Back when the PS2 was first hitting store shelves, there weren’t too many titles for gamers to get the most out of their cutting edge new console. Though there were a few other notable standouts, one that many a PS2 gamer was familiar with was SSX. After the first game’s early success, and some sequels that retreaded the same territory, EA Sports’ snowboarding franchise is back with SSX: Deadly Descents.
Yes, SSX has decided to incorporate a more intense experience than the previous arcade-centered titles, but as EGM has revealed, the game is in fact blending the old with the new.
One feature that is going to be SSX’s crowning achievement is its use of Google Earth. Depending on which real world mountain is being shredded, Google Earth will – as accurately as possible – attempt to recreate the terrain. Confirmed as playable areas so far are Siberia, the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro, Caucasus, and the Swiss Alps.
Taking a page from popular open world titles, Deadly Descents will allow the player to venture down each slope as they feel best suits their style. Though there will still be the jumps, ramps, and banks that have made previous SSX titles so popular, it will be up to the player to decide the best way to tackle them.
Since these tracks will now have the added danger of real world precipices, Deadly Descents is introducing a new rewind feature that will allow players to return to a point previous to correct their mistakes. Choosing to eliminate the frustration of falling too far behind, this new rewind feature should be the saving grace of players who tend to go on shortcut hunts rather then following the obvious route.
Shortcuts won’t just be available on land, as the announcement trailer showed that players will be able to take to the skies as well, with the use of squirrel-suits.
Along the way, players will be earning some form of monetary rewards that will allow them to purchase equipment that better suits the changing environments in the game. Perhaps in an attempt to eliminate time limits, Deadly Descents will utilize elements like thin air and temperature to impose some immediacy on the player.
Finally for those huge SSX fans, it has been confirmed that original racer Elise will be making a return in Deadly Descents. While Elise was the only confirmed character so far, it would be safe to assume that series regular Mac might be showing up at some point.
It was a brave move on EA’s part to take SSX in such a different direction, and it certainly reflects the new landscape of gaming. Choosing to emphasize a realistic experience is evidently something EA Sports is interested in, and might just be the breath of fresh air that the SSX franchise needs.
What do you think of Deadly Descents’ use of Google Earth to accurately create real world slopes? Is this the shot in the arm SSX needs to get back on track?
SSX: Deadly Descents is set to release some time this year.