the mountain is pretty interesting. One option is to leap towards a helicopter, grab on, and ride it somewhere else. This connects you to different trails seamlessly and just having an action this silly shows that the wacky ways of SSX aren't being left behind. You can also deploy your wingsuit (think flying squirrel) to get a temporary glide to make longer jumps.
And all of this is connected to the traditional elements of SSX: Big personalities (such as longtime SSX covergirl Elise) and impossible tricks. The new focus on the topography -- the shape of the mountains you're riding on -- allows for direction and momentum to play a big role in what you're able to pull off. But none of this replaces having a jump button or the need to bang out a string of tricks before slamming down from a hundred foot drop.
I don't know if SSX's controls or gameplay will live up to its ambition. EA didn't really have much to show in the way of actual gameplay and what I know so far about SSX could fill a very small shoebox. But the mountains are impressive. The sheer number and amount of openness is enough to put SSX squarely on my radar. EA, please don't wipe out.