A long awaited release of a classic game has finally come to the PlayStation 3. Its once again time to grab a board and hit the slopes in SSX: Deadly Descents.In Deadly Descents, the name of the game is exactly as it sounds, concur the worlds deadliest descents. From Mt. Everest in the Himalayas, to mountains in Antarctica and the United States, the challenge is to survive. While sports games aren’t typically my forte, SSX was definitely a game that had to be played.
The game itself proves to be quite challenging, as its not just your typical downhill bunny slope. In SSX you learn to utilize tons of special equipment to survive different obstacles presented during your descent.
One of the first obstacles encountered in SSX is the tree. On your first mountain, trees litter the slopes, some fallen, many still standing. Its your job to navigate this obstacle and successfully survive the slope while avoiding the deadly branches. Sometimes, there is barely enough room for you to pass between two of these dangerous pines.
Ice is another threat on the slopes. Ice makes it hard to turn sharply, sometimes meaning life or death depending on which cliff you slide off of. To counter, its time to grab the ice picks and carve your way down the mountain while avoiding those dangerous edges.
As if the ice and trees weren’t already enough, gravity plays its own hand as an obstacle in this game. Flying high in the air over large gaps is great, except when you don’t quite have the speed to reach the other side. Without a wingsuit to glide across some of these larger gaps, death is the only thing that awaits.
With high altitudes comes thin air. Thin air makes it a little more difficult to breathe, especially when you are on top of a mountain as high as Everest. At only one third the oxygen level of sea level, blacking out is definitely a potential life threatening hazard as you descend down some of the highest slopes in the world.
As one can likely predict, with Antarctica being one of the deadly descents, cold is definitely a factor. This frozen tundra poses a lot of survival risks, as it is quite possible to freeze to death on your way down the slopes. When temperatures can fall 40 degrees in less than a second, staying in the sunlight is a definite must, and for those times when you can’t avoid heading into the shade, kick up temperature on your heated snow suit, powered by solar panels for convenience.
Darkness is another factor that plays into what makes some of these deadly descents so deadly. If avoiding crevasses and cliffs wasn’t hard enough for you in broad daylight, then this pitch black environment should give you a run for your money. Strap on your headlamp and take to the slopes with limited visibility extending only as far as your light can go.
If snowboarding down an inactive volcano in pitch black wasn’t your style, than maybe you’ll prefer the whiteout. In this deadly descent blowing and drifting snow causes everything to look the same. Luckily, with a set of Pulse Goggles that act similar to sonar, you’ll be able to see through some of the snow, however, these goggles will not help you identify large drops and crevasses, so its up to you to take direction from the crazy Russian who dropped you on this mountain.
Trees were easy, now its time to throw in a boulder or twenty to slow you down. Armor is definitely a requirement for this deadly descent, as some of the jagged edges you’ll be facing can really tear you up. If you manage to stay on the snow, and keep your board in one piece, you might just make it off this slope with some skin left on your bones.
What kind of deadly descent would be complete without a bit of loosely packed snow sliding down the mountain at hundreds of feet per second? SSX does not disappoint, as there are plenty of avalanches to race down the mountain as you try to stay ahead of the deadly rolling wall of snow. No tools required, as armor will only take you so far as you are pelted with snow during your descent. The harder you fall, the more avalanches you create.
Fully customizable characters assist you on your way down the slopes during the Deadly Descents Campaign, but Explore mode allows you to really get personal with whichever character you choose, learning all of their tricks.
As far as replay value goes, SSX is the perfect game to pick up and challenge friends, or just to play to kill some time as you try to collect geotags and trophies, and beat a high score or best time as you race down the slopes.
In short, SSX: Deadly Descents is full of challenges and full of win.