Shaun White (aka The Flying Tomato) is a world-renowned snowboard/skateboard superstar, so it was only a matter of time before he finally got his own video game following in the footsteps of Tony Hawk.
Starting the game, my first run was the mandatory tutorial. You're introduced to your "friends" and they show you how to maneuver yourself on the mountain. After getting through the intro, you start participating in different challenges that teach you how to do various tricks or challenge, where you race against other riders for fame and cash. As you beat challenges and earn money, you can buy new boards or travel to other mountains.
As a big time player of the Amped series, I was anxious to play Shaun White Snowboarding. I thought after years of practice throwing down big airs, insane railslides/presses, and unrealistic combos, I would master the game within the first five minutes.
Well, it seems like the game developers wanted to move to the analogue stick style of tricking in the vein of EA's Skate titles. I saw this as a plus, as I love Skate and welcomed some reality into my snowboard video game play. However, this daring venture into reality in such an unbelievable setting never quite panned out for me.
I found it hard to do the tricks I wanted, and instead was always met with a trick that I didn't expect on accident making it tough to link tricks together for crazy trick multipliers.
The most annoying aspect of this was trying to throw down sick jibs/railslides/presses with such a steep learning curve. This was always my favourite part of any snowboarding game, from Amped to SSX: Spotting a big, downed tree in the middle of my run and railsliding it for days.
When I tried it with this game, I almost always grabbed my board while trying to slide (causing my character to shriek in pain) and never stomped the trick the way I intended. I practiced this trick over and over, but rarely got my character to do a non-hand-shattering slide.
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There were some high points to the game. First off was the graphics. The Assassin's Creed engine used in the game gives the player a realistic feel of their surroundings. This game doesn't leave you strapped into the board, helpless to walk back to a cliff/rail that you liked and try it again, as you can unstrap from your board at any time and freely walk around the mountain. Wit the ability to take lift rides to other parts of the vast mountains, you are also free to drop straight onto the snow from the chair (in mid-ride!) and start shredding all over again.
See also: PlayStation 3 review
This last ability is a major plus to the snowboarding games, and provides an unprecedented feeling of freedom that really helps Shaun White stand out. Many times, there's a particular run that you want to hit over and over either for big points or just because you have the run dialed in, and instead of going all the way to the top of the trail to hit it again, you can just drop in whenever you want and start it up all over again.
All in all, Shaun White's Snowboarding didn't leave me blown away. I liked the terrain they provided, the impressive visuals and the push towards new ways to perform tricks. I hope this title continues on and that all of the little glitches and feedback from fans help create an epic snowboarding game worthy of Shaun White's name.