System: Playstation 2
Publisher & Developer: Electronic Arts/EA Sports
Capabilities: Compatible with: Memory Card, and Vibrating Function
EA Sports first snow boarding game, I guess EA wanted this game to be something special, so the opening company screens of the game said EA Sports BIG. And after checking IGNs 28 PS2 launch reviews, this game got the highest score. So will this game live up to all the hype? Lets get onto the review and find out.
I always love a game whos opening movie for the game is made out of there own game footage (Wrestlemania 2000 for N64 is a great example), and this game does that too, which shows many different angles of the snow boarders and tracks. The graphics, surprisingly look a lot like the ones we saw off of the opening movie. The tracks are the most realistic Ive ever seen (for Snow boarding games any ways, the only other ones I played were 1080 Snow boarding and Snow board Kids, both for N64), and just loaded with detail, like you got frozen rivers that are part of tracks, and all other weird obstacles that come into the track that are all easily to tell apart. The menu navigation is easy, and you wont be getting mixed up in them like most of the other EA Sports games. The boarders in this game really look great, and they have the best animation Ive ever seen, when they do stunts and other things. The game moves at a surprisingly fast rate throughout all the races.
If there is only one little nitpick at the graphics, that would have to be that only in a few times in a couple of tracks, the camera really doesnt follow you good enough, and you end up going reverse, or completely off track before you realize it, and the game doesnt even give you warnings or anything to let you know youre off track, or going in reverse. But other than that little flaw, I gotta saw these are really impressive graphics for a first generation PS2 game.
All the sound effects are done great, and add to the presentation of the game, and everything sounds accurate like the gliding of the snow, flips, crashes, etc. You got this weird ding whenever you complete a stunt. And you got somebody naming off stunts and commenting about you throughout your races, and his voice is dimmed out just enough so he doesnt sound annoying. Now the musical soundtrack of the game is the only pet peeve I had in the audio category, most of the tunes sound pretty generic to me, there are a couple of good ones I ran into that had lyrics in them, but for the most parts the tracks werent the greatest. I mean, the soundtrack for the 3 year old 1080 Snow boarding, is way better. Oh, well, Im sure EA will include a rap soundtrack for the game next year, like they do with all their other sports games.
The game has an innovative practice mode, called Warm up, where you go down a really nice, simple hill, and your own boarder you selected is guiding you through the game, letting you know which buttons you press to do stunts, punch, jump, etc. So after a time or two through warm up you got the games controls down, and youd never have to consult the games manual again. And I also have to say this is one of the easiest control set ups I ever ran into, steer with either the control pad, or left analog stick, punch other boarders (yes, you can actually do this, and I really like this added touch of Road Rash in a snow boarding game) with the right analog stick, jump with X button, and while in mid air, you use the control pad to do your stunts, which I gotta admit works out a lot better than the button combination I was expecting in the game.
The game has only 2 main modes of play, with a couple of sub modes, the first mode is Single Event where you and/or a friend race against only each other, or against the computer. For sub modes, theres the practice, warm up, mode, then theres the race option, where you pick your boarder, and pick his or her board, and customize its attributes, and pick one of several tracks and hop into the game and play. The other mode is world circuit mode, where its just one player, and you race against all the other snow boarders, in a tournament like competition, and every time you race in a new track, you unlock it for use in single event mode, and you also unlock some of the other games boarders along the way too. I really have no gripes with the game play, its really easy to control, and it plays great!
For the solo player, youll be playing World Circuit forever until you unlock everything. And if you have a friend over, you can have him go against you too. I do wish the game couldve had a few more modes to choose from, like maybe some bonus trick half pipe course wouldve been great. The game also seemed like a 4 player mode was a must, because this wouldve made a great multi player game. But I expect the two extras I mentioned to be in a sequel of the game, if they make one (which EA Sports usually does).
+: Some of the prettiest visuals Ive ever seen, great control, innovative practice mode
-: Some camera problems allow you to go off course, no 4 player mode, poor soundtrack
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.1
Replay Value: 6.3
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 8
It was easy to tell that EA is going to make a sequel to this game because of the lack of extras in the game. But if you really love your snow boarding games, then go and grab this game right away, but otherwise Id say wait until next years expected update of the game. But you can always rent this game too if you just have to play it. Best PS2 launch game? No. Good? Yes. Great? No.