EA's Wii-exclusive snowboarding romp.
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SSX Blur showcases the snowboarding series for the first time on the Wii, complete with motion sensitive controls. As a fan of previous instalments, this is one Wii title I was really looking forward to playing. So how does it compare to previous releases from EA Big?
At first glance SSX Blur looks very similar to SSX 3, with a triple peaked mountain to play on, starting at the safer slopes before unlocking peaks 2 and 3 for tougher challenges. Graphically, the game looks substantially more cartoonish than previous outings, especially noticeable in the character design where old favourites Moby and Mac look like caricatures of their former selves. Of course, SSX was never a game which intended to do anything realistically and the ramps, speed trails and fireworks will instantly have any fan feeling right at home spinning through the air high above the slopes.
The biggest change (as with any familiar game on Nintendo's new system) is the motion sensitive controls. I had expected an Excite Truck style use of the Wii-mote, however EA have opted for using the nunchuck (used for steering) and the Wii-mote (flips and spins) in conjunction. You'll definitely want to go through the training levels to adjust yourself to this new method of control. Unfortunately, it doesn't come naturally at all. Using the nunchuck to steer is fine; you tilt it left or right to perform sharp turns, or use the joystick to make more subtle manoeuvres such as lining yourself up for and balancing on rails.
"The main problem with SSX Blur lies in the Wii-mote shenanigans required for spins and flips."
Uber-tricks are now performed with on screen shapes that you need to copy by waving the Wii-mote in a similar manner. Simple shapes, such as a Z, can be pulled off after a lot of practice. During races and trick events busting Uber-tricks out when you really need them is more difficult than crafting your own snowboard, climbing Everest and doing it yourself! Often on a half pipe you can pull off and land the Uber-trick you want, only to be completely unsuccessful when you try the same trick on the next jump. You also have no choice in which Uber-trick you want to pull off. SSX Blur throws up the shape you have to move the pointer in and if you try anything else you won't perform an Uber-trick at all!
The random chance of success is a massive failing in a game that sets itself apart from the competition with its outstanding and outrageous moves. You are also doubly-penalised for a failed uber trick, as you won't have moved the controller enough to perform spins and flips worth many points.