SSX 3

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SSX 3
SSX 3 Coverart.png
NTSC Box art
Developer(s) EA Canada
Visual Impact (GBA)
Exient Entertainment (Gizmondo)
Publisher(s) EA Sports Big
Producer(s) Larry LaPierre[1]
Programmer(s) Mike Rayner[2]
Artist(s) Geoff Coates, Henry LaBounta, Ian Lloyd[2][3]
Series SSX
Platform(s) GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Gizmondo
Release date(s) GameCube, PlayStation 2 & Xbox
NA October 20, 2003[4]
NA October 21, 2003 (PS2)[5]
EU 20031031October 31, 2003
JP December 12, 2003 (GC)
JP December 18, 2003 (PS2)
Game Boy Advance
  • NA November 11, 2003[6]
  • EU November 21, 2003
Gizmondo
EU 20050831August 31, 2005
NA 20051022October 22, 2005
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Nintendo optical disc, DVD, cartridge

SSX 3 (Snowboard Super Cross 3) is a snowboard racing game developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports Big. The game was initially released on October 20, 2003 for the GameCube and Xbox, and on October 21, 2003 for the PlayStation 2. It was later ported to the Game Boy Advance by Visual Impact on November 11, 2003 and to the Gizmondo by Exient Entertainment on August 31, 2005 as a launch title. It is the third installment in the SSX series.

Set on a fictional mountain, the single-player mode follows snowboarders competing in the SSX Championship. Players choose from a variety of characters and take part in various events in different locations, earning points and money by performing tricks, winning races, completing goals and finding collectables. Money can be used to upgrade character attributes, buy new clothes and boards, and unlock music and extras. Multiple players can play against each other in local multiplayer modes, and an online multiplayer mode also allowed players to connect to games and play against each other online on the PlayStation 2 version of the game, but has since been discontinued.

Development of SSX 3 initially began in 2001 following the release of the previous title in the series, SSX Tricky. The development team was comprised of people from various different employment backgrounds, including an Oscar nominated visual effects designer who worked as one of the game's art directors. The game includes 30 different types of snow and general visual improvements over the previous game, such as enhanced models and shadows. It was initially confirmed through a trailer in NBA Street Vol. 2 in 2003.[7] A soundtrack album, SSX 3 the Soundtrack, was released on September 30, 2003.[8]

SSX 3 was critically acclaimed, with reviewers praising the game's open world, trick system, presentation and soundtrack. IGN's Douglass C. Perry called it the "best snowboarding game" he had "ever played", stating that it "expands upon Tricky in every way".[9] GameSpot's Greg Kasavin said that it "delivers a rush like few racing games or action sports games have ever achieved", recommending it not only to veterans, but also for novices of the series.[10] It received the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' awards for Console Action Sports Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Licensed Soundtrack.[11]

Gameplay[edit]

SSX 3 is an extreme snowboarding game played from a third person perspective. Players control one of various snowboarders and compete in events set across individual courses in peaks on a mountain. Unlike previous games in the series, which contain unconnected courses, a freeride mode also allows players to freely roam the open world consisting of all the courses in the game;[12] it is possible for the player to ride from the top of the mountain to the bottom without stopping or reloading each course.[13] New areas are progressively unlocked throughout the game.[14]

Players can gain points by performing tricks,[15] such as grabs, grinds, flips and spins.[16] A predominant feature of SSX 3 and other games in the series is the "adrenaline meter", which gains "adrenaline" when the player executes tricks. It can be used to provide a speed boost or, once it becomes full, perform advanced tricks called "übers"[17] that grant more points than regular tricks. Performing übers increases the level of the adrenaline meter, which leads to progressively more advanced "super über" tricks and faster adrenaline boosts.[18] Performing multiple tricks of different kinds increases the amount of points gained creating a combo, which doubles the points acquired from tricks. However, repeating the same trick causes the amount of points it earns to drop.[15] Landing tricks poorly or hitting an object in mid air will cause the snowboarder to "wipe out", falling over. The player has the ability to recover their snowboarder more quickly by tapping a button, or alternatively reset the snowboarder back to the course if they get stuck in an area.[19] Both wiping out and resetting result in a loss of adrenaline and the ability to perform übers until the adrenaline meter is filled again.[17]

Players complete "peak goals"—set objectives—to progress through the single-player mode and unlock all three peaks of the mountain. "Peak goals" are achieved by completing events, earning money or completing "big challenges" and finding collectables, both during freeride mode, which can be accessed outside of events. The player only has to complete one of these goals to progress to the next peak.[12] Completing each "peak goal" unlocks a trophy for the player.[20]

A screenshot from a race event in SSX 3 showing the HUD, including the adrenaline meter on the right.

