Shaun White Snowboarding – Reviewed – XBox 360

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I’m sure just like me there are quite a few people reading this that would love to live in a country where you can actually go snowboarding. Because of this, when games like Shaun White Snowboarding are released, we run to the shop to purchase said game to live our fantasy in simulated glory. Before you run off however, read on to see whether this game will allow you, your needed escapism.

The game starts off with you having the choice of either starting with tutorials or without. Choosing the path of the uninitiated however turns into a rather disappointing experience, they could just as well have left out the “tutorial” section. The tutorials consist of 4 blocks of text popping-up on the screen, informing you of the controls on a very basic level. That’s it… that’s all the help you get. Through-out the game you do receive more periodic text-tutorials, but this happens so randomly that it is really no help at all.

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It seems like open-world is the new black in games. The game offers four huge mountains that you are free to explore. Ubisoft tried to make this experience as free as possible, so you can actually get off you board and explore the mountain. You can jump on a helicopter to take you to the highest points on the mountains or even get on a cable cart. This all sounds wonderful, but in reality it’s also one of the most irritating aspects of the game. You have to travel to every event. This means you have to check a map where an event is, travel to the closets point by either using the helicopter or cable cart and ski from there to the event. You can’t just pop-up the map and select the event to take part in it.

To do basic tricks like ride rails and turn air tricks was no problem… but as soon as you got yourself in the halfpipe everything turned on its head. I just couldn’t figure out how to do any tricks in there. I think this can be attributed to the fact that moves change depending on what direction your character is facing. Another thing that annoyed me to no end was that in order to speed up, you would press the stick forward, when then doing an ollie you have to release the stick quite a bit before releasing the ollie button otherwise you start doing a forward flip.

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The radar in this game is also extremely useless. Huge icons show the general direction of events, collectables and challenges, but to actually get to these events is a matter of trial and error. Locked challenges also show on the radar, which was an irritation in itself.

The game makes use of Assassin’s Creed engine and thus suffers no graphics lag; however the graphics could have been done a bit better. The sound is also nothing to really brag about, although as can be expected the music score has quite a bit of different modern artists.

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The multiplayer in the game is a bit of a saving grace. Up to 16 players can ski on a mountain at a time, free-styling where ever they want in the open world. There are also a number of events scattered around the mountain. What is probably the most entertaining factor in the multiplayer is that you can throw your opponents with snowballs… timing it just right so that they muck-up a trick.

If you are a sports enthusiast or a snowboard wanna-be and you are expecting a new SSX then you will be sadly disappointed. The small bugs in the controls and the useless radar just spoils the game.

Scoring:

Gameplay: 5.5/10 [Tricks changes when facing different ways] Presentation: 6/10 [Does not use the Assassin’s Creed engine to full capacity]    
Sound: 5/10 [Nothing special]                                                                         
Value: 5/10 [Irritation with the game settles in extremely quickly]

Overall: 5.4/10 [Definitely not a next SSX]

Last Updated: December 1, 2008

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