SSX Tricky — 3Q2014 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of

Grab your gear and hit the slopes

SSX can get a lit­tle … well … Tricky. OK, yes, I went for the easy joke, but it’s one that can be made with a sol­id title in SSX Tricky. Tricky tends to take the best things about the SSX fran­chise and make them bet­ter. And that’s bet­ter for every­one because snow­board­ing games of the time weren’t exact­ly fresh­ly pow­dered experiences.

Tricky set­tles into its role as a snow­board­ing sim­u­la­tor with slick visu­als and an added bonus of inter­est­ing char­ac­ters. The eas­i­est way to describe play­ing Tricky is that it’s you ver­sus the moun­tain, and well, some­times you ver­sus the oth­er char­ac­ters ver­sus the moun­tain. While the World Cir­cuit mode is tout­ed as a main attrac­tion — and it is cer­tain­ly is for sev­er­al rea­sons — the mode that does the most for me is Free Ride. There’s noth­ing quite like run­ning down the tracks and pulling off tricks with­out oth­er char­ac­ters to annoy you. The char­ac­ters aren’t real­ly that annoy­ing, and the rival­ry sys­tem is fun, but I pre­ferred my soli­tude while learn­ing the game and Prac­tice and Free Ride pro­vid­ed that easily.

Those slick visu­als are also on dis­play through­out the dif­fer­ent modes, and it imme­di­ate­ly sets the game apart from its com­pe­ti­tion of the time. The game flat-out looks great on the Game­Cube, and the oth­er con­sole ver­sions looked great, too. The Game­Cube ver­sion has an inter­est­ing con­trol scheme that lends itself to rolling down the slopes, and it’s intu­itive and becomes sec­ond nature as you become more com­fort­able pulling off var­i­ous tricks. For that increas­ing lev­el of com­fort, you are reward­ed with big­ger and bet­ter items that should help you improve as well as make you look a lit­tle bet­ter on the track. It’s that dri­ve to unlock these good­ies and tracks that keeps you com­ing back to Tricky.

That’s all along­side the sound­track, which is excel­lent, too. There are a few vocal pieces with the instru­men­tal tracks for the dif­fer­ent lev­els, and all are appro­pri­ate for the atmos­phere EA wants to con­vey. In par­tic­u­lar, the remix of Run DMC’s mas­sive hit “Tricky” is the high­light — as it should be. If it’s the main theme of the game, it should stand out, which it man­ages to do so. It nev­er gets old to hear the trio’s 1986 hit sam­pled and remixed (editor’s note: ’80s rap nev­er gets old, in any sit­u­a­tion) while throw­ing down mas­sive tricks on a treach­er­ous moun­tain. And, believe it or not, the voice act­ing adds to the game as well. Usu­al­ly, a ful­ly famous all-star cast of voice actors pro­duces mixed results. How­ev­er, Tricky is an excep­tion to that rule. Folks like Lucy Liu, Oliv­er Platt, Patri­cia Velasquez and Bil­ly Zane deliv­er sol­id results.

With three oth­er sequels and a reboot in 2012, Tricky has had the chal­lenge of stand­ing out in a crowd­ed library of titles fea­tur­ing snow­board­ing. But it’s not that hard to do when it’s got good mechan­ics and great atmos­phere, a rather tricky feat to accomplish.

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