Each course in the game has a designated event that players can compete in. Events fall under two categories: race and freestyle. Coming first in an event provides the player a gold medal, coming second provides the player a silver medal, and coming third provides the player a bronze medal. It is also possible to obtain a platinum medal by beating certain times or getting a high enough score. The race event objective is to get to the end of the course as quickly as possible. Players race against other snowboarder NPCs on the same course.[20] Races contain multiple routes and shortcuts, which can give the player an advantage over opponents. Players can also use melee combat to knock other snowboarders over, slowing them down and providing the player with adrenaline. Race events have three heats,[12] and the player must come third place or above in each heat to progress. Once all race events are completed on a peak, the player's snowboarder is challenged to a "backcountry race" by their rival snowboarder. Winning unlocks a "peak race", where the player aims to beat their rival's best time from the peak to the bottom of the mountain. Both races have only one heat. Completing the races unlocks the next peak.[20]

The freestyle events include "slopestyle", "big air" and "super pipe". Their objectives are to get as many points as possible. "Slopestyle" courses are similar to race courses, as players must ride through a downhill track with multiple paths. However, the goal of "slopestyle" courses is for the player to gain points by performing tricks. "Big air" courses are short, with one or two ramps that are designed to allow the player to perform large jumps and multiple tricks in a small amount of time. "Super pipe" are courses containing half-pipes that the player can repeatedly perform tricks on. Freestyle events are structured similarly to race events, each having three heats[12] with the player being invited to "backcountry jams" and "peak jams", where points are scored through performing tricks. Completing the freestyle events unlocks the next peak.[20]

Outside of events, players can take part in "big challenges".[12] The objectives of the challenges include jumping through hoops and collecting items, among others. Collectable "crystals" items can also be found on every course, and can be collected in any event and in freeride. Obtaining enough "crystals" and completing enough "big challenges" on a peak unlocks the next peak.[12] In addition to "peak goals", SSX 3 contains smaller challenges called "career highlights". Similar to "big challenges", objectives can vary, and include holding a handplant for five seconds or doing a certain number of übers in one event. In freeride, players can travel to any courses they have unlocked and can also go to stations; These areas contain lodges, which allow the player to save their game, edit music playlists, buy attributes to improve their snowboarder, purchase new übers, and buy or equip gear and boards to change the aesthetics of the snowboarder. Money can also be used to buy extras, such as videos, cheat characters and game art.[12] Money can be earned in game by performing tricks, completing "big challenges" and events, or collecting "crystals". Earning enough money on a peak will unlock the next peak.[12] In station areas, the narrator of the game, "DJ Atomika", talks to you via "EA Radio Big", a fictional radio station. He gives the player information about events and weather, as well as other miscellaneous information. While the player is on a course, the soundtrack of the game is played through "EA Radio Big". Depending on how well the player is performing, the music becomes quieter and louder. The player can change what music is allowed to play at lodges.[12]

The PlayStation 2 version of SSX 3 had an online multiplayer mode that allowed two players to race against each other over the internet. The service required an "EA Account" to use. Players could join lobbies, where they could challenge players to races, view player statistics such as the global rank of a player, and chat with players using supported USB headsets and keyboards.[21][22] Players could send messages and add up to forty "buddies" using "EA Messenger", an in-game instant messaging service.[22] The online service has since been discontinued.

Development[edit]

The game was initially confirmed through a trailer in the game NBA Street Vol. 2 in 2003 with the working title SSX 3,[23] which later became the official title. The game was available to play by journalists before release at the July 2003 Camp EA event[24] and E3 2003.[25] The Gizmondo version was also available to play by journalists at E3 2005.[26]

SSX 3 was developed by EA Canada and published under the EA Sports Big brand. During the development of SSX and SSX Tricky, there were plans for both games to allow the player to explore a mountain as well as race and perform tricks, but this was never implemented, and was instead made the focus for SSX 3.[27] EA Canada stated that SSX 3 was designed so "just about anyone can pick up and play".[28] Larry LaPierre, the producer of the game, stated that the developers wanted "to give people the first ever full mountain experience" and allow players to choose what they wanted to do on the mountain.[29]

The open ended nature of the game was influenced by Battlefield 1942 and NBA Street Vol. 2, both EA titles, as both games included features that allowed players to choose the way they wanted to play, which the developers enjoyed.[23] Developers were also inspired by their own personal experiences with snowboarding at Island Lake Lodge.[27] EA Canada hired people from various different work backgrounds to develop the game,[30] including the Oscar nominated visual effects designer Henry LaBounta, who worked as one of the game's three art directors.[31][32][2] The game contains 30 different types of snow, all ranging in consistency[25] and rendered using various shading techniques and more "realistic" lighting effects.[23] Improvements to graphics over the previous game, SSX Tricky, also include better models and shadows, as well as more reflections in the snow.[31][23] SSX 3 is the first game in the SSX series and one of the first games in general to be THX certified.[33][34]

SSX 3's development began in 2001,[23] after the release of the previous title in the series, SSX Tricky. It was released on 20 October 2003 in North America for Xbox and Gamecube,[4] on 21 October 2003 for PlayStation 2,[5] and was released in Europe on 31 October 2003. It was also released in Japan on 12 December 2003 for Gamecube and 18 October 2003 for PlayStation 2.

Soundtrack[edit]

SSX 3 the Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released September 30, 2003 (2003-09-30)[8]
Length 54:45[8]
Label Astralwerks
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Don't Let the Man Get You Down"   Fatboy Slim 3:16
2. "Mas"   Kinky 4:18
3. "Poor Leno" (Silicone Soul Remix) Röyksopp 3:29
4. "Freeze"   k-os 3:52
5. "All Night"   Swollen Members 3:36
6. "We Don't Care" (Edit) Audio Bullys 3:30
7. "Leave Home"   The Chemical Brothers 4:45
8. "Like This"   The X-Ecutioners 3:22
9. "Rock Star" (Nevins Club Blaster Edit) N.E.R.D 7:42
10. "Glass Danse" (Paul Oakenfold Remix) The Faint 5:39
11. "Do Your Thing" (Jaxx Club Remix) Basement Jaxx 6:35
12. "The Bitter End" (Junior Sanchez Output Remix) Placebo 4:41
13. "Jerk It Out"   Caesars 3:16
14. "Ride"   Deepsky 6:34
Total length:
54:45

Songs from various other bands can also be heard in the game, including Jane's Addiction[10] and Red Hot Chili Peppers.[35]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92.28% (PS2)[36]
92.00% (GC)[37]
89.93% (Xbox)[38]
57.08% (GBA)[39]
Metacritic 93/100 (PS2)[40]
92/100 (GC)[41]
92/100 (Xbox)[42]
63/100 (GBA)[43]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 9/10 (PS2)[21]
9/10 (Xbox)[47]
Game Revolution A− (PS2, GC, Xbox)[50]
GameSpot 9.0/10 (PS2)[10]
9.0/10 (GC)[44]
9.0/10 (Xbox)[45]
8.1/10 (GBA)[46]
IGN 9.5/10 (PS2)[13]
9.3/10 (GC)[48]
9.4/10 (Xbox)[9]
4.5/10 (GBA)[49]

SSX 3 received critical acclaim upon its release. Metacritic calculated an average score of 93 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version based on 41 reviews,[40] and 92 out of 100 for the Xbox and GameCube versions, both based on 27 reviews.[42][41] All scores indicate "universal acclaim". It is EA Sports Big's second-highest rated game on Metacritic before the first title in the series, SSX.[51] On aggregate website GameRankings, the game holds 92.28% for PS2 based on 60 reviews,[36] 89.93% for Xbox based on 41 reviews,[38] and 92.00% for GameCube based on 38 reviews.[37] Reviewers liked the addition of an open world,[10][13] the presentation[47][50] and trick system,[13][47] while finding issues with the difficulty of the controls[52] and customization options.[13][50] It won the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Console Action Sports Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Licensed Soundtrack awards.[11] Douglass Perry for IGN called it "the best snowboarding game" he had "ever played",[13] and GameSpot's Greg Kasavin stated that it "delivers a rush like few racing games or action sports games have ever achieved."[10]

Reviewers particularly praised SSX 3's technical advancements, with Game Revolution's Ben Silverman calling the game's snow effects "unrivaled" while also recognising it's "consistently high" frame rate.[50] Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell directed his praise at the game's draw distances, "seamless" animation and "colourful environments",[47] and GameSpy's Bryn Williams commended the game's "lighting" and "particle effects".[52] Reviewers also recognised SSX 3's open world as "innovative",[50] with Williams finding the loading times allow players to ride across long distances "without having to wait a single second for the environments to load into memory."[52] However, in a slightly less positive review, GamesTM stated that "given the constraints of the sport", the game does "a great job of" of staying "as open as possible."[40]

The trick system was also well received; Tom Bramwell called the new "super-uber" tricks "astonishingly cool" and stated that they were "pleased" that the game introduced "a much more clear-cut combo system".[47] IGN's Douglass Perry said that the addition of board presses "make playing SSX 3 an entirely new game", adding that "pulling off these moves is a pleasure on the PS2 and Xbox", but criticised the GameCube's controls, citing that "the controller just doesn't provide enough buttons to do it justice."[13] GameSpot's Greg Kasavin also noted that "the PS2 pad" was "especially well suited for the game".[10]

SSX 3's sound and voice acting were heavily praised, with Game Revolution's Ben Silverman commending the "varied soundtrack and great effects", stating that they make the game "sound terrific".[50] IGN's Douglass Perry noted that "SSX 3 is a legitimate THX endorsed game, ensuring high-quality sound clarity."[13] GameSpy's Bryn Williams thought highly of the voice acting, which it considered "clear, simple, and not annoying in the slightest." They also considered the "DJ commentary" to be "slick and unobtrusive."[52] GameSpot's Greg Kasavin praised the soundtrack, calling it "one of the highlights of the experience", and gave recognition to "the way" it "layers in with the racing", saying that "it contributes heavily to the intensity and excitement of playing SSX 3."[10]

The Game Boy Advance version of SSX 3 was more poorly received, gaining a score of 63 out of 100 based on 14 reviews on Metacritic,[43] indicating "Mixed or average reviews." On GameRankings, it received a score of 57.08% based on 12 reviews.[39] Computer and Video Games called the game "slow" and "sluggish", and it's controls "unresponsive".[43] IGN said that the graphics engine has difficulty "keeping up with all that the designers throw at it."[43] In a more positive review, GameSpot claimed that it "duplicates many of the same features found in the console versions", stating that the game's 3D graphics engine is "unrivaled by anything else currently available for the system."[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff, IGN. "SSX 3: Slopestyle Interview - IGN". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c SSX 3 Xbox Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 18. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Lloyd, Ian. "SSX3: Character Customization - IGN". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "SSX 3 - Xbox - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 
  5. ^ a b "SSX 3 - PlayStation 2 - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 
  6. ^ "SSX 3 - Game Boy Advance - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 
  7. ^ Varanini, Giancarlo (April 21, 2003). "SSX 3 in development". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Jeffries, David. "SSX 3 - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
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  10. ^ a b c d e f g Kasavin, Greg (2003-11-21). "SSX 3 PS2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  11. ^ a b "D.I.C.E Awards By Video Game Details". Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
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  14. ^ SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 9. 
  15. ^ a b SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 6. 
  16. ^ SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. pp. 7, 8. 
  17. ^ a b SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 7. 
  18. ^ SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. pp. 8, 9. 
  19. ^ SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 4. 
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  22. ^ a b SSX 3 PlayStation 2 Instruction Manual. EA Sports Big. 2003. p. 13. 
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  32. ^ Brightman, James. "Zynga upgrades exec team as Pincus steps down from operational role | GamesIndustry.biz". GamesIndustry.biz. Gamer Network. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Moseley, Bob. "EA teams with THX - GameSpot". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  34. ^ Moledina, Jamil. "Gamasutra - THX Launches Videogame Certification Program". Gamasutra. UBM Tech. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
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  46. ^ Provo, Frank (2003-12-12). "SSX 3 GBA Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
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  49. ^ Harris, Craigh (2003-12-25). "SSX 3 GBA review". IGN. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
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  • Smith, Shaun (2003). Prima's Official Strategy Guide: SSX 3. USA: Random House. 

External links[edit